A Noisy Ritual of winemaking at Vintage 2020

Say goodbye summer and hello autumn (aka wine making season) with Noisy Ritual! For the next six weeks, the urban winery is throwing open their doors and hosting some big, noisy celebrations to mark Vintage 2020. Local grapes from across Victoria are pouring into the Brunswick winery this time of year, ready to be stomped, fermented, and pressed. Noisy Ritual is inviting visitors to get in on the action, with winemaking workshops, harvest dinners, live music, grape stompings, and free tastings.

Noisy Ritual is built on the philosophy that wine should be relaxed, inclusive, and fun. And we love that their events give guests the unique opportunity to participate in the winemaking process, while getting their hands (and feet) dirty. The Plus Ones experienced the founders’ celebratory approach to winemaking first hand at Noisy Ritual’s Vintage 2020 opening night feast. 

Creators Cam Nicol and Alex Byrne teamed up with Israeli restaurant Mizon to host a big, communal party. In keeping with the harvest season theme, Noisy Ritual’s spacious venue was with decked out with wooden barrels and bunches and bunches and bunches of grapes. In addition to providing a colourful backdrop, we were also encouraged to taste the fruit that was about to become their 2020 Tempranillo. Noisy Ritual’s 2019 Pet Nat — a fun, fizzy rosé — welcomed us on arrival. It’s been compared to Campari & soda and was a fitting way to start an indulgent night of eating and drinking. I found my seat at one of the long communal tables and was greeted with thinly sliced vegetables topped with a drizzling of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt, which allowed the natural flavours to sing. 

While we were still enjoying our ‘aperitif’, five new bottles hit our table, ready for the main meal. There was a unique 2019 skin contact Sav Blanc, a complex white wine made using red wine techniques, and a more traditional crisp, clean Sauvignon Blanc. There was also a new 2019 rosé and Noisy Ritual’s Heathcote Shiraz — the only wine Noisy Ritual’s made every vintage since they began in 2014. Rounding out the quintet was my personal favourite, a juicy 2019 Tempranillo

Alex and Cam design their wines approachable and encouraged us to taste all the different bottles to discover which wines we personally preferred to pair with Mizon’s array of dishes. (Although they couldn’t resist suggesting, ‘try the shiraz with the lamb.’) Mizon’s meal was filled with dramatic, smoky flavours – from charred challah bread to blackened pumpkin to smoked eggplant. Their octopus sausages in sauerkraut casing were certainly a unique take on ‘sausage’, but proved to be some of the most tender, well-flavoured octopus I’ve had the pleasure of eating. Grilling the lamb shawarma added a touch of excitement with flames leaping up from the giant charcoal grill out back. But the aromatic meat arrived on the table with a perfectly pink middle and was quickly devoured (and washed down with the young shiraz). 

Mizon’s dinner was served in the same style as Noisy Ritual’s wines – in a relaxed, approachable manner that’s best enjoyed with friends. We also had the opportunity to ‘strip down’ and make new friends during the annual ritual grape stomping. As we all peeled off our socks, shoes, and various other below-the-belt garments to hop into a vat filled with grapes with a bunch of other enthusiastic strangers.

Noisy Ritual’s inclusive, social experience was a night to remember. Luckily, the celebrations are just getting started.

– Jenny
Jenny S. is an event adventurer. When she’s not attending live shows, you can find her sampling the latest craft beer or sipping a creative cocktail.
Noisy Ritual’s Vintage 2020 celebrations run 21 February – 5 April.
Events include:

Running 26 February to 3 April on Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays, 6pm-9.30pm

WINEMAKING TOURS – Tours are $20 which includes a drink on arrival (limited places)
26 February & 11 March, 6:30pm

TASTINGS – free entry
Wednesday-Friday from 5pm

4 March, 6.30pm-8.30pm

HARVEST DINNER – $120 including all food and wine
13 March, 7pm

LIVE MUSIC – free entry
18 March, doors 5pm, music from 8pm

OPEN HOUSE with MOVIDA – free Entry
29 March, 1pm

5 April, 3pm

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Zilla and Brook
Images provided by Zilla and Brook and The Plus Ones