A new wine delivery service has launched, getting cases of organic, biodynamic wines into your cellar, money in restaurants’ coffers and food in the bellies of out-of-work hospitality staff.
Back in March, when the government announced pubs, clubs, restaurants, bars and cafes would be forced to close, kitchens were left with no one to cook for, revenue disappeared and jobs were lost. The industry was (and still is) hurting, so mates and wine-industry professionals Connor Sainsbury-Canham, Andrew Jamieson and Dan Simmons decided to do something about it.
“When I left hospitality and went into wine sales, a lot of people supported me,” Sainsbury-Canham tells Broadsheet. “Wine Aid is our way of giving back to the people who have been helping us all these years.”
But Sainsbury-Canham didn’t just want to help venues. “A lot of wineries have lost 80 percent of their revenue because their customers are [closed] restaurants. I wanted the initiative to put money in the pockets of the people growing the fruit and making the wine, too.”
Wine Aid promotes small Australian organic and biodynamic wine producers such as Vinden Estate, Ngeringa, Poppelvej and Jilly Wine Co. The trio package up “mystery boxes” in mixed lots of six or 12 bottles, which are sold on to consumers by Sydney restaurants and wine shops.
“You get an even match of red, white and rosé in a case,” Sainsbury-Canham says. “We do a mix of skin contacts, minimal interventions and nouveau reds, and then some classics, like a chardonnay or a pinot noir from [Victorian winery] Mac Forbes.”
The venues get a cut of the sales, and restaurants are responsible for the last part of the equation: feeding those who have lost their jobs. For each case of six wines sold, a restaurant will get $10 and use it to cook two meals for out-of-work baristas, servers and cooks. A case of 12 means $20 to prep four meals. Hospitality workers can follow Wine Aid’s Instagram stories to find out how to get a meal that week.
A small case costs $150, a large is $295 and delivery is free, with the three Wine Aid founders dropping off cases themselves. “Wine Aid isn’t about us making money, it’s about trying to put as much back into other people’s pockets as we can. We could have just sold the wines ourselves, but then restaurants wouldn’t have made money, and we couldn’t have fed people.”
A handful of great Sydney eateries are on board, and Wine Aid will announce on Instagram which venues are cooking meals each week. Hospitality workers could have a curry from Annata in Crows Nest one night, and a hearty pasta from Arthur in Surry Hills another. Prince of York is also on board, and bottle shops Native Drops, Oak Barrel and Winona Wine are selling cases too.
To order your pack, email or call a participating venue. Follow Wine Aid on Instagram to learn which restaurants are taking part and where out-of-work hospo workers can get a feed.