The winery music festival format is huge right now, and it’s easy to see why. According to Grapevine Gathering’s Xander Speight, it’s because punters get the best of both worlds. “You get to sample some incredible wines and you can see some amazing Australian and international artists. It’s definitely more of an experience than your average music festival,” says Speight.
This October, Grapevine Gathering will descend on five different wineries across Australia, bringing with it legacy acts and up-and-coming artists, along with a huge selection of wine styles at each stop. So the question is: which wine goes with which act? According to Speight, there’s a formula. “You think about the overall energy of the artist and the energy of the wine and then it’s all open to your own interpretation,” he says. Luckily, Speight has provided us with a few of his personal favourite artist-and-wine combos on offer at this year’s Grapevine.
Vanessa Amorosi and prosecco
Vanessa Amorosi is still going strong (her 2022 album City of Angels was nominated for an ARIA), and for those of us of a certain vintage, there’s a big nostalgia factor. “I’m very much looking forward to seeing Vanessa Amorosi sing Absolutely Everybody,” says Speight. “It’s going to be the moment of the festival, very euphoric.” To match Amorosi’s sparkling hits, Speight reckons prosecco will be just right. “Prosecco is the ultimate party drink and I think Vanessa is going to be one of the party moments of Grapevine Gathering,” he says.
Spacey Jane and sauvignon blanc
Indie rockers Spacey Jane are pretty much the sauvignon blanc of the music world: they’re easygoing, popular with most and a hardwired link to summer. “Every single time I’ve seen Spacey Jane live it’s been a bit of a sun-kissed moment and I think that stands true, no matter what the weather is,” says Speight. “I think a nice, light, refreshing savvy B will go down a treat while they get you in your feels and equally make you want to dance.”
The Wombats and pinot noir
“The Wombats is going to be a pinch-yourself moment – they’re going to have you dancing among the vines until you can’t feel your feet,” says Speight. Indie veterans the Wombats have been doing their thing for 20 years now and, naturally, have developed since those heady days of Let’s Dance to Joy Division. While they’re slicing through their two-decade back catalogue, Speight suggests a classic, light red wine as the ideal choice. “They would be best accompanied by a pinot noir – a nice, mature wine for a mature band to match their bold and catchy classics,” he says.
Hayden James and a chilled red
Hayden James has built a sound on snappy synths and crisp beats that is built for these big festival dates – and is only made better with a glass in hand. “He is, without a doubt, an iconic Australian artist,” says Speight. “He has countless hits and, after soundtracking 10 years, Hayden is still popping off.” If you had to pick a wine to pair with Hayden James, something equally snappy and crisp ought to do it. “I would say, experience him live with a refreshing and sweet chilled red,” says Speight. “Light and on-trend like Hayden.”
Cannons and rosé
Los Angeles trio Cannons are all about those soft-and-swirly synths that give everything a hazy, late-afternoon quality. “The blissful sounds of Cannons will be the perfect accompaniment to the stunning backdrops to all of the wineries,” says Speight. Cannons want you to dance, sure, but you can be relaxed while doing it – ideally with a chilled rosé in hand. “Light and refreshing again, I think the Cannons will transport you to – I’m going to say it – to ‘cloud wine’.”
Grapevine Gathering is on across Australia from October 7 – 22 visiting Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales and Western Australia. Find out more and book your tickets here.
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