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August 11, 2022

Taste wines from ‘the most relevant winemakers in Australia’

For Wine Playground 2022, Tyler Grace Austin has gathered together a dream lineup of winemakers who, through their wines, mentorship and industry research, have reshaped the Australian industry.

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  • Words: Johnny von Einem
  • Pictures: Josh Geelen

Tyler Grace Austin has been thinking about the lineup for this year’s Wine Playground for a very long time.


Wine Playground 2022
Saturday, 24 September
Good Gilbert
135b Goodwood Road, Goodwood 5034
Tickets and more info

The event is an annual happening from The Fruitful Pursuit that showcases small-scale winemakers from around the country with strong philosophies on sustainability – both in terms of environmental impact and business model.

This is Tyler’s first event as head curator, having worked on many TFP wine parties alongside its founder (and her partner), James Hopkins.

Through this upcoming event, Tyler hopes to shine a light on winemakers who, she says, are “people [who] are giving back”.

“There is a sense of being part of a larger community and trying to return something to either the environment or the people that surround them,” Tyler says.

Tyler Grace Austin

The inspiration for the concept came through Tyler’s friendship with Gill Gordon-Smith, an industry luminary who ran wine shop Fall From Grace for more than a decade, set up the local WSET wine education program, and who will be showing her new wine label, La Madrina, at Wine Playground.

“Gill has influenced me greatly over the years… and helped me to solidify my beliefs,” Tyler says.

“Her whole life, she has spent trying to give back to the community.

“Me being able to chat to her as a role model of who I want to become as I get older, that’s how these discussions began.”

Another influential presence at the event will be Dr Irina Santiago-Brown, winemaker and co-owner of McLaren Vale’s Inkwell Wines.

Irina left a career in government in her native Brazil and moved to Australia in 2009 to complete a Master of Viticulture and PhD in Sustainability in Viticulture. Soon after, she got a job with the McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association, where she helped to develop the Sustainable Winegrowing Australia program. The program has since been implemented across the country.

“She has made huge and immense changes into sustainable certification in Australia,” Tyler says.

“I really want people to be able to take as much as they possibly can from the event.”

A Wine Playground gathering from an earlier year


Before she moving to South Australia, Tyler, who is originally from Queensland, was a sommelier with extensive experience running events – albeit at a much larger scale.

She ran Taste Champagne events in Australia and overseas alongside well-known Champagne authority Tyson Stelzer.

Through Wine Playground, and the other events TFP runs, Tyler has become much closer to the producers and the process of making wine – which is an insight she hopes to share with all guests of her events.


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“When you’re meeting these people – which I never had the ability to do, really, working in other wine events – I think that it gives people a better understanding of why they need to spend more,” she laughs.

“When there’s somebody standing in front of you, they’re saying, ‘I picked these grapes by hand with my son, and then I hand-de-stemmed the wines, and then I take them and I plunge them every day’, and you have that idea of what goes into human-scale winemaking.”

Forums will be hosted outdoors at the 2022 Wine Playground


Wine Playground is returning to Good Gilbert for the 2022 event, with the venue providing food for the day. Wine tastings will run from 1pm ‘til 4pm, with bottle sales available at the event another two hours after that. Those who want to kick on can pull up a seat at Good Gilbert afterwards.

There will a roster of forums discussing topics related to the wine industry, hosted by Katie Spain, national drinks writer for Good Food, with 19 winemakers pouring wines on site.

The announced winemakers are Avani, Bandicoot Run, Camwell, Charlotte Dalton, Dr Edge, Henschke, Honeymoon, Inkwell, Kin, La Madrina, Lauren Langfield, L’uva, Parley, Tillie J, Sabi Wabi, Schmölzer & Brown, Smallfry and Stargazer.

“We think these people are the most relevant winemakers in Australia at this time, because of their impact on the environment through their philosophy,” Tyler says.

“It is people that I selfishly just want to be surrounded by and have never had the opportunity to have all of these people around me at one time.”

Tickets include all tastings in the three-hour period, a TFP-branded Plumm glass, a snack from Good Gilbert and access to the forums.

To purchase a ticket, head to The Fruitful Pursuit’s website.

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