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September 15, 2020
Habits

For a good time with wine call Wine Country

Wine Country is a new wine events business run by Nick Stock and Mark Kamleh with an aim to rid the world of "boring wine events."

  • Words and pictures: Johnny von Einem

In the early days of the pandemic, Nick Stock and Mark Kamleh took refuge from COVID-19’s unfurling unknowns in a large house in Clarendon.

Nick, who is Tasting Australia’s beverage director and a respected national wine writer, had only just moved back to Adelaide as the lockdown took effect.

Remarks

Spring Dozen by Wine Country
Two sittings on Saturday, 19 September (sold out)
The Uraidla Institute (next door to Lost in a Forest), Greenhill Road, Uraidla 5142
More info

Connect with Wine Country:
Website
Facebook
Instagram

Mark is also a known entity within Adelaide’s hospitality and party scenes, and the two have known each other for years through mutual friends, but began working together through Tasting Australia – Mark produces East End Cellars’ Tasting Australia events.

“When we were working together on Tasting Australia, we realised we were always on the same page,” Mark says.

“To see the common goal has always been super easy,” Nick agrees.

It had been an ongoing discussion for years that they might combine their talents and create work outside of Tasting Australia, but “then life is life,” Nick smiles.

Nick invited Mark to stay at the Clarendon house – an enormous property that is also fitted out to host events. Surrounded by the quiet of quarantine and an indefinite future in the world of food and beverage events, now seemed as good a time as any to start talking about teaming up.

The result is a new wine events company that takes the pair’s deep knowledge of wine and the wine industry, and their penchant for putting on parties: Wine Country.

Its remit is simple.

“No more fucking boring wine events,” Nick says.

“Wine becomes so boring so quickly, and it just doesn’t need to be. And this is not just for where we are in South Australia and Australia, that’s the whole world of wine.

“No one wants that anymore. No one wanted it in the first place, but that’s what always was there, so I think there’s a lot of opportunity.”

From gatherings of six people up to 6,000 (or thereabouts), Wine Country will help individuals, businesses, or any other kind of grouping, an opportunity to connect with wine in an engaging way.

“Really, we want to be a conduit between the best winemakers and best wine producers and the people that really want to discover and know about and interact and enjoy those wines,” Nick says.

“It can be on a private level, it can be on a corporate level, it can be on a large commercial level, in any sort of different way… What the actual actualities of those are in the future, we’re completely open-minded.”

“It doesn’t have to be a big hundred-or-so-person event,” Mark says, “it can also be just you’re having a dinner party and you want to learn about wine, or you want to have a wine program delivered for your night.

“Office drinks? We’ll come in hot with a box of wine, and we’ll talk about the wine if you want to talk about it, or… we can make it more of a thing.”

“If someone comes to us and says, ‘I think I want to make a wine.’ We can help you. We’ll actually deliver that for you,” Nick says.

Nick and Mark have plenty of contacts in the wine and events industries, and they hope to deliver events in collaboration with some of these contacts. But Wine Country will also host events of its own, like Spring Dozen, happening this weekend.

The event will see 12 winemakers pour their spring-release wines at the Uraidla Institute, next door to Lost in a Forest, on Saturday, 19 September.

The participating winemakers are Ochota Barrels, Murdoch Hill Wines, Deviation Road Winery, Gentle Folk, Worlds Apart Wines, Commune of Buttons, Leko, BK Wines, Basket Range Wine, Les Fruits, Charlotte Dalton Wines and Cooke Brothers Wines.

Taras Ochota, one of 12 winemakers showcased at Wine Country’s Spring Dozen

 

The fresh spring pours will be accompanied by food from Africola and Regent Thai, Lost in a Forest and more, as well as music from The High beamers, Slow Mango and The Very Good DJs.

“This first event, I learned how easy [it can be],” Mark says.

“I learned how much enthusiasm there was for this idea, and for Mark and I working together,” Nick says.

While a central tenet of Wine Country is to make wine fun again, Nick is adamant that Wine Country’s concepts also work for the winemakers involved.

Anyone who’s ever joined a busload of revellers out to the regions for a large-scale wine event knows the chaos is very rarely centred around the producers.

“We want the people that attend to go away and say, ‘I didn’t know it could be that fun and that interesting,’ and be really engaged and start getting hungry for wine in a different way,” Nick says.

“And we want the people on the other side of the equation, the producers, to say, ‘That is of real value to us. Thanks for helping do that for us.’”

Ultimately it’s about spreading a love for wine and the people who make it.

“Hopefully people can love the wine, get into wine in the way that Nick and I have. Really get into it to know more about it,” Mark says.

“It’s a pretty big world that’s very hard to even scratch the service even after 10 years of being in the industry. It just goes forever. It’s enchanting.”

Wine Country’s inaugural event Spring Dozen is happening this Saturday, 19 September at the Uraidla Institute. For more information, see the event page.

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