Dan's Blog


Friday, February 02, 2018

Over the last year or so I have mentioned a few vineyards and wineries that are located within major cities. Here are a couple of established ones plus a “newbie” in the making.

AUSTRALIAN CITY WINERIES – I have mentioned before that in this day and age we have some wineries working and thriving with some of our major cities, such as in:

SYDNEY:  The first one was the Urban Winery Sydney – as I have written before, this venture was set up by winemaker Alex Ratief, around three years ago. It is located in Precinct 75 (Suite 6.01) at 75 Mary Street, St Peters and is not only a working winery, but also is a cellar door and bar. The bar which is open Thursday to Sunday has a wide range of boutique regional providor food items which are available on their charcuterie and/or cheese platters that can accompany their handcrafted wines. Check it out at


MELBOURNE:  Melbourne has “Noisy Ritual” (NR) – People Powered Urban Winery. Located at 249 Lygon Street, Brunswick East, this venture was born in 2014 when one of the principals found a concrete fermenter under his house. For the first vintage the “three amigos” acquired half a tonne of Shiraz grapes, and the rest as they say “is history”. The word and interest spread so that they eventually moved to their current premises.  Membership to NR gives the member:

Three winemaking workshops – Crushing, Pressing & Bottling.

Three barrel tastings.

Six bottles of the finished wine from their batch, and

20% discount on all other NR wines.

The current NR range of wines available is as follows:

~ Noisy Ritual 2017 Sparkling Chardonnay

~ Noisy Ritual 2017 Pet Nat (Naturally Petulant – minimal winemaking intervention)

~ Noisy Ritual 2017 Pet Nat Rosé

~ Noisy Ritual 2017 King Valley Pinot Gris

~ Noisy Ritual 2017 Geelong Chardonnay

~ Noisy Ritual 2017 Rosé

~ Noisy Ritual 2016 Heathcote Sangiovese

~ Noisy Ritual 2016 Heathcote Shiraz

~ Noisy Ritual 2016 Great Western Shiraz

~ Noisy Ritual 2015 Sunbury Cabernet Merlot

The vintage 2017 wines were bottled at a bottling function (party?) on Sunday, November 19 – the event included a local band and a barbeque. Way to go!!


Whilst I haven’t had the chance to visit as yet, it sounds like a great venture worthy of support. Check it out at

URBAN VINEYARDS – Online wine retailer Cracka Wines has launched an initiative called “The Urban Vineyard Project”.  They will be giving people in Sydney and surrounds vine cuttings and encouraging them to grow either Pinot Noir or Riesling grapes at home (even on an apartment verandah) with a view to make wine from this “metropolitan vineyard” in due course. The aim is to give away thousands of cuttings to people who will be able go online and obtain information about growing and caring for their vines.

Although it will be around three years before the resultant wine can be made, it will be an interesting exercise and it should be fun to test drive the result.  and

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD: As I have mentioned in earlier blogs, there is a roof top vineyard in Brooklyn, where the vines grow in pots, a winery in Hong Kong (but no vines as they ship in frozen grape juice from Australia and Chile) and there is also a small vineyard in the suburbs of Berlin that was re-planted with donated vines during the height of the “Cold War”.

You have to give all of these enterprises an A+ for effort and an A+ for keenness, but probably not for practicality.

Cheers and enjoy great wines no matter where they come from! But, how cool would it be to be able to enjoy a glass of Sydney Pinot Noir in a few years’ time?

BY THE WAY: Last week I asked if or what you knew about Furmint. Well, it is a white grape variety that is native to Hungary where it not only makes elegant, graceful, single variety white wines, but it is also the principal variety in the making of Hungary’s world-renowned Tokaji sweet wines. These range from mildly sweet through to insanely sweet and are one of the world’s great dessert wines. Did you know that?


Recently, while taking an interstate friend around McLaren Vale, I dropped in to Wirra Wirra and re-acquainted myself with its ESPERANZA (translation: Hope/Expectancy in Spanish) Wine range. 

There are three wines in the range so far and they really stand out on the shelf as you can see from the attached images.


The first wine was the ESPERANZA 2016 MONASTRELL (Mourvedre):  Monastrell is a Spanish red variety that is often used in blends over there and less often as a straight varietal, except in the DOC of Yecla where they make sensational varietal Monastrell – really worth seeking out. 

This wine has a light, bright red colour, alluring rose petal and cherry aromas, with crisp, tight, refreshing flavours and a clean, lingering, tight finish. It is a great tapas wine now which will develop over the next year or two.


Next was the ESPERANZA 2016 TEMPRANILLO:  Tempranillo is the mainstay of the Spanish wine industry, like Shiraz is of ours.

This wine has a medium-depth of attractive red colour, elegant varietal aromas and vibrant, racy varietal flavours on its mid-weight palate. It is zippy and yet elegant – a very attractive wine.

And finally, the ESPERANZA 2016 TOURIGA:  Touriga (National) is my favourite Portuguese Emerging variety wine. Used mainly for making fortified wines and more recently it has started to be used to make delicious table wines, both varietal and in blends. 

This wine has bright, medium-depth colour, gorgeous, enticing, big aromas and a lovely fruity but yet tight palate with a finish that leaves the palate asking for more, of this delectable wine – very moreish!

Whilst not as deep and concentrated as some other Aussie Touriga I have tried, this is a brilliant, easy to drink, “every day” wine that really makes the palate sit up and savour it. YUM!


Three great wines that once again show how well Australia can do Mediterranean varieties in our sun drenched climate. Thanks Wirra Wirra – A great job!!!