Pinot Palooza is a special event because the big boys and small fry (like us!) stand side by side, all in celebration of the world's most noble grape. Then there's the vibe: it's a party, live bands super cool DJs; artisanal food stalls; and thousands of Pinot drinkers (and winemakers) having a darn good time!
It's the rock star of all wine tasting events.
While not all winemakers enjoy this level of energy at tasting events, for us it provided a fantastic environment to meaningfully engage with people who love to drink Pinot Noir, and who also, for the most part, had no idea the variety was even made in Western Australia!
We were an unknown entity to these people and that generated a healthy amount of intrigue about our wine and our story.
Only one of two labels representing WA, Below & Above was well received by Pinot punters, sommeliers and wine writers in equal measure. The tasting queue was tightly packed and on some occasions four deep, and the consensus from discerning and sessional Pinot drinkers was that our 2013 and 2014 Pinot Noir was well and truly up there with the big guys in town. A huge compliment considering the calibre of east coast Pinot represented! We did the West proud!
"Small scale wines that can hold their own well above their weight division," according to author and sommelier Chris Morrison (@thewinebite).
"One to watch. There isn't heaps of Pinot Noir grown in WA, but John and Kia are doing it right @pinotpalooza "
It was rewarding to find that people were also enamoured by our brand story (truffles below and vines above), and wine making philosophy: particularly, how we hold our wine back for optimal drinking.
We also had plenty of discussions about how climate affects the Pinot grape and final product, using our 2013 and 2014 vintages as an example.
It is safe to say that while WA Pinot Noir might not have been front of mind for many east coast consumers when they arrived at the event, they left with a new perspective on what is achieved out west.
A wholly successful trip! John and I had a fantastic time being immersed in the wonderful world of Pinot Noir. Huge thanks to Dan Sims and the team at Pinot Palooza for having us, and we will see you again next year (with our coveted 2014 stock!).