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Introducing Moir Laird Bottle Shop Concept’s newest team member.

By News 2 Comments

From the minute we met Moir, we fell in love with her and knew she ‘was the one’ to join our small but growing team. Not only was her event experience impressive but her approachability and the energy she brought to the room made us feel like she’d already been with us for months.

With Jade heading on maternity leave towards the end of the year (she’s coming back, so don’t worry!), Moir will be stepping into her ‘Projects’ role managing all our events in Australia. With 21 events already on the cards for 2016, she’s hit the ground running but we know she’s going to nail it. So … WELCOME ABOARD MOIR!

Keen to say hi? Drop Moir an email at or you can follow her via the socials below. Yes, her handle is @pinotmoir!


Moir Laird is an events and marketing professional, specialising in creating the experiences you can’t afford to miss. Dedicated to connecting interesting people with great producers and creators, Moir’s strengths lie in marketing strategy and event management.

With a background in wine marketing for Seresin Estate in her New Zealand home, Moir relocated to London to hone her craft. Following a projects and business development stint for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, she found her niche with social start-up Wok+Wine in London’s innovative startup scene, producing events to create opportunities for wine brands and consumers alike. Ready for a new challenge, she recently relocated to Melbourne to get closer to the city’s bustling and inspired events calendar.


By The Rant 4 Comments

30 seconds to a minute is what a sommelier has in front a guest to figure out what wine a person might like, match it to their dish and within their price point. Not long at all. When you consider the large encyclopaedia lists many venues have, it sounds as daunting as it does impossible. But it isn’t.

The skill resides in effective communication. Asking a few key questions and most importantly, listening. Listening helps you guide a guest to where they feel comfortable and or to their exploratory boundaries.

In all my time as a sommelier, I’ve never once sold a bottle a wine based on facts and figures; it was on style and story. When it comes down to it, a guest is not there to have dinner with you and they’re certainly not there for a master class so good sommeliers keep it simple without dumbing it down. With such limited time, bamboozling people with wine making bullshit is neither helpful, meaningful or useful.

I used to drill this into my sommelier staff by asking them to describe a wine and time their response. Often it would be ‘well, it was picked at 13.5 baume, did its primary fermentation in stainless before being transferred to new french oak, from seguin moreau, with a light toast, before a little battonage to build some texture as well as a partial malolactic fermentation of 30%, blah blah blah …. ‘. You get the drift.

Say that tirade to a someone who knows a bit wine and they’ll look at you annoyed and say … ‘please go away and get me a glass of wine’.

Say that to someone who doesn’t know a lot about wine they’ll look at you annoyed and say … ‘please go away and get me a glass of wine’.

The issue is getting caught up in the process without giving them a connection to people and place; the story. We remember stories more than facts and figures. Why? Because they’re far more interesting than stainless steel tanks.

Imagine wait staff telling you about a steak along the lines of ‘… this is grass-fed Angus beef from Gippsland and what we do is put it on a truck, take it to the abattoir, stun it, slit its throat, hang it upside down, strip it of all its skin off before chopping it up into smaller pieces, dry ageing some so it goes a little grey before cryovacing it and putting it on another truck to a warehouse and then here to the restaurant where we cook it’. Enjoy your meal.

Don’t get me wrong, what happens from paddock to plate is vitally important but I don’t necessarily want to hear about it over dinner. As a diner, I’d like to assume your produce is from ethical and sustainable sources. It’s the same with a wine and or wine list. I assume the sommelier has done the hard work as the proof is in the wine list and or glass in my hand. I’m already invested.

At the beginning of each of our events we brief our wine producers by giving them a little pep talk as to who is attending and what to expect. We say ‘… if we hear one mention of baume levels, trellising systems, clonal selections and any other of that wine making bullshit, we’ll yellow card you. Hear it twice and it’ll be red’.

A tad militant? Perhaps. But our point is that process shouldn’t be the default setting nor opening line. Why not start with ‘Hello’?

Much like a sommelier in a restaurant, at an event a wine producer has around 30 seconds to a minute in front of a guest to tell their story and make a connection to the person in front of them. Telling them who they are, where they’re from, why they’re there and what style of wine they make will have far more resonance than any production method.

It’s the vinous equivalent of a 140 character elevator pitch.

Is yours ready?

