If it wasn’t for having to travel a long distance, most of us would probably visit cellar doors and wineries more regularly, for both the interior style and the wine. The wine maker behind the wine label A.Retief, Alex Retief, is saving you the trouble of having to travel by bringing the winery to you. Retief wants people from Sydney to appreciate the wines from NSW more.
Urban Winery Sydney is a new business venture and it is now Australia’s first large winery in a city. In the Bordeaux region in France, a cultural immersion and winemaking stint was the inspiration for this idea. Retief states that “everyone had that knowledge and passion for wine, whether they were in the industry or not,” and he then came to realise that the people in NSW didn’t share the same mentality and that drove Retief to want to make a change.
One of the main missions that the Urban Winery Sydney faces is to boost NSW’s reputation for quality wines that stand up to their competitors in Victoria and South Australia. It is known that people who live in Victoria usually drink wines from the local wineries in the Yarra Valley, and the people who live in South Australia drink South Australian wines. But the frustrating thing for Retief is that the people of NSW’s drink wines from Victoria and South Australia and not their local wines from NSW.
They are working towards changing that mentality of the population in NSW and of the 14 growing wine regions in NSW, the ones that people really only think of are the Riverina and Hunter Valley regions. However, Retief is proving that the smaller regions producing wine throughout the state are very capable of making great wines, including his hometown of Gundagai.
At the Urban Winery Sydney, Retief will be basing his wine tasting around the fact that grape variety can differ from region to region and how and why that is so. “I’ll be showing other people’s wines as well, almost like a NSW wine centre. You can buy a flight of five wines, one of which will be mine, shown against four others from different regions to see how the growing conditions affect the wine,” he states.
The winery will call the newly revived Precinct 75 ‘home’. The Precinct 75 is well known as a creative hub for very unique businesses, such as Sample Coffee and Willie the Boatman. The interior design of the industrial space allows for heaps of natural light that shines on the resting barrels leaving a nice warm feeling throughout the building. Retief says how the building reminds him of the wineries in Bordeaux with the big concrete walls.
There are daily winery tours that are available and they usually take one-to-two hours. You also have the opportunity to sign up to a wine-blending masterclass. Each group will try five different barrel samples before they get the opportunity to blend their own wine. They will then go on to participate in a blind tasting of everyone’s blend. The winner of the blind tasting competitions will receive a dozen bottles of their own wine as the prize. Retief talks about how it will bring a very fun and a bit of a competitive twist to the process of wine learning.
With this new business venture starting up, hopefully it wont be long until the local wines of NSW can start competing with the South Australian and Yarra Valley wineries