Potts Point is hardly lacking in terms of cafes and restaurants, but it has never had a micro-winery – within the walls of a bakery, no less.

"We really got excited by the idea of playing with yeast in wine the same way we play with it in bread,” says David McGuiness, co-founder of Bourke Street Bakery. “We use natural yeast from the air in our sourdough and that's what we're doing with the wine.”

Working in collaboration with Alex Retief (a Potts Point local and head of A. Retief Wines) they’ve organised for half a tonne of cabernet sauvignon grapes from Tertini Wines in the Southern Highlands to ferment in the middle of the Potts Point bakery. The grapes will be left to ferment naturally, relying on wild yeast spores from the air.

“We wanted to create something interactive that our After Hours customers could see, touch and feel,” says McGuinness. And more importantly, you can pop in and have a plunge, so to speak: “We are keeping the plunger beside the grapes and we encourage anyone in the area to pop in, have a peek and to plunge the grapes themselves.”

But you best pop in sooner rather than later. “We're getting some really good results, so the ferment is likely only going to take a few weeks. After the ferment, we press the grapes and then it goes into a big old French barrel to rest for a number of months. So the most interactive bit of the process is now."

Additionally Bourke Street Bakery’s After Hours dinner will be celebrating that critical ingredient that gives rise to wine and bread. A series of winemakers will give a short talk on a specific aspect of yeast. For instance, Brenden Keys (BK Wines) will talk about wild yeast in wine making. Tertini Wines will showcase their range and explain how yeast is used differently in accordance with each grape, while Centennial Vineyards will explain the vital role yeast plays in sparkling wine. Meanwhile, McGuiness and Dave Allam will talk about the role of yeast in bread and other foods.

But to ensure it’s not all talk and no action, there’s a degustation designed to match the wines tasted, with at least five courses on any given night. It’s certainly a fine way to appreciate such an underrated ingredient.

June 1 – Brenden Keys (BK Wines)
June 13 – Tertini Wines
June 20 – Centennial Vineyards

Bourke Street Bakery Potts Point
46a Macleay Street, Potts Point (enter via Crick Ave)
(03) 9380 9700

bourkestreetbakery.com.au