Reading a wine list at a restaurant can be intimidating for even the most experienced wine drinker. "In a world full of choice, we feel more comfortable making decisions on what to wear, what food to order or which perfume to buy than we do selecting which wine to drink," says Faye Toogood of Studio Toogood in London.
But even if we’ve been drinking wine for a while and know what we like, we’re often still intimated by choosing a bottle of wine from the shelves of options at the local wine shop. It's a strange thing really. We often talk about a similar thing at Broadsheet in regards to writing about wine. It too often sounds wanky and exclusive, only making sense to sommeliers or those with extensive wine cellars.
Only too aware of this, one of the oldest and most established winemakers in Australia, Penfolds, has employed the services of Toogood, known for her mastery of sensory experience and interiors styling, to create a wine experience that is personal and accessible for all types of wine drinker – by matching it with our senses. As a creative consultant, Toogood has built experience-based situations for brands such as Tom Dixon, Comme des Garcon, Alexander McQueen, Kenzo and Vivienne Westwood. Combining this approach with wine, however, is a new realm.
Penfolds have been making wine since 1844 and though their drop may be sought-after and their approach to winemaking often adventurous, their ability to translate this to a younger audience has proved a challenge. So for Penfolds, Toogood has created a temporary space titled The Blocks, an installation that essentially brings art and wine together. Opening last week and running for three weeks inside the huge heritage-listed Pier 2/3 warehouse beneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the concept involves large totem sculptures dipped in French perfume and five art works by locals artist that (somewhat tenuously) relate to wine. You’ll also get to drink Penfolds bin and luxury wines.
It’s a multi sensory experience, and one that attempts to match our aesthetic choices with a confidence to chose wine like we chose our clothes each day.
The Blocks has been unveiled in Sydney, with a stint in Melbourne around July, before beginning its journey to various locations around the world. It runs in Sydney until Thursday April 5.