There are wine festivals, and then there’s State of Wine, a four-day celebration of all things grape-based that’s coming to The State Buildings in January. A passion project of the precinct’s award-winning director of wine, Emma Farrelly, State of Wine is her latest way to get us rethinking the way we drink and think about wine.
“I wanted to have events that were a little bit outside the box when it comes to how we look at wine,” says Farrelly. “A lot of it is things I’d be really interested in going to.”
If the early response to the program is anything to go by, the public are equally interested. Although the Cabernet is King and The Greatest Wine Dinner of All Time have already sold out – all the tickets to the latter, an intimate 14-person round table dinner at Wildflower featuring guest WA winemakers, were snapped up in an hour – there’s still plenty to sink the teeth into.
Among the festival’s highlights: Blush, a Saturday brunch at Wildflower that explores the many faces of rose; The Fermentation Altercation, a grape-based game show in which Farrelly will be joined by co-host Yoko Luscher-Mostert from renegade Great Southern winemaking outfit, Brave New Wine plus other new-school winemakers; and Two Generations of Peterkins, an intimate, far-reaching tête-à-tête between LAS Vino winemaker Nic Peterkin and his father Mike, founder of pioneering Margaret River winery, Pierro.
In addition to these ticketed events, guests can also drop into various State Buildings venues over the four days and explore at their own pace. Wine Merchant will host free nightly tastings while The Grapetionary sees the wine lists at Wine Merchant, Petition Beer Corner, Long Chim and Wildflower swell with assyrtiko, zweigelt and other lesser-seen grape varieties plucked from the world of wine. While some international wines will be poured as part of the Grapetionary tasting, State of Wine is all about WA.
“Most of it [the festival program] has a fairly strong focus on Western Australia,” says Farrelly. “All of the winemakers coming up for the event are locals. It’s not a time to be talking about interstate or international wines. It’s a time to really focus on what we’re doing here and highlighting how diverse and interesting West Australian wines can be from lots of different angles.”
State of Wine takes place at State Buildings from January 6 till 9. The full program is online now.