The 2015 Game of Rhones Campaign Wrap up

By News No Comments

2015 was the biggest campaign for Game of Rhones yet. A little under 2500 joined us in five cities and two countries in an all out vinous celebration of the grape varieties of the Rhone Valley.

Since the campaign ended in Auckland (our first event in NZ), we’ve been compiling some stats from the event and share here for your interest.

Other points to note: SHAW & SMITH Shiraz was the overall People’s Choice winner taking out top position in 3 out of 5 cities (Well done team). We also had over 70 wine brands involved resulting in over 200 different wines on tasting.

Whilst this is generally an internal report, I think there is a a lot of data here worth sharing, especially in terms of sales and social media reach. Geeky, perhaps, but interesting.

Let us know what you think.


GoR 2015 End of Event Report


By News 2 Comments

There is something to be said of the merits of a shared table. Conversation is fuelled by food, and wine makes for a brilliant social lubricant; it’s where friends are made and ideas are born.

A few weeks back, I had dinner with a group of old and new friends at Popteno, the temporary home of those clever guys at Porteno. Here, I met Glenn Dickie, one of the folks behind Sounds Australia, which is Australia’s music export initiative . It was quickly established that music, food, wine and events were a few of our favourite things, so it was no real surprise we got along very well.

After bottle of wine number 2 (or was it 3?), he was telling me about a major event he organises globally called The AUSSIE BBQ, which has been running at SXSW (yes, THAT SXSW), since 2003. In a nutshell, The AUSSIE BBQ is a travelling circus event that promotes Australian music in all corners of the globe; in 16 cities in fact. Glenn mentioned that he wanted to have a stronger Australian wine focus at the event, which makes sense, though unfortunately what also made sense was the fact that certain national bodies couldn’t get their head around the idea.

I love this idea of pairing of music with wine. It is at the core of Pinot Palooza, and it gives punters some context for what the event is all about. Musical tastes are as varied as those of wine, so at the end of the day, it really all just comes back down to a matter of style.

Glenn and I started toying around with the idea of matching AUSSIE BBQ music acts with a wine regions and grape varieties, trying to work out if it was possible. Enter the Pinot Palooza SOMMELIER ROADIES. These talented somms ran tailored wine tours at each Pinot Palooza, showcasing 6 wines they liked in relation to the kinds of areas you’d find at a music festival – VIP, Chill Out, Jumping Castle, etc.

The brilliant results are below and I’ll be honest, I’m a little more than blown away. Just read the notes and you get an indication of the thought processes that have gone into these smart, piss funny and completely apt responses. The future of wine is strong with these ones. They just get it.

So what’s next? Me new mate Glenn is heading over to run a huge event in Canada later this year where the focus is on *drum roll please* Australia. Can’t wait to see the results.

(If you’re keen to be involved with cool and global events that fuse music and wine, drop me a line, will ya?)

Lisa Jenkins, The City Wine Shop (Melbourne)

BALL PARK MUSIC – So, I have to confess, I had never heard any Ball Park Music songs until today! But this is my take on them. Young, cool indy kids with melodic pop songs…’Surrender’ seems to be their most played song on YouTube. When I listened to the track and watched the band, I thought of well presented, clean cut new wave wines. Certainly not as wild and funky as the natural crowd peddling orange wine out of the Adelaide Hills.  More like, wines from Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley, whom have a younger appeal, yet still commercial! 

Tom Hogan, Harry and Frankie (Melbourne)

BLOODS – The inky dark pseudo punk sound of the Bloods is enough for any right minded Jo / Joe to take arms and rebel against the powers that be…to lighten the mood I’m suggesting the Gewürztraminer dominant blend Rock Dots from La Violetta in the Great Southern – the florals and Turkish delight aromatics will brighten any young punks day… 2014 La Violetta Rock Dots, Great Southern, WA

SAN CISCO – McLaren Vale, SA: Faux Pas Grenache, 2013


CLOCKWISE – I have chosen the 2013 Mt. Majura Graciano to match Andy Clockwise’s music (mainly to his latest song ‘Dancing world’), his low key indie techno has a classic edge. Like in his song Dancing World the classic violin reminds me of the elegance and fragrance that Graciano typically adds to the red Rioja blends from the northern Spain but here in Australia we encounter this variety on it’s own. Grown just outside of Canberra of the volcanic/limestone soils of the Mt. Majura vineyard is a small parcel of Graciano vines. The 2013 is Mt. Majura’s 8th release of this variety and the result is superb – brimming with dark cherry fruit, an earthiness wound around a tightly woven structure of acid, tannins and spice, makes this wine edgy but classic and I love it! Big burgundy glasses, friends, Sunday roast and listening to Clockwise – happy days!

