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‘What’s In Your Glass? 2015 – Newcastle, Hunter Valley


The Real Wine Fair has a lot to answer for.

You see, it was the Real Wine Fair, held over three years ago, in May 2012, in London,  that triggered my love for natural, organic, and biodynamic wine. I attended as a relative newbie to the natural wine scene where I encountered Adam and Julian Castagna, from Beechworth in Victoria and their mind melting, synapse sparking syrah’s grown in soils laced with granite, and managed biodynamically.

Ever since then, I have been on a voyage of awesome discovery, going ever deeper down the rabbit hole of real wines, especially those from Australia and New Zealand.

When I came back to Australia, and my hometown in the Hunter Valley, I realised pretty quickly that there wasn’t a great amount of the kind of gear I got so used to drinking, back in London… until, someone told me about Rootstock Sydney.

Converting some Aussie Wine Idealists - photo by The Wine Idealist

Real Wine Fair, 2014 – photo by The Wine Idealist

By all accounts, Rootstock was to be cut from the same, or, at least a very similar cloth, as that from the Real Wine Fair, and it was. Throughout the day, at Rootstock 2013, there was an enormous sense of joy in the air, as people squeezed their way between a mass of people and wine. The room was literally humming and buzzing with an energy very similar to the one I felt at the Real Wine Fair. There was something about these wines that made you feel something good.

Impatient for my next opportunity to get to another Real Wine Fair, or Rootstock, I wanted to try and cut off a bit of that same cloth and see if I could sew it into the fabric of my home town of Newcastle. Rather selfishly (and perhaps a little like a junkie), I wanted to feel that same positive feeling that I’d felt at those other two festivals. So, in July 2013, I teamed up with Patrick Haddock of The Wining Pom fame, and we staged an ambitious real wine fair of our own, in Newcastle, in what was to become our town’s first proper wine bar, Reserve Wine Bar.

We called the event, What’s In Your Glass?, and it worked! We not only pulled off a successful and sold out afternoon’s worth of real wine tasting, we also sold out the Hunter Valley winegrowers dinner at Bacchus that night, as well… in fact, it was the first time ever that the four Hunter Valley natural, organic, and biodynamic producers had ever collaborated on an event before! It was a lot of fun.

In addition to this event, and, in the lead up to it, we sunk 8 bottles of wax sealed Hunter Valley wine into the mouth of the Hunter River for three months, to see what would happen, and to find out whether they would taste any different… or saltier. They did… taste different, that is, not saltier. To my knowledge, this was the first time this (informal) experiment had ever been done in Australia. You can read some (informal) results from the 2013 sinking here.

All Smiles at What's In Your Glass? 2014 - photo by The WIne Idealist

All Smiles at What’s In Your Glass? 2014 – photo by The WIne Idealist

Fast forward to 2015…

Myself and fellow inGRAPESweTRUST wine knight, sommelier, and owner of Fortunate Son public bar, Andrew Clifton-Smith, have teamed up again to bring the fine folk of Newcastle and the Hunter Valley the best artisan wine event in the region, for the third year in a row!

Held upstairs at Fortunate Son, on Beaumont St, Hamilton, What’s In Your Glass? 2015 has amassed an awesome line up of natural, organic and biodynamic winegrowers from right across Australia and New Zealand…

The winegrowers line up includes (click the links to read past editions of The Wine Idealist):

NSW: Macquariedale I Tamburlaine I Ascella I Harkham I Vanguardist I Rosnay I A.Retief I Freeman I Sparrow & Vine

VIC: Bobar I Avani I Sutton Grange I Hochkirch

SA: Small Fry I Gemtree I Kalleske

WA: Freehand I Dormilona

TAS: Stefano Lubiana

NZ: Te Whare Ra I Seresin  I Hans Herzog I Huia I Pyramid Valley I Muddy Water I Bellbird Spring I Felton Road I Rippon

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In addition to all these fine winegrowers and their wines, What’s In Your Glass? has assembled three of Newcastle’s best restaurants, who will be plating up a gourmet, pop-up, style feast for all the Novocastrian wine lovers in attendance…

Reserve Wine Bar I Casa de Loco I Fortunate Son

And there’ll be stalls from local certified organic store, Organic Feast, as well as the Biodynamic Agriculture Association Australia, and The Wine Idealist TOURS, PHOTO+MERCH Store, where you’ll be able to buy a select few T-Shirt designs. There will also be PHOTOS from, plus you can register your interest in coming on the first, new one day Wine Idealist TOURS of the Hunter Valley’s natural, organic and biodynamic winegrowers …


Gorgeous WIYG15 artwork by Melisah May…

So, be there, or be square…

D// – The Wine Idealist

Links and Further Reading

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