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‘Newcastle Knows What’s In Your Glass! – Newcastle, Hunter Valley

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Natural, organic, and biodynamic winegrowers of Australia and New Zealand, unite!

inGRAPESweTRUST presents…. What’s In Your Glass? was held for the third time in a row in sunny, beautiful, Newcastle, and featured over 60 artisan, natural, organic and biodynamic wines from right across these two great countries!

“It can’t be done,” they said. “Small wine events just don’t work in Newcastle. Novocastrians don’t come out for wine events. They come out for surf events and music festivals, featuring Cold Chisel cover bands and Aussie Hip Hop, but not wine events… I’m telling you, it can’t be done.”

Well, that was three years ago… And ever since then, we’ve seemed to always prove the naysayers wrong.

Sure, the numbers aren’t huge, but we’re in Newcastle, remember. Not London, or Melbourne, or Sydney. Newcastle, and that’s the whole point.

Just like any other place, anywhere in the world, Newcastle deserves to drink well, and all we’ve ever wanted to do is bring good wine to the second most populated area in New South Wales. This is not to say that we don’t already enjoy good wine here! The Hunter Valley is right on our doorstep… which, really only adds to the mystery of why, “it can’t be done”. You would think that there’d be loads of intrepid wino‘s wandering about, looking for something delicious to pour into their face!

This was the second time that What’s In Your Glass? was hosted by the inGRAPESweTRUST crew (or, should that be Cru?) upstairs, above Fortunate Son, home of Newcastle’s coolest wine list and best coffee. Son’s owner and resident sommelier, Andrew Clifton-Smith, along with myself, The Wine Idealist, have spent the last few months organising this one special day in July, in the middle of a Newcastle winter (i.e. an above average London summer) to bring the fine wine folk of Newcastle the best natural, organic, and biodynamic wines from across Australia and New Zealand.

These Novocastrian's now know what's in your glass... - photo by The Wine Idealist

These Novocastrian’s now know what’s in your glass… – photo by The Wine Idealist

This year we were lucky to have lined up an incredible selection of awesome artisans, winemakers and growers, including Stefano Lubiana from Tasmania, Tom Belford from Bobar in the Yarra Valley, Matt Eastwell from Freehand in Mount Barker, WA, and Claire Allan from Huia, all the way from Marlborough, New Zealand. Each of these amazing people had travelled from far and wide to pour their wines for the good people of Newcastle, and it was an enormous privilege to welcome them to our town.

What’s In Your Glass? was also extremely lucky to have a line up of producers from a little closer to home – relatively speaking – including the ever charming Sam Statham from Rosnay, in Canowindra, and Morgan Juniper, assistant winemaker at Lowe, in Mudgee, who poured their delicious drops alongside local legends, Ross McDonald from Macquariedale and Mark Davidson from Tamburlaine, and new kid on the block, Michael Corbett from Vanguardist wines.

There were of course, some who couldn’t make the trip up to the capital of the Hunter, but were kind enough to organise a rep or two, including Matt Fitzgerald from Gemtree, Dan from Winestock representing Alex Retief and Krinklewood, and Mark Blake from QED wines, who poured Rippon‘s Mature Vine Pinot Noir and Hans Herzog‘s Sur Lie Sauvignon Blanc… nice! All the other wines on show were handled and poured expertly by the extended arm of the inGRAPESweTRUST Cru, our wonderful, most kindest, and awesome volunteers, who helped make the behind the scenes and front of house run seamlessly… A big hug and a big thank you to Bonnie, Mike, Angie, Jackie, James, Mark, Emma, Dannielle, and Kateland who made everything that much easier, that much cleaner, and way more fun that it otherwise would have been!

Proper, bone fide, Hunter Valley legends… thank you!

Refuelling in between drinks was made easy by having three of Newcastle’s best bars and restaurants supplying signature dishes to the hungry souls wandering around What’s In Your Glass? Casa de LocoReserve Wine Bar, and host’s Fortunate Son ensured the smiles remained on people’s faces long after lunch and we can’t thank Pat from Reserve, Aaron from Casa and Liz and Andrew from Fortunate Son enough for their time and support of our little wine festival. It’s a honour to have you there, serving your delicious meals alongside some of Australia’s and New Zealand’s best artisan wines.

Above the happy hum and buzz of the assembled mass of new Newy wine lovers, Alfonso and his Napoli Centrale Jam Band made their sax, guitar, drum and bass instruments play sweetly throughout the afternoon, soaking it in super sounding sonics of jazz, rhythm and blues.

Bredan Hilferty from Sparrow & Vine (also pouring Small Fry) - photo by The Wine Idealist

Bredan Hilferty from Sparrow & Vine (also pouring Small Fry) – photo by The Wine Idealist

Prior to the event, we were super excited to recruit Newcastle’s best portrait artist, Melisah May to design this year’s logo, which, I’m sure we can all agree, is really very beautiful. Thanks heaps to Melisah for her contribution to WIGY15. Also, thank you again to graphic design genius Ben Mitchell (who I’m sure makes more money out of The Wine Idealist than I do) for putting together Melisah’s gorgeous original artwork into the various promo cards, posters and TASTING NOTES booklet, which looked awesome (and not a single one was found on the floor)!

Lastly, I want to directly thank my partner in crime, and wine, Andrew Clifton-Smith for his insight and ideas and cool collaborative creativity for helping me organise and host this year’s What’s In Your Glass? wine event.

And, to everyone who came on Sunday to find out just exactly what was in their glass… Thank you!

Keep your ear to the ground and your eyes open for more inGRAPESweTRUST presents… events, coming to Newcastle in the near future. And, dare I say it…

Roll On What’s In Your Glass? 2016!

D// – The Wine Idealist

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