STEVE SMYTH – Ar Fion Pinot Noir ‘Prices Ridge’ Yarra Valley 2013
Profound, a little rustic but overall Steve Smyth’s music and Dave Mackinstosch’s wines possess a finesse and elegance. Careful, thoughtful winemaking and beautifully crafted music – no reason that these two aren’t a perfect match. The Yarra Valley is sometimes seen as one of the more polished regions of Australia but you have some pretty special characters making some smashing, thought provoking and delicious wines.

Mark Protheroe, Grossi Florentino (Melbourne)

THE GOOCH PALMS – The garage punk sounds of this Newcastle duo tells a story that is recurring in numerous wine regions around Australia. The rise of lo-fi, paired back voices that are stepping out from behind layers of post production effect. The message is confident, passionate and delivered with gusto. The task for them seems to be straight forward and the approach is one that requires their colours to be clearly screen-printed on to spandex outfits. Irreverent? yes. To everyone’s taste? I am going to say probably not. Approach this head-on with a thirst for life.
‘Romanee Tuff’ by Tommy Ruff Syrah 2014.  A Syrah that is not easily linked to the glitzy, buffed style generally seen from the Barossa valley but delivers the message energetically.

Julia Sewell, Rockpool Bar & Grill (Sydney)

FRASER A GORMAN – Music that sounds like its been around for a while; tunes that you imagine you’ve already heard years ago – but then of course it’s very new and just sits well and comfortably. Like Langhorne Creek Tempranillo (& friends). Somehow at home in any environment; something anyone can like.

HAMISH ANDERSON – that crazy Gippsland Pinot stuff. need more be said? (Except, perhaps, ‘Moondarra’ and ‘Bass Phillip’…)

HIATUS KAIYOTE – The connection here was a little less immediate, but when I reached it, everything made sense. The tone is so very unfrenetic (a new word just for them?), but still clearly carefully curated. What else but Margaret River Chardy, of the new Si Vinters style…

LENKA – To me, though I count this opinion as entirely personal and therefore without any validity, this music is a little formulaic. Not without interest, and certainly not without many potentially likeable aspects. Quality; up-beat and peppy, but not my choice. Somewhat like Adelaide Hills Savvy B.

THE DELTA RIGGS – I agonised over this a while, knowing that I got a very strong sense of the exact wine from all their songs, but not quite being able to pin it down. It was the video for Rah-Rah Radio that brought me to it. Check it out and see for yourself. Beechworth Syrah – the glam rock of Aussie wine (which, btw, I do rather like).

GEORGE MAPLE – Definitely Tassie Pinot! Clear from the first few seconds of ‘Talk, Talk’. The sound gives an immediate sense of depth and brightness. Velvety without being heavy, and just so very enticing.

Samantha Payne, Wine Scribe (SYDNEY)

JACK LADDER & THE DREAMLANDERS – All deep voiced, husky twangs and sexy vocals. You want something elegant and bold at the same time. Like velvet sliding down your throat. Dark and yet vibrant. Something you want to get seduced by.
Wine Region/Variety: Malbec- Langhorne Creek, South Australia
Producer: Bremerton Estate

TKAY MAIDZA – Flirty and Bright. Twinkly background but with a hidden power in her voice. You want something easy drinking but with an unexpected complexity.  Multi-layered and multi-dimensional, nothing simple about it. Just fucking delicious. Like the Oliver’s Taranga Fiano from McLaren Vale, South Australia

Peter Marchant, Consultant (Brisbane)

KIRIN J CALLINAN – Ecclectic. King Valley VIC. Lot’s going on here. Pizzini Arneis. Reminds of you of something but also new at the same time.

THE LOVE JUNKIES – A nod to the classics but with a new school spin. Mc Laren Vale, SA. Brash Higgins Shiraz. A tip of the hat, but not bound by the past.

Alan Hunter, ecco (BRISBANE)

REMI – Adelaide Hills, Pinot Noir. Serious Grape, but lets not take it too seriously in a conventional mould. Tarra’s or Anton craft a wines in tune with a younger generation without sterotypes too much in mind. It is what it is. Read into it if you wish, or just drink up.

