Wine Playground is a Worthy Pursuit

With a goal to make wine more accessible, James Hopkins and his team from The Fruitful Pursuit have been curating unique wine tours to the state’s wine regions. After officially launching The Fruitful Pursuit at Tasting Australia with the event Wine Playground in May, now comes the CBD edition.

South Australia’s wine scene has been energised by young winemakers pushing alternative styles. Twenty-six of these next generation winemakers along with food producers will gather for Wine Playground, a one-day event featuring 80 limited-release wines be held at a secret CBD location on Saturday, September 10.

Wine Playground will feature forums as well as tastings, and panels will discuss topics such as the future of Australian wine, the regions and the emergence of new wines and styles. Hopkins says Wine Playground operates on the same intimate ethos as his wine tours.

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“It’s about creating an accessible and fun platform,” he says. “It’s not about getting pissed; it’s more about presenting an opportunity to learn about the wines that you might enjoy.”

For Hopkins, it’s important to respect the past while enjoying the new guard of wines. The Fruitful Pursuit grew from a Facebook group, The Fruitful 500, which catered for mainly hospitality workers who wanted to learn and discover this state’s wines; go on tours where they could go behind the scenes to learn from winemakers and producers and have unique cellar door experiences.

He believes this kind of curated wine tour is the future. “The reason you have a cellar door, from a winemaker’s perspective, is that it’s effectively like inviting people into your home to try your product.

Yes, it is free but when you grow up with something good in abundance you’re likely to take it for granted. Coming from interstate, I’ve never taken it for granted. I’ve always observed how special and unique it is. I think it is redefining a model on how people want to connect with wine.”

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Hopkins admits The Fruitful Pursuit was in the right place at the right time. “Winemakers and owners are trying to do unique things,” he says. “We are so aware of what we’re consuming these days.

Personally, I don’t drink a wine where I don’t know the story behind it anymore. In saying that, I’m biased towards South Australian booze because I know what they’re about, what I’m drinking and gather that sense of honesty from their craftsmanship. Whereas with foreign wine, I need to hear their story from someone.

I need someone to introduce me to it and to explain what it is about it that makes it unique. I think that’s how people consume things these days.” With The Fruitful Pursuit and Wine Playground, Hopkins says it’s about giving back to South Australia’s culture.

“It just focuses on how blessed we are here. I don’t understand why we’re not screaming [about our wine industry] from the hilltops. I think it should be celebrated. We’re trying to build that culture and get people enthusiastic about what it is that defines us.”

Wine Playground Secret location Saturday, September 10, 1pm-5pm thefruitfulpursuit.com

Tickets to Wine Playground are now sold out, but limited tickets will be available on the door Photos: Jonathan van der Knaap