Adelaide will be crawling with 1,300 tech-heads in sleeveless vests with monogrammed winery names in July, relieved to be in from the sticks for a while to soak up the city vibe and stare up at all the tall buildings, their mouths wide open and AWITC satchels slung over their shoulder.
This event is so timely: we could all do with five days away from work and four nights on the piss on the boss. Don’t forget to send him or her a one-page summary on the back of an envelope when you return home.
We all need to catch up as an industry – not for boring shit like an update on the mystery compound responsible for the black pepper aroma in Shiraz, but to simply talk to one another. We need a big group hug. We need to let off steam, moan about tax and talk about what a shame it is that Morris is closing over a Bobo cordial and Yo-Yo biscuit.
If you’re coming to Adelaide and haven’t been here for a while, you’ll be shocked. White utes with portable steps no longer drive onto the tarmac to help you off the Ansett.
Adelaide is all grown up. When the Technical Conference was last held here six years ago, our recommendations for things to do for delegates on their day off included a ride on Popeye in the morning followed by a ride on Popeye in the afternoon. Move over sailor man! Wine bars, cafés and restaurants with retro bikes out the front and fresh flowers in the basket on the handlebars are popping up like bar graphs in an AWRI PowerPoint.
Adelaide is one of the world’s great wine cities and after 220 years it’s finally starting to look like one. A happy winemaker told me this week, “If you drive along Greenhill Road, half the offices are for lease or for sale, the economy is shaky, but food and wine is going gangbusters. We’re very lucky.”
For great coffee, colour, character and chaos, visit our second office, Lucia’s in the Adelaide Central Market. For a bit of Sydney, head to 2KW on King William Street. It’s owned by Ed Peter, a Wine Australia board member. Word has it he doesn’t just own the restaurant, he owns the whole bloody building. Blimey, how rich is this guy? On the ground floor is Jamie’s Italian, part of the Keystone Hospitality Group which is now in receivership. A mess.
A copy of WBM will be in your satchel. The cover boy is Chris Tyrrell (although he doesn’t know that yet). Welcome to the new Adelaide. Go hard or go home.
Flashback to the 2013 Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference. You’d expect this in Sydney; boring joint. Watch Adelaide turn it on and keep you awake!