Published on 2 May 2022
Micah Hewitt is a butcher-turned-winemaker who is experimenting with piquettes and lesser known grape varieties. Making thoughtful-yet-easy-drinking wines out of his place in the Macedon Ranges, he’s passionate about growing and sourcing sustainably farmed grapes and championing the tastes and textures of the Central Victorian regions. His label Defialy (styled as DEFIALY: "don’t ever forget I’ll always love you”) may be new on the scene, but it’s appearing more and more in Melbourne’s best bottle shops and wine bars. Here, Hewitt tells us what he’s currently sipping on.
The last three delicious things I drank were an ice-cold Coopers Pale Ale in a frosty glass from The Kyneton Hotel on the way home from my vineyard on a 36-degree day. Every country town needs a great pub and this place is the best in the Macedon Ranges.
Next would have to be one of the new summer releases from North Wine; Etienne Mangier is a genius and a gentleman.
I also recently was lucky enough to snag a beautiful bottle of 2018 Jean Foillard Morgon Elles, made not by Jean but his wife Agnes, and her friend Nadine. This was a new discovery while eating a delicious dinner at Embla with my partner and some friends.
As far as I'm concerned, the defining place to get a drink in Victoria is...
That's a tough one – there's so many these days and the list is growing. If I'm in the city I can't go past Old Palm Liquor, Bar Liberty or Embla. If i'm around home then it's Musk Lane, Bar Merenda, Winespeake or The Surly Goat. Special mention for two of my other favourites in all of Victoria down in Geelong – La Cachette and Igni.
When someone hands me a wine list in a restaurant, I quickly order a beer or a vermouth then read from front to back whilst trying to make chit chat and not look like I'm making the hardest decision of my life.
The Victorian spirit I'm loving most right now is Saison Vermouth. Dave Verheul is killing it, I love his stuff.
There's no better value on wine list or in a bottle-shop in this state than some of the great small Victorian wine producers – Little Brunswick Wine Co, Beyond The Glass, Putabida and Pool Wines.
My favourite place to buy booze is…
I don't get into the city much but you can't beat Blackhearts & Sparrows and Act of Wine for their amazing range and how they support the local and not-so-local winemakers.
I'd love to see us planting more Italian and other grape varieties that are more suited to the Australian climate like pecorino, Greco, falanghina. The Chalmers family have pioneered bringing these varieties into Australia and they’re such delicious, amazing grapes to work with.
The best or most important change to the way we drink in Victoria in recent years has been the surge of small Victorian producers who are putting their hands up and saying “yep, I can have a crack at that”; pushing the boundaries and redefining what we drink and how it’s made, be it wine, beer or spirits. On the back of this is the acceptance and support from the general public for what's being produced, it works hand in hand, people are looking for more local products and it’s great to see an appetite for that.
For me, the most inspiring person in the Victorian drinks world is Tim Sproal from Minim. Tim, like myself, isn’t a formally trained winemaker, but has totally immersed himself in not just wine making but growing his own fruit sustainably and organically. He also happens to be a top bloke and has been there to offer advice and encouragement which means a lot to me.
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