Unico Zelo – the boundary-pushing Adelaide Hills winery that brought us vermouth made from yuzu and mandarin liqueur crafted using “ugly” fruit, along with a throng of smashable wines – has gone all out and founded a new brand devoted to experimental, small-batch vino. UZ Funkworks launches today and is intended as a cheekier sidekick to the Unico Zelo line, with a focus on experimental wines using unconventional techniques and grapes.
Over the next six months UZ Funkworks will drip-feed the drinking public a bunch of small-batch releases. The first, Txak Atak ($26.99), launches today, July 31 in a limited run of 1500. Txak Atak is inspired by Txakoli wine: a low-alcohol, lightly sparkling, dry white from Spain’s Basque region. The wine is traditionally poured into tumblers from a height of 20 centimetres (to magnify its effervescence) and sipped as an accompaniment to pinxtos. UZ Funkworks’s version of the drop is made with fiano grapes grown in the Adelaide Hills and features notes of nectarine and jasmine.
Despite launching an entire sub-brand to house a category of innovative drinks, Unico Zelo isn’t a stranger to taking an unorthodox approach to the drinks industry. The company, which was founded in 2014 by Brendan and Laura Carter, is on a mission to produce minimal-intervention, sustainable wine with grapes that use less water and nourish, rather than strip, Australia’s unique landscape.
“With UZ Funkworks, we will continue to honour the land by utilising grape varieties that can be dry-grown in desert-like environments requiring no irrigation,” says Brendan. “Supporting our farmers is also so important to us, and we will continue to use a range of grapes from across Australia that allow us to do just that.”
The Carters are also the founders of Applewood Distillery, which uses native ingredients such as desert lime, Davidson plum and peppermint gum to create gins, bitters and liqueurs that taste like Australia.