250+ wines, 80+ wineries and 30+ regions. Want our advice?

We are but days away from the biggest Pinot Palooza events of the tour in Melbourne & Sydney, so we asked some of our favourite Somms for their advice on how to Pinot Palooza.

With so many wines on tasting, it can all be a little overwhelming so we recommend thinking about it as you would a music festival. And like a music festival, there are always an array of ‘stages’ and styles for you to enjoy. It’s not a case of which is better, it’s a matter of what you like and feel like at that moment in time.

And moments in time are all about where you are, who you’re with and what you’re feeling.

So, think about it like this …

MAIN STAGE:

This is the headline act which you absolutely have to check out. If you haven’t heard of them, you soon will. This one’s a must.

VIP:

This is one you’ll cough up good dollars for.

FRINGE:

A little left field, alternative, unique, intriguing and captivating. Not mainstream and all the better for it.

EMERGING TALENT:

This is your new, up-and-coming Pinot artist, or one who’s undergone reinvention.

CHILL OUT ROOM:

Super chilled, easy going, relaxed and super lo-fi.

DANCE TENT:

Wines that are bright, fun and make you want to move.

Here are your hot tips on who to seek come game day!

For the full wine lists for both cities, see the links below. Yep, over 250 in each city. EPIC!

MELBOURNE

ANDREW JOY, Carlton Wine Room (Melbourne)

Main Stage: ​Moondarra (Gippsland, Vic) – Neal is a legend and will twist you brain
VIP: ​Rippon ‘Mature Vines’ (Central Otago, NZ) – pure, precise, fancy!
Fringe: ​Journey (Yarra Valley, Vic)
Emerging Talent: Onannon (Gippsland & Mornington Peninsula, Vic) – emerging with good backing
Chill Out Room: ​Eastern Peak (Ballarat, Vic) – An amazing story and he’s kind of my neighbour
Dance Tent: ​Corofin – I like to waltz

LEANNE ALTMANN, Beverage Director, Supernormal, et al (Melbourne)

“How do I Pinot? In every way I possibly can. Classic Pinot. Emerging Pinot. Cerebral Pinot. Smashable Pinot. And I Pinot via champagne. Lots of champagne.”

Main Stage: ​Rippon (Central Otago, NZ)
VIP: ​Burn Cottage (Central Otago, NZ)
Fringe: ​Eastern Peake (Ballarat, Vic)
Emerging Talent: Dirty Three (Gippsland, Vic)
Chill Out Room: ​Stoney Rise (Tasmania)
Dance Tent: ​Onannon (Gippsland & Mornington Peninsula, Vic)

Thomas Cumming, Marion (Marion)

Main Stage: Giant Steps (Yarra Valley, Vic) & Eastern Peake (Ballarat, Vic) – Its a double feature. This is the Pinot Big Day Out after all!
VIP: Charteris (Central Otago, NZ)
Fringe: Onannon (Gippsland, VIC) – Gippsland Pinot all the way!
Chill Out Room: Quealy (Mornington Peninsula, Vic)
Dance Tent: Fleet (Gippsland, VIC) & Journey (Yarra Valley, Vic) – Because we love to dance!

ELEANOR ASH, The Recreation (Melbourne)

Main Stage: Shaw & Smith (Adelaide Hills, SA)
VIP: Burn Cottage (Central Otago, NZ)
Fringe: Vinteloper (Adelaide Hills, SA)
Emerging talent: Dirty Three (Gippsland, VIC)
Chill out Room: Moondarra (Gippsland, VIC)
Dance Tent: Schmoltzer and Brown  (Beechworth, VIC)

GAVING CREMMING, Head Sommelier – Stokehouse (Melbourne)

“Firstly, what’s not to love here? Something that’s as pretty and fresh as this deserves to be held, cared for, nurtured and rubbed (maybe drunk at some point also). Besides being the holy grail of great French wine, we now have the luxury of seeing this pedigree grape done right a lot closer to home. All over Australia and NZ Pinot producers are making internationally recognised bangers. The pure diversity of winemaking styles and the freedom to be able to experiment with the creative side of production puts us in a very unique position. What a time to be alive!”

