Beer and Bubbles on Vardon Avenue
Wine and beer tasting in Adelaide
On Saturday, I went to Beer and Bubbles on Vardon Avenue which started at 12 noon and ended at 5pm. I arrived at 12 sharp as I knew it would soon become crowded and I wanted to make sure I could easily talk to the producers, brewers, owners and brand representatives. It didn’t take long to realise I was not going to be able to sample the wonderful wines and beers on offer plus talk to each person about their business and the story behind the label. I love hearing about the different styles of wines and beers, what goes into them, the reason for the name and more about the brand. So I took as much marketing material as I could in order to research about the wineries and breweries after I went home. I was at the event for two and a half hours and I’ve since spent that time looking up information and details about the exhibitors on the day. These type of events are so important to tell the consumer know about the latest products, vintage, wines out there.
I was impressed to see a huge number of small batch boutique wines and craft beers run in most cases with one or two people/small team and independently owned; are all so relatively new to the market. I can only try and appreciate how hard it can be run a business on your own or with just a skeleton crew and budget.
I’ve been reading about the increase of SMEs and also that more people are starting businesses younger; entrepreneurs. Reading fortune.com it seems the reason is a combination of technology today, not being afraid of failure, the acceptance that CEOs do not have to all be over 50 and of course people want to take risks. I love the fact that there are so many people willing to try and build a brand they believe in despite the risks and insecurity. Maybe people want to contribute to something meaningful, make a difference and create a better a good work-life balance.
The day started a touch cool and cloudy but by 1:30pm, the sun had pushed through and I was grateful for the huge umbrellas giving us all shade, as well as tasted and sampled; in addition to the trees along the avenue. The centre of Vardon Avenue was lined with fake grass, tables and colourful bunting hung up across the trees from one side to the other coupled with fairy lights. I’ve recently moved to Adelaide so the bunting and lights might always be there. There was a huge selection of wines and beers on tasting.
When I first arrived, I headed off to the far corner, furthest from the entrance as I figured this would end up one of the busiest by the end of the afternoon.
Domaine Wine Shippers (DWS)
DWS is a distributor and were showing a selection of wines
- Billecart-Salmon NV: Wonderful to start the afternoon with this wine.
- Ngeringa: I met Erinn Klein, the owner and winemaker who came to show us some of his wines at Liquor Barons Swanbourne Cellars in Perth, WA.
- Little Miss Collett: I like the cool label and even though there’s lots of residual sugar – well more than I’m used to (71.8 g/L), I find it well integrated.
- Crémant de Bourgogne; Domaine André Delorme Rosé: lots of layers here.
The team were really kind and talked us through the wines. There were also technical sheets on the table so we could all learn more about the wines.
I believe the above wines are both found in retail and in restaurants/hotels. DWS will be able to know the exact stockists;
Red and White
Then I went to another table where they had the below wines on tasting supplied by Red and White, a fine wine distribution company
- 42 Degrees South: From Tasmania; a wonderful refreshing and textured sparkling wine.
- Dal Zotto from the King Valley in North East Victoria
- Louis Roederer NV: What can I say? Wonderful Champagne and so privileged to be able to sample a small amount.
- Louis Roederer 2009, the most recent vintage and so stunning.
Again, as with DWS, I believe the above wines are both found in retail and in restaurants/hotels but Red and White will have details of the exact stockists.
Samuel Smith & Son
At the next table showing wines distributed by Samuel Smith & Son: I tried 2 sparklings and a Premier Cru Champagne:
- Redbank Prosecco: Sourced from the King Valley in Victoria: Proseccos are so fresh and lively. Perfect for summers.
- Deviation Road Altair Brut Rosé NV from Adelaide Hills: I really enjoyed this wine and it was light yet textured. I’ll need to visit these guys in the Adelaide Hills to taste more from their range!
- Champagne Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru: This was fantastic and from a smaller producer no doubt the price tag would be less than that of larger brands.
- Chaffey Bros 2017 Funkelpunkt, (sparkling Pinot) made in the Eden Valley from Riesling, Kerner and Gewürztraminer. I met Daniel Chaffey Hartwig who makes the wine with his brother in law Theo Engela. What stood out for me was the really cool label; very funky. And looking at the marketing pamphlet you can see the other labels in the range are just as innovative. The sparkling was so interesting, different and enjoyable. It’s only since I have had the time this weekend to read more about them that I learn of their small batch and minimal intervention wines. They seem so creative, I would love to visit soon! You can buy it online here.
A Fanciful Notion
Then I headed over to try wines from a company called A Fanciful Notion. They were showing two brands from their range; Quiet Revolution & Whimsy.
A Fanciful Notion was set up by two friends; Tricia and Tanya who do what they love. Isn’t that great, to be able to do what you love and have this as your job? My credit to them! Tricia and Tanya work with winemakers, artists and charities that share the same vision. They source the wine and believe in their work. There is so much more about this company than I can describe here. Whimsy Wine: These are small batch wines focusing on real people, each with their own interesting story.
The Quiet Revolution wine (vegan friendly wines) shares and focuses on different charities on their labels and on their website. Click here for the stockists: https://www.afancifulnotion.com/stockists/
I wish I could have tried more beers but with few spittoons available and with my spitting not as good as it should be, I thought it better to focus on just one or two beers per stand!
