It's been a while between wine parties, so we caught up with The Fruitful Pursuit to find out how best to adventure at Wine Playground this weekend.
How to have a good time at Wine Playground 2020
It’s been a real long time since we were last allowed to congregate together in the name of enjoying great, South Australian wine.
Though we’re excitedly looking ahead to The Fruitful Pursuit’s upcoming Wine Playground event, we’re also feeling a little rusty.
Wine Playground ADL 2020
31 October—1 November
Upstairs at The Stag Public House
Entry via Yiasou George
26 East Terrace, Adelaide 5000
Check in at 11:45am
Doors open 12pm
How does one keep one’s balance while standing upright at the same time as sipping from a glass (which is totally permissible activity at Wine Playground Adelaide 2020)?
For tips on this and some other aspects of next week’s wine party happening, we spoke briefly with founder of The Fruitful Pursuit, James Hopkins, who is a bit keen himself.
“I’m inclined to moan about the inconsistencies that licensed venues have been dealt lately by the powers that be, especially in the last week or so,” he says.
“It’s forced us into reformatting the entire experience again and again, but now that we’re finally here in the moment, I can only be thankful.
“The experience we’ve lined up this weekend will be every bit as energetic and awe-inspiring as any event we’ve put together.”
Read on for the best way to party responsibly at Wine Playground this weekend.
How do I get in?
Entering a venue was once the least perilous part of participating in a day party. Exiting after one too many tastings would be a tougher task.
However, in our new reality, extra care must be taken in the check-in process.
The Wine Playground team will need to collect your details ahead of letting you in.
“We’ve asked that ticket holders arrive at 11:45 sharp and begin queuing to check-in,” James says.
“It’s a two-step procedure: firstly, we’ll be conducting electronic contract tracing of everyone attending on the day, as well as scanning tickets upon entry.”
You’ll be presented with a QR code to scan, so have your phones ready, and you’ll be asked to input your details at the link.
Doors to the event officially open at midday.
How do I get a drink?
Once you’ve been ushered through Yiasou and upstairs to the Stag, you’ll be handed a stemless The Fruitful Pursuit x Plumm glass.
This object will be your only portal into the world of wine the team has set up for you, so don’t lose it.
Wine Playground lineup
Saturday 31 October
Architects of Wine
Sunday 1 November
Fall From Grace
The Mysterious Mr Black
The Other Right
Wine Playground is happening across two days, and each day will see a cohort of 18 winemakers pouring wine inside the venue, as well as out on the balcony.
“Indoor tastings and consumption will be seated; outdoor tastings will be stand-up,” James says.
“Inside will feel a bit like musical chairs, but we’ve got the space for it. And out on the deck, well, that’ll be a real break to normality.”
To James, the restricted capacity of the event will make for a better experience for attendees on the day.
“That’s a one-to-eight ratio of winemaker-to-consumers and with this many brilliant characters in the mix, we’re in for a very, very fun time indeed,” he says.
The Stag’s upstairs area is usually licensed for 350 people, but there are just 150 tickets sold for each event, so there’ll be plenty of space to roam from winemaker to winemaker without putting yourself in a compromising position in relation to the COVID cooties.
If you can see a group gathering in front of one winemaker in particular, make a note to see them later in the day and visit a quieter stall.
Mischief Brew Coffee will also be popping up at the event, just in case you need a hit of caffeine (or something non-alcoholic) throughout the day.
“I Just spoke to Scott [Giles] from Mischief Brew, and he said, ‘We actually don’t do events anymore,’ but he’s thrilled to be a part of it and be a part of this lineup of producers, to recapture that old feel we had at the original Wine Playground in 2016,” James says.
For the full list of winemakers in attendance, see here.
Will there be food?
Prospect pizzeria Anchovy Bandit will be taking over the Yiasou George wood-fired oven throughout Wine Playground, with event staff taking orders and bringing pizzas upstairs to those who’ve put in their requests.
This is also the case for holders of Wine Playground Ultra Passes, whose ticket includes an Anchovy Bandit pizza.
There will be a couple of snacky food options too, with a $5 tasting plate available from cheesemakers Section 28, showcasing the latest artisanal cheeses produced by Kym Masters.
Chocolatier Steven Ter Horst will be in attendance, hosting two chocolate pairing masterclass mini-events, capped at just 16 people, which have been organised in collaboration with sommelier Tyler Grace Austin.
Ticketholders will be sent a link, through which they can book a seat at these exclusive sessions.
What if I want to learn something?
As in previous editions of Wine Playground, the 2020 event includes panel discussions, this year run by wine writer Katie Spain.
The open-air forums will happen out on the Stag’s balcony, and will discuss topics of interest to the South Australian wine industry and drinkers alike.
“What Katie and I have discussed primarily, aside from the bloody woeful year we’ve had, is to do with the vineyard and its value to the craft,” James says.
“I think slowly in Australia – and this conversation was certainly instigated by the natural wine movement – people are speaking a lot louder about upholding the vineyard above what happens in the winery.
“I would say it’s the most important part of making wine. The culture we’ve always promoted here is primarily based around what the winemaker does, but it’s everything that happens before the grapes hit the winery that’s more vital to the craft.”
These forums will be open to all Wine Playground attendees.
There’ll be music, right?
Anth Wendt, (aka Oisimi) and Troy J Been will be serving up tunes all day.
“As soon as the tasting ends at 4pm, I reckon the deck outside will be the place to be,” James says.
Remember that if you’re inside the venue, you’ll need to restrict any dance energy you feel to your chair. Responsible dancing on the balcony may be permissible, but check in with the COVID Marshall on the day.