Drnks founder Joel Amos knows more than most about what Sydney likes to drink. He set up an online natural-wine delivery business six years ago and has witnessed the city’s love affair with minimal-intervention booze go from niche to mainstream.
“Outside of having some of the best spirits, beers, cocktails and wines created and consumed here, [Sydney drinkers] know what’s up,” he tells Broadsheet. “I genuinely feel like Sydney has been on the cutting edge of drinking culture for a very long time – even more so when you consider we have had, basically, authoritarian teetotallers telling us what to do the last six years [due to the lock-out laws).”
Amos celebrated Drnks’ sixth birthday last week and says the flourishing scene is a result of importers (such as Giorgio De Maria) sourcing some of the most interesting wines from across the globe – along with bars and restaurants that are willing to stock them.
“I’m happy to be told I’m wrong, but I think Sydney is really only behind Paris, Tokyo, San Francisco and New York when it comes to natural wine. We have every wine they have and more, plus we have world-class growers and producers on our doorstep. There are importers in this country that have been bringing wines from Europe into Australia before any other country has imported them. That’s wild.”
Drnks, which began life as the Surry Hills Wine Club, has grown into one of Australia’s largest stockists of natural wine. It throws wine tastings and parties, such as Mental Notes and Loose Lips, and earlier this year opened a bricks-and-mortar store at Waterloo’s The George.
Asked if he had to pick one wine that encapsulates Sydney, Amos says: “A light skin contact, ice-cold orange wine. It would be drunk at the beach out of Bryce Malcolm’s ceramic tumblers (the environment, mates!), while the sun sets, with some oysters from Paddington’s Fish Butchery. Because: of course.”
Here are his tips and best buys to perfect your summer drinking sessions.
What to get for poolside drinking
Oiseau et Renard’s 2017 Field White. This is halfway between a white and an orange; so fresh, so clean.
One for Christmas Day
Vincent Carême’s 2018 Fizzy Pink. This is amazing value for French, fizzy good times.
When you're hungover
NON 4 Roast Beetroot and Sansho. This drinks like a light red wine, but has no alcohol.
When you're on a budget
Konpira Maru’s 2019 Admiral Ackbar. It’s such a good-value skin-contact wine.
To prove a traditionalist wrong (or cellar)
For my money, the best wines being made in Australia are by Ruggabellus in the Barossa Valley.
One for New Year’s Eve
Shun tradition and avoid the fizz. Get Momento Mori 2018 Cardinia Ranges – it’s a brilliant fancy rosé.