EAST END WINE DOWN: An Amateur’s Review

When I say ‘amateur’, I am, of course, referring to my knowledge and prowess when it comes to wine; in fact, I misspelt ‘Riesling’ every time on the first draft of this piece. However, on Saturday 19th March, for a small fee, I— alongside a buzzing crowd of punters keen to wet their whistles — had the chance to feel like a true sommelier for a day.

The event, hosted on Vardon Avenue — let’s be honest, most of us just think of it as an extension of Ebenezer Place — ran from 12, midday, until 6pm and showcased some of the finest wine that South Australia has to offer. Arriving fashionably late at around 2:30pm, the fourth East End Wine Down was already in full swing, Vardon Avenue abuzz with music and hubbub all the way down the AstroTurf-covered lane.

There were dozens of local wineries present, each with their own stall and selection of whites, reds and sumptuous pinks, and among these businesses were household names like D’Arenberg and Three Dark Horses. The EEWD (the name gets a little tiresome on the palate after a few hours of vino), however, was not simply an opportunity for the recognised elites of the South Aussie grape to come out and beat their chests; it was also an opportunity for craft wineries and start-ups to strut their stuff in front of some of the city’s best eating and drinking spots.

One such up-and-coming enterprise is Chaffey Bros. Wine Co.; Chaffey Bros. was certainly a stand-out on the day with their eye-catching labelling and aptly-named 2015 release of “This Is Not Your Grandma’s Riesling”. I spoke briefly to co-founder Daniel Chaffey Hartwig — at the time I was unaware I was speaking to the very man behind the wine — as he bravely manned the stall himself, on the subject of the company’s wine labels which have been described as “avant-garde”. I mentioned in passing that the labels were novel and bright and that the winery must have a fantastic marketing team. The winemaker responded quite to the contrary: “We don’t have a marketing division,” he laughed, “it’s just a team of three of us with way too much time on our hands.” It must not go without mentioning that “This Is Not Your Grandma’s Riesling” was also one of the stand-out whites in terms of taste, texture and its refreshing dryness – there we go, I’ve actually mentioned the wine itself.

Other personal favourites from the EEWD included both the Langmeil Riesling and the Two Hands Riesling; I think it’s safe to say I enjoy a dry, crisp white. As for the pinks, I’m not much of a sweet tooth, and reds… I might leave that for the experts.

This recount would not be complete without mentioning the exquisite street-food on offer from local businesses including Vardon Avenue residents Mothervine and NOLA. The cuisine completed the perfect Saturday afternoon — despite a few threatening-looking clouds — filled well above the pour line with good vibes, fine friends and wonderful wine.


Image: East End Cellars

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