Main Stage: Burn Cottage (Central Otago, NZ)
VIP: Onannon (Gippsland & Mornington Peninsula, Vic)
Fringe: Moondarra (Gippsland, Vic)
Emerging Talent: Shmoltzer & Brown (Beechworth, Vic)
Chill Out Room: Eastern Peake (Ballarat, Vic)
Dance Tent: Quealy (Mornington Peninsula, Vic)

JENNA PHILLPOTT, Sommelier – Dinner by Heston (Melbourne)

Main Stage: Schmolzer & Brown (Beechworth, Vic)
VIP: Rippon (Central Otago, NZ)
Fringe: Noisy Ritual (Sunbury, Vic)
Emerging Talent: Dirty Three (Gippsland, Vic)
Chill Out Room: Oakdene (Geelong, Vic)
Dance Tent: Moondarra (Gippsland, Vic)

SARAH LAWLER, Sommelier

I can Pinot almost any time of day, with friends or just indulging on my own. With its bright acidity, silky seductive tannins and array of red, blue and purple fruits Pinot Noir is the perfect glass of wine. A soft supple glass with some roast Chicken, a racy bright glass with cold meat and cheese, it is sheer perfection. Not to mention it can be made into Champagne! My absolute happy place.

Main Stage: Oakridge (Yarra Valley VIC)
VIP: Rippon (Central Otago, NZ)
Fringe: Vinteloper (Adelaide Hills, SA)
Emerging Talent: Schmoltzer and Brown (Beechworth VIC)
Chill Out Room: Craggy Range (Matinborough NZ)
Dance Tent: Onannon (Mornington Pen/Gippsland VIC)

SYDNEY

GABRIELLE WEBSTER, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar – Head Sommelier (Sydney)

How do I pinot? If I could, I’d pinot every day. I solo Pinot and I drink Pinot with friends. I often pinot before, during and after dinner. Last night I even pinot-ed in the shower..”

Main Stage: Sailor Seeks Horse (Tasmania)
VIP: Tolpuddle (Tasmania)
Fringe: Burn Cottage (Central Otago, NZ)
Emerging Talent: Meadowbank (Tasmania)
Chill Out Room: Moorooduc Estate (Mornington Peninsula, Vic)
Dance Tent: Stoney Rise (Tasmania)

ALEX KIRKWOOD, Head Sommelier – Aria (Sydney) 

“Pinot is definitely my main squeeze in the vinos world. With such an addictive personality it’s hard not to be drawn into the allure, charm and sometimes mysterious complexity of Pinot. Many of the great personalities in winemaking are intertwined with the grape and fair to say the growing and production has the potential to send one slightly kooky. Thankfully normal is boring. Loads to see here. Enjoy the ride!

Main Stage: Rippon (Central Otago, NZ) – This is the headline act which you absolutely have to check out. If you haven’t heard of them, you soon will. This one’s a must.
VIP: Tolpuddle/ Shaw and Smith (Tasmania & Adelaide Hills) – This is one you’ll cough up good dollars for.
Fringe: Moondarra (Gippsland, Vic) – A little left field, alternative, unique, intriguing and captivating. Not mainstream and all the better for it.
Emerging Talent: Meadowbank (Tasmania) – This is your new, up-and-coming Pinot artist, or one who’s undergone reinvention.
Chill Out Room: Giant Steps (Yarra Valley, Vic) – Super chilled, easy going, relaxed and super lo-fi.
Dance Tent: Stoney Rise/ Holyman (Tasmania) – Wines that are bright, fun and make you want to move.

SEAMUS BRANDT, Assistant Head Sommelier – Quay (Sydney)

Main Stage: Akitu (Central Otago, NZ) & Stoney Rise / Holyman (Tasmania)
VIP: Rippon (Central Otago, NZ)
Fringe: Sailor Seeks Horse (Tasmania)
Emerging Talent: The Boneline (North Canterbury, NZ)
Chill Out Room: Golden Child (Adelaide Hills, SA)
Dance Tent: Vinteloper (Adelaide Hills, SA)

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