SA Life

Get CityMag in your inbox. Subscribe
June 29, 2020

The Fruitful Pursuit returns with Wine Playground ADL 2020

The Fruitful Pursuit is bringing its Wine Playground back to the CBD, with 36 producers pouring wines over two days at The Stag Public House this September.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  • Words: Johnny von Einem
  • Pictures: Daniel Marks and Daniel Purvis

After an almost two-year hiatus from major events in Adelaide, The Fruitful Pursuit is bringing its Wine Playground wine party back to the Adelaide CBD.

TFP founder James Hopkins is not long returned from a stint in London, and is currently holed up in Queensland, waiting for border restrictions to ease, when CityMag speaks with him about Wine Playground ADL 2020.


Wine Playground ADL 2020
5—6 September
The Stag Public House
299 Rundle Street, Adelaide 5000
More info

“I’m thirsty for a good time and thirsty to get that energy back together,” he says.

Despite being based out of London since 2018, James hasn’t been quiet in Adelaide.

He’s held small-scale wine events here, like the Future Malbec gathering at Hellbound and the COVID-inspired Pyjama Wine series.

With restrictions easing and a permanent move back to South Australia now in the works, he’s keen to reengage the South Australian wine community with The Fruitful Pursuit – particularly at this moment, as the local industry continues to feel the impacts of both the summer bushfires and the hospitality shutdown due to the coronavirus.

Wine Playground ADL will be happening at The Stag Public House on 5—6 September, with an all-SA lineup up of producers.

Each day will see 18 winemakers pour wines for the attending partygoers, accompanied by pizza from Anchovy Bandit, coffee by Mischief Brew, cheese from Section 28, chocolate from Steven Ter Horst (including chocolates made from some of the showcased wines).

“Thankfully I’ve got a lot of help. Tyler [Grace Austin]’s a whiz with pairings. The sideshows she’s developing are going to be absolute magic,” James says.

Due to the Stag’s hotel licence, bottle sales of all participating wineries can be made through the Big Easy Drinks, who will have a bottle shop set up for the day.

Wine chats



Winemaker Lineup

Charlotte Dalton
David Franz
Frederick Stevenson
Good Intentions
Murdoch Hill
Ochota Barrels
The Stoke
Unico Zelo

Architects of Wine
Basket Range
BK Wines
Brash Higgins
Eden Flo
Fall From Grace
Gentle Folk
Les Fruits
Slow Lane
The Mysterious Mr Black
Tom Shobbrook
Worlds Apart

As in previous editions of Wine Playground, there will be forums, in which attending winemakers will discuss the current state of the industry and winemaking craft.

“We’re trying to recapture the energy from our very first event in 2016, that very much felt like a little backyard jam,” James says.

“I feel like this period of isolation, this period that we’ve gone through, it’s given me the ability to strip it all back and hone into the original values, to hone in on the things that made those experiences so rich.

“One thing that we have maintained quite rigidly over the last four years is that this is strictly a winemaker-focussed experience. You’re not talking with reps or stand-ins; it’s you, the winemaker, and their delicious wines.”

Saturday will see Adelina, Charlotte Dalton, David Franz, Delinquente, Frederick Stevenson, Good Intentions, Harrison, Jauma, Koerner, Moorak, Murdoch Hill, Ochota Barrels, Scintilla, Smallfry, Somos, The Stoke, Unico Zelo and Year Wines in attendance.

On Sunday, there will be pours available from Aphelion, Architects of Wine, Basket Range, BK Wines, Brash Higgins, CRFT, Eden Flo, Fall From Grace, Gentle Folk, Les Fruits, Sigurd, Slow Lane, Poppelvej, The Mysterious Mr Black, Tom Shobbrook, Vanguardist, VHS and Worlds Apart.

Tickets for Wine Playground ADL 2020 went on sale on Wednesday, 24 May. There were 150 tickets total allocated to each day, with Saturday selling out within 48 hours. Tickets to the Sunday session are still available.

There are two levels of experience on offer: the $65 pass gets you entry to the event, access to the forums, tastings throughout the day, and a nifty stemless The Fruitful Pursuit glass. For an extra $10, the ultra pass will also get you half the price of a pizza on the day, $10 off any bottle shop purchase (for have-in or takeaway), and a 20 per cent off voucher for a direct online purchase following the event.

There will also be a raffle, with proceeds going to Adelaide Hills fire relief.

“Sadly I was unable at the time that the bushfires hit hard to do anything of substance,” James says. “The need is still there. I feel like this is a great opportunity to be raising money for the growers who were affected.”

Key to this edition of Wine Playground coming together, given the current coronavirus restrictions, has been finding a suitably sized venue.

“We wouldn’t be able to do it if it wasn’t for the venue that we’ve landed. We’ve got a massive space to work with and a very, very supportive team,” he says.

“It’s a very large venue with a number of rooms, and we’re going to space it out as best we can to avoid any bottlenecking or people bunching up.”

The Fruitful Pursuit team will be monitoring the restrictions as they continue to shift, and in the event that a change in the rules means a larger event could take place, James sought a pledge from the winemakers that they’re happy for the date to shift – within reason.

In such a case, refunds will be available to ticketholders, but he hopes that, as in his own case, people will just be happy to have something scheduled in their diary.

“If my experience is like many others, who connect socially in the way that I do… I just want to give people something to look forward to,” he says.

“And this is something that, as a community, we can all look forward to – producers and consumers alike.”

Purchase your Wine Playground ADL 2020 ticket here. And keep time aside in your diary for the “unofficially official” afterparty on Sunday night at Hellbound.

Share —