Moo Brew: Pale Ale
This was the first beer I tried, a craft beer from Tasmania. So refreshing…wonderfully refreshing on the palate. I believe it is available at a number of independents, type in your postcode to find your nearest stockist here on the website.
CVBC stands for Clare Valley Brewing Company. I met Ben and enjoyed learning about the beers. I love their motto; “At CVBC, we’re all about good times spent with good friends drinking great beer.”
Their range includes a Pale Ale, Red Ale, Extra Stout and a Summer Ale. There are a number of stores that sell their beer; see here their long list.
After tasting one of their beers, I went home and learnt that the name Hawkers, comes from the street vendors that were in Australia back when the country was a colony. The early immigrants were poor and became hawkers as they didn’t need much money and there was little skill involves in pushing a cart.
The company is independent and their aim is to “convert 100% of the market to drinking better beers.” Love it!
Swell Brewing Co
Swell Brewing Co is run by two brothers who love surf and beer and it was great to meet Daniel Wright, the co-founder. They’re so passionate surfers and passionate about brewing great craft beer from the best ingredients. I love surfing and beer so I feel I already had an affinity to them and their beers! I tasted their Pale Ale and will be on the hunt to try their other beers. I loved the layers of flavour and as they say ‘flavour’ in their beer plus the fact they are matching their beers to food. You can buy full cartons online here or you can find them in select Sip & Save stores, PALS, Goodwood Cellars, Parade Cellars, a number of Booze Bros, click here for stockists
Sparkke launched earlier this year, I was honoured to meet the head brewer and co-owner of The Sparkke Change Beverage Co; Agi Gajic .
The company makes an Apple Cider, Alcoholic Ginger Beer, Pilsner, Hard Lemonade, White Wine and Bubbles. On each product, there is a different label to promote a cause including gender equality and marriage equality.
You can buy online from their website or from a number of stockists including East End Cellars, Sturt Street Cellars, Belair Fine Wine; see here for details in SA .
I was impressed to learn and later read that they donate 10% of their direct sales to their related causes. The wine maker is female too, Sarah Lyons and together and with their business, they are leading change in 2017. So inspirational plus the fact in their first 90 days in business, they raised more than $10,000 for its causes. .
On tasting there was the Ale and Cider from Gayle. The Ale was refreshing, light and enjoyable. I’ve since read a lot more about the company online and have learnt that they are Australia’s first and only independently owned gay beer and cider Company. The company is sponsoring a range of LGBTIQA+ events throughout Australia as well as supporting the community and then donating a percentage of profits.
The beer and cider was brewed and produced in Adelaide and was officially launched at the 2017 Feast Festival that is currently on until the 26th November.
As the co-founder Virginia Buckworth explains in the Inside FMCG article; “Our aim is not only to produce a great beer and cider but to ‘pay it forward’ through sponsorship and payment in kind to the LGBTIQ community.”
To find out where to get a hold of the beer and cider, contact www.gaylebev.com.au/
Mismatch Brewing Company
The name ‘mismatch’ comes from the fact the employees are from different professionals with a range of personalities but they believe in “transparency – from what ingredients we use to where we brew our beers.”
On the Mismatch website, they end with “Cheers to drinking better beer.” I can relate and will be on the hunt finding all the local stockists and buying a few!
For lunch there were a few tasty options. I chose the Nola three piece fried chickens and decided to buy a glass of 2009 Louis Roederer for $10 to help wash it down; a match perhaps not ‘usual’ but I enjoyed it, sitting in the sun and soaking up the good vibes.
As I was about to leave just before 2:30pm, I realised there was also some wines on tasting in East End Cellars but by then my palate, was a bit tired…or full so I couldn’t sample the full range so I will have to return and buy a few bottles of Karatta wines.
There was also gin on tasting….and wines from Alpha Box and Dice; I’ve heard positive reviews about these guys.
There were so many wonderful beers and wines at Beer And Bubbles and it’s easy to become over whelmed and end up either trying the same wines and beers you already know or forgetting what you tasted so for me, the marketing materials I picked up and taking photos helped me to refer to the information later. I was at Beer and Bubbles for 2.5 hours on Saturday and I have spent a further 4 hours researching and learning more about the wines and beers I tasted. It’s impossible to fully digest all the information on one day. For me it would be handy to have a mini program guide listing the producers with the table numbers to make it easier to navigate and plan which stand to visit but then there is something to be said for having it relaxed and an informal event.
I must say I loved the free Plumm plastic wine glass. So handy not just at the venue, but for my home and I’ll be taking this away with me when I go camping! Tasting wine from a wine glass even if you’re sitting by a camp fire, sleeping in tents, haven’t washed for days…well, I prefer it that a plastic cup or mug!
On Saturday, I found out that there is the Cellar Door Festival on the 2nd to 4th March inclusive showing 180 producers. I understand there will be master classes, the opportunity to craft your own cheese (yum!) or gin, live cooking demos, lots of tasty food….I can’t wait! I’ll have to clear my diary for the weekend, book a few masterclasses and perhaps focus on sampling 2-3 wines and beers per stand so I can attempt to get round and check out the independent producers!