Drinks, food, Lifestyle

publik wine fair is taking on joburg


Following a very successful inaugural Publik Wine Fair in Cape Town – Publik Wine is offering Joburg oenophiles and wine enthusiasts the chance to experience more than 100 lesser-known wines at the iconic Turbine Hall. Dedicated to finding and sharing wines from sustainably farmed vineyards and made with minimal intervention in the cellar, this artisan wine tasting is a unique chance to not only discover new wines, but meet the passionate winemakers creating them. A first for Johannesburg, we caught up with Publik owner David Cope for what to expect on 21 October.

being the first publik wine fair in joburg, what is the ultimate hope or intention?

There are so many great wines made by small, independent wine producers that consumers don't ever see, let alone enjoy. Publik Wine Fair is a showcase for these wines, often made in tiny volumes and from grape varieties the consumer won't find on the supermarket shelf. These wines offer incredible value and diverse flavours, and are generally made in a more natural method than the volume-driven wines in the market.

how different is the cape town wine consumer market and culture to joburg?

Cape Town has the luxury of being surrounded by Winelands, easy to access and always present for both locals and the big tourist market. There are many restaurants with great wine lists and more opportunity for people to be exposed to these artisan wines. Johannesburg is a larger market, but still driven by the commercial brands, so these limited-production, independent wines fit into a very small niche within the market.

There's a handful of good wine retailers and restaurants where the focus on wine is strong, but so much opportunity outside of that.

what are the sorts of wines, and unique cultivars, that people can look forward to?

Most of the wines are made with minimal intervention in the cellar, from grapes that are farmed sustainably. This means less additives and fresher, livelier wines you can drink more of. Cultivars like Durif, Gamay, Trincadeira, Roussanne, Grenache Gris, Clairette Blanche, Pinot Gris and more will be present. There are skin-contact wines, which are white wines made almost like red wine. Wines with no sulphur added. There are a lot of wines that people will never have heard of.

why the decision to team up with the winemakers you have chosen?

First and foremost is the quality of the wines, but just as important is how they are made. These are winemakers focused on both of these, meaning everything from how the grapes are grown to doing things right in the cellar. Many of them work with older vineyards that are almost laughably inefficient; a real passion project. And for many of them, that's exactly what this is. Several of these winemakers work for larger cellars full-time, with these wines being their side project.

what are some of the unusual wines included?

Yes, there's a lot of creative wine-producer names these days! Some of the brands being poured will be Thistle & Weed, Fram, Raised By Wolves, Scions of Sinai, Terracura and Maanschijn. That's just a few of the 30 producers that will be pouring more than 100 different wines on the day. 

what do you hope Joburg winos will take away from this experience?

A desire to explore more: to discover new producers and to be open to trying new grape varieties. Also to ask more questions about the wines they drink, how they're made. To realise there is a world of smaller independent producers out there that waiting for them to enjoy.

Publik Wine Fair Johannesburg is taking place on 21 October 2018 at Turbine Hall, Newtown. 12pm – 5pm, R200 per person. Purchase your tickets here. Wine will be available to order on the day.