We’re featuring the Neighbourhood Event Co. roaming winemaker series Grape To Glass, a series of pop up cellar doors in a ton of different small bars and restaurants around Perth and Fremantle. The series runs every Thursday from the start of July until the end of August and last Thursday saw us at The Shorehouse with amazing wine by the Adelaide Hills winery, Vinteloper.
With the French word for wine prefixed over the word interloper. The Vinteloper brand is a pledge to stand out from everything pretentious and inaccessible about the world of wine. Following the motto ‘Fun on the outside, serious in the bottle.’ Vinteloper’s founder and winemaker David Bowley and his wife Sharon Fong have built a winery which is as much about the situations and people drinking as it is about the wine, which so happens to be brilliant.
Besides its labels, which are beautiful hand drawn illustrations by Sharon, Vinteloper is perhaps most famous for their yearly Urban Winery Project. The project sees David bringing fermenters, a basket press, and a load of barrels into the city for a community driven winemaking adventure. The project runs every year during the harvest, “probably the most difficult time it could happen,” but David says the reason they run the project is because “After being a part of making the wine, for those two hundred people. every glass they drink for the rest of their lives tastes a little bit better."
After a tenure in commercial winemaking David began working for Wine Australia, and was able to drink “Thousands of wines, from almost every winery in Australia.” In tasting so many wines from so many different regions, David discovered that the region which most resonated with him was that from the Adelaide Hills, the area he grew up in. He eventually began Vinterloper in 2008, and while still working at Wine Australia, steadily grew until "The biggest risk would have been not taking the risk" and left his job in order to put all of his facilities into his brand.
David is quick to reject any pretentiousness or inaccessibility related to wine, and for him this includes wordy tasting notes, Instead choosing to introduce his wines with vivid imagery and experiences. He likened his Pinot Gris to the moment of throwing your head under the water at the beach on the first day of summer, an experience, he asserts, we’ve all had before. When one attendee at Grape To Glass complimented the Pinot Gris, saying it was very good, he replied ‘what do you like about it?’ and throughout the night he emphasised that he didn’t want to tell people what they want, he wanted to ask people what they wanted.
David tells us that in addition to the grapes he grows himself he buys from the same growers each vintage, saying that in everything he does he is forever trying to improve just a little bit from last time.
David’s wines are refined and intricate, but there is nothing daunting about them. Treated delicately throughout his winemaking process, Vinteloper wines perfectly embody the convivial atmosphere they hope to facilitate.
Our tastings began with a Pinot Gris, usually not a personal favourite, but this particular one was moreish, with a crisp and lemony finish, which David said "leaves you wanting just a little bit more”. We progressed immediately onto reds, with an elegant Pinot Noir which David likened to having “The same analogue warmth of a vinyl record”.
We moved on to a remarkable, refined Shiraz which David believed had been “turned down from 11 compared to most shiraz”, and a Touriga Nacional. Touriga, the primary grape in Port, is a bit of a rarity in Australia. It made for a huge, powerful wine, a bit like a starburst in drinkable form. We finished the night with a lovely red from the most recent Urban Winery Project.
Grape To Glass
With ominous clouds rolling in over the beach, we could think of no better time to be indoors drinking wine. Even in stormy weather the staff of the Shorehouse were lovely, and between the jovial atmosphere and beautiful wines we had no problem forgetting the dreariness outside.