Last weekend we were privileged to catch the first Urban Wine Walk in Perth for 2019. While many events are starting to celebrate local and small-batch wineries, we think the Urban Wine Walk stands out for celebrating not only forward thinking wineries and winemakers, but pairing them with some of Perth’s best venues.
When covering another Neighbourhood Event Co. event, owner Josh Starick mentioned that the focus on popups in recent events can start to detract from the brick and mortar businesses which contribute to make a city great throughout the year. The same values are clearly evident in the Urban Wine Walk, which combines a great tasting experience with an opportunity to try out a wide range of Perth’s small bars and restaurants.
A popup cellar door
The ability to meet the people behind the wine you drink is rare even during a trip to Margaret River or the Barossa Valley, yet the Urban Wine Walk offers the chance to meet owners and operators. Our own journey began at the newly opened Hadiqa, where Rick Burch poured lovely and refreshing wines from his own Mon Tout label.
On such a hot day, our tastes skewed towards the cold and bright such as the beautiful Pet Nat poured by Blind Corner's Ben Gould in the Long Chim courtyard, or our summer favourite South by South West rosé poured by owners Liv and Mij at the Petition Wine Merchant. However with three different wines from each of the winemakers (and sometimes a sneaky fourth) we found the Event would cater to a wide range of palettes.
Other independent winemaker included Arimia Estate’s Dan Stocker representing both the Arimia range and his own passion project Heretic Wines at the State Buildings’ underground den Halford. Also amongst him were Skigh of Skigh Wines, Amato Vino’s Brad Wehr, and Walsh & Sons’ Ryan Walsh.
Fans of Margaret River staples were still given an opportunity to try their favourite wine amongst smaller producers, with Leeuwin Estate taking residence in Public House, Vasse Felix in the beautiful Stables Bar, and Fraser Gallop Estate in Helvetica bringing their cellar doors up into the city.
Meeting your new favourite venue
This year’s wine walk gave us an opportunity to enjoy new wines in some of our favourite venues including Tiny’s, Varnish on King and Petition, but also introduced us to venues such as Alfred’s Pizza, Fromage Artisans and Heritage Wine Bar. In Alfred’s Pizza, The Pawn Wine Co. poured excellent pizza-pairing wines right under a well placed air conditioner, and the lovely staff at Fromage Artisans were able to give us a tour of their cheese vault between tastings with Amato Vino.
The event gave visibility to blink-and-you-miss-them venues such as Helvetica, Varnish on King and Holmes & Co. each of which are positioned off the sides of alleyways or the corners of buildings which many people would walk by unaware. Each of the venues showed what they did best throughout the walk with special menus and event-only menu items, and in Halford the lovely staff were very quick to offer us cold drinks to beat the heat.
Focus on Local
With the exception of three South Australian wineries, every producer in the Wine Walk operated less than a day’s drive from Perth. The Wine Walk has branched out into almost every state, even as far as New Zealand, but having started in Perth, it gives a sense of pride in the city and the state which has produced each of the brilliant wineries and venues which make up the event.
As we become increasingly fascinated with provenance, a fascination with our own city and state usually follows. Perth is spoilt with brilliant food and hospitality just waiting to be explored: Aspects the Urban Wine Walk does a fascinating job of highlighting.