Fermentation: it’s a hot topic right now. But it’s not all kimchi and kombucha. The F-word is at the core of winemaking, too. And urban winery Noisy Ritual are creating a Pop-Up Fermentation Bar that will demystify how grapes are turned into wine.
“It’s called a fermentation bar because any time people drop in there’ll be a bunch of wines fermenting away,” says Cam Nicol, one of the co-founders of Noisy Ritual. “They’ll be able to taste a few wines and see what’s going on.”
The bar in Victoria Harbour, on the edge of the Melbourne CBD, will run for 10 days during the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival and offer everything from workshops to tasting flights.
Demystifying the winemaking process is a passion of Nicol and fellow founder Alex Byrne. Their winery's grape-stomping sessions that happen at the former warehouse they converted into a working winery and bar on Brunswick’s Lygon Street have become something of a signature. Anyone is encouraged to get their hands (or should we say feet) dirty. And it’ll be no different down in Victoria Harbour, one of Docklands' fast-growing waterfront precincts, where the Noisy Ritual crew are hard at work creating a smaller-scale version of their Brunswick digs as part of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival.
“The idea is to showcase what we do to a broader audience and to show people that might not be familiar with Vic[toria] Harbor that there are some things going on down there.”
Stroll into the pop-up space between 20 and 30 March and you might find friends chatting over glasses of pet-nat and charcuterie by Saluministi, people de-stemming grapes, or groups peering at glass-fronted oak barrels containing wine that’s mid-ferment. Depending on how enthusiastic you are about wine, you can decide on how hands-on you want to get. On Saturdays, there are workshops where you get to work with a batch of wine and perform the key steps that turn grape juice into a refined product.
You’ll start by tasting the fruit and then taking part in de-mogging, which is a Harry Potter-esque name for the process of removing anything that’s not a grape (MOG stands for material other than grapes). Then you get to have your Instagram moment of squishing grapes between your feet before trying some of the wines that are at different stages of fermentation.
“At its heart, it can be a very simple and fun process,” Nicol says. “And people are kind of blown away by how quickly the fermentation happens.”
Those who are super-keen can have a sneak peek of the pop-up the night before it opens at a Crawl n Bite through Victoria Harbour, which takes in three venues that prize the artisan and handmade: Kep Whitley chocolatier, cured meat masters Saluministi and the Noisy Ritual space.
Tickets for the Victoria Harbour Crawl n Bite and Demystifying Winemaking with Noisy Ritual workshops are on sale now. The bar is also open to walk-ins.
Shop 1, 889 Collins Street, Victoria Harbour, Wednesday 4pm-9pm, Thursday and Friday noon-10pm, Saturday 4pm-10pm. Open 20-30 March 2019.
Crawl n Bite is supported by Victoria Harbour.
By Emma Breheny