Buying natty wines 'off the back of a truck' is the novel premise which disguises the meaningful purpose behind the Ute Boot Sale at Sunny's Pizza this weekend.
Sophie Button is late to join her friend / now-distributor of Commune of Buttons wine, Jay Marinis for our interview. She arrives with a huge smile and a sheen across her brow that is commonplace during the South Australian summer.
“You didn’t drive the ute!” Jay exclaims after we’re finished saying hello.
“Bugger that – the ute has no air-conditioning, I’m not driving that hot hunk of metal down the hill on a 45 degree day,” says Sophie.
Jay is launching his wine distribution business Son of Dot, this Sunday in the car park opposite Sunny’s on Solomon Street. He’s calling the event a Ute Boot Sale and its premise is to a) introduce his business and the list of winemakers he’s now representing and b) create an informal atmosphere for people to try wine and ask questions of the people who make it.
“There’s still a lot of unknowns about natural wine,” says Jay.
Son of Dot will be the distributor for Basket Range Wines, Commune of Buttons, Limus Wines, Little Things and Travis Tausend – all organic producers who fit firmly in the natural wine category.
“The Ute Boot Sale is really just a community event, a chance for the winemakers – some of which are grape growers and farmers – to pour their wine and answer questions and connect with people who have an interest in what they’re doing,” says Jay.
For Sophie and her brother Jasper who make Commune of Buttons, this sort of event really fits their needs.
“We don’t have a cellar door, so this gives us a chance to connect to people wanting to meet us, to know more about what we do and why we do it,” says Sophie.
And while the carpark in front of Sunny’s Pizza on Solomon Street isn’t the architectural marvel of some cellar doors, it’s also a space that cuts out a lot of the pretension that can seep into wine.
“At some cellar doors they’ll tell you what to taste,” says Sophie. “Seriously – the attitude at some cellar doors is, ‘if you can’t taste plum in that then you can’t tell shit from clay!'”
Informal is the mantra and Sophie is keen to hear what drinkers think the wine tastes like or – better yet – if they reckon it tastes good or makes them happy.
Similarly, Jay says the Ute Boot Sale’s low-key aesthetic is intended to take away the pressure and make room for more meaningful conversations to take root.
“We’re concerned about the cotton in our t-shirts or the ingredients in our skin lotions but have no concern whatsoever about the litres of roundup soaking into the soil that feeds the fruit we put into our stomach – it’s crazy” Jay exclaims.
“I think I really started this business, working with my friends who make organic wine, because I’m passionate about regenerative farming, biodynamics and organics. Wine is this perfect vessel to strike up a conversation about these things,” says Jay.
“Terroir doesn’t just mean the dirt of a place, it’s you and me and us,” says Jay pointing to everyone sitting at the table.
“If we’re going to keep living on this giant floating rock [Earth], then we need to know more about sustainable farming about regenerative approaches to land management because we can’t keep on taking and taking the way we are,” says Jay.
Of course the Ute Boot Sale isn’t going to turn into a seminar on the subject of sustainability.
The Ute Boot Sale is going to be fun, it’s going to have some of the most refined and delicious examples of the zero-zero (organic, no sulphur added) wine from the Adelaide Hills, as well as produce from the Summertown Aristologist’s own kitchen garden, pizza and not pizza from the best in town and live music from the guy who co-owns Troppo – Alex Harris.
The beauty of the Ute Boot Sale is, just like a cellar door, you can pick up some booze at wholesale prices to take away, but then also – if you decide to party on at Sunny’s – Jay is happy to deliver it to your door and save you the hassle of lugging it home on the day.
It sounds very much like a perfect day in the city, so why not head down to Sunny’s for the Ute Boot Sale after visiting CBD & Vines at Electra House beforehand.