Following last month’s celebrations of the world’s 50 best restaurants, it’s time to narrow our focus and look to our homegrown champions in food and wine; especially wine. Aussie Wine Month has arrived to help fill your May with quality drops, an arrival marked earlier this week with a intimate feast at Sydney’s highly regarded Bentley, where the restaurant’s sommelier Nick Hildebrandt and Taras Ochota of Adelaide Hills’ ochota barrels went head-to-head with a friendly wine pairing competition for each course (Everyone won in the end because two different pairings of top Australian wines per course is way better than just one pairing, we’d say.) The celebratory dinner was the perfect teaser of what’s to come over the next few weeks. With events being held across all of Australia, our antipodean craft will be championed through masterclasses, workshops and tastings from major cities, to regional wine havens.
Australian wine has come a long way in the last five to ten years, as Hildebrandt and Ochota discussed at the dinner. We’ve gone from shiraz, chardonnay or bust, to expanding our palates to the natural, more elegant and lesser known varietals. “Aussie Wine Month gives us the chance to put the spotlight on the incredible wine we’re producing in our own backyard,” says Wine Australia’s CEO Andreas Clark. “There’s no need to look anywhere else when we have such diversity and varying wine styles.”
So how should you start expanding your knowledge of our fine Aussie vinos? Aussie Wine Month has you covered with hundreds of events this May. Whether you’re a wine novice or at sommelier status, there are more than a few events to please your inner oenophile. Highlights from the program include, a masterclass on the relationship between whisky and wine on 11 May, a The Little Wine Company wines and yum cha-fuelled “Up Close & Personal” chat with Sydney chef Dan Hong at Mr. Wong on 13 May, and a collaborative lunch with Melbourne chef Guy Grossi and Yering Station’s Maxime Croiset on 20 May. And that’s only three events of the several hundred more set to take place Australia-wide until 31 May.
For a full list of all the events in your city check out Aussie Wine Month’s official website here.