Down an inauspicious laneway off the gritty end of Flinders Street, enter a world where ancient river stones crunch underfoot and the ripple of a mountain stream fills your ears. Shadows dance while bubbles swirl in the air – and there’s a glass of aromatic sauvignon blanc waiting at the bar.
Welcome to The Stoneleigh Project, a pop-up wine bar and cellar door that aims to evoke the terroir of Stoneleigh’s vineyard in New Zealand’s Marlborough winemaking region, and celebrate the wild-fermentation winemaking process.
- The Stoneleigh Project
- 524 Flinders Street, Melbourne
- Open until November 5, weekdays 4-10pm. Weekends noon-10pm
- Entry free, registration recommended
Wild-fermented wines are a passion project for Stoneleigh’s chief winemaker Jamie Marfell. Made according to principles similar to that of sourdough bread, the wines rely on naturally occurring airborne yeasts to activate the fermentation process that turns the juice from crushed grapes into wine.
The process is wildly unpredictable and can take three to four months – compared to three to four weeks with conventional fermentation – but produces wines of great complexity and textural depth, such as Stoneleigh’s 2016 Wild Valley sauvignon blanc.
Jamie hopes the Melbourne pop-up will expose more wine lovers to the wines’ distinctive personality. After exploring a series of installations created by Berlin artist Susi Sie, evoking the river stones, sunshine and wild yeasts that characterise Stoneleigh’s vineyard, visitors can sit at the bar and compare the winery’s Wild Valley wild ferment sauvignon blanc and pinot noir with its regular wines.
- Related: Raise a glass to skin-contact wines
- Related: Cuisine with a story at Attica
- Related: Glen Moray distillery celebrates 120 years