Hot in the city

Heading north to Queensland for sun, sand and Christmas, I decided to precede the festive indulgence with some indulgent food and wines at a city winery, called City Winery. Yep a winery in the city.

Quoi ? Ok there weren’t any vines, and I didn’t see a grape, but situated just shy of inner city Brisbane, City Winery does make its own wine on site, calling itself a ‘micro-winery’ in a style that appears to be inspired by the plethora of microbreweries that seem all the rage in Australia. Family run, it sources its grapes from all over the country and styles them into wine that they serve and sell on site. Some of them were sitting in the barrels along the walls just behind us, even though the room temperature must have been at least 22 degrees.

We were served by one of the family members who passionately explained the history of the wine making, (though he couldn’t explain the temperature question re the barrels)…He did explain, however, the concept behind their signature ‘Knock Off’ wine. In true Australian ‘no rules’ style, this wine was the top selection of five different wines that were made by their non wine-making staff by blending whatever of their wines they wanted. They then all voted on the best, and that one made it to menu. I wasn’t convinced, I admit, by the result, perhaps it came from one of the barrels behind me, but they win gold stars for creating a collaborative and inclusive place to work!

The food was impressive, a tantalising selection of tapas style sharing plates simple ‘sides’ such as bread and butter or broccoli actually being quite sophisticated delights. It wasn’t hard to choose and everything was delicious. Harder, however, was choosing the wine so I indulged in trying a good many of them, including a fruity, floral fiano from Victoria, a light and simple chardonnay from Margaret River and of course the no rules ‘Knock Off’ before settling on a slightly creamy and citrusy pinot gris from Adelaide Hills. It started off light and pleasant and really came alive with the food, so much so that I soon forgot about the barrels.

With a humid, subtropical climate, it is hard to believe that Brisbane did actually have vines once upon a time, some 350 acres of them in the 1800s. City Winery was thus inspired by one of the early vintners who had the idea that he could source better grapes elsewhere, but make them onsite for his local clientele. I didn’t ask where he kept his barrels, perhaps things were cooler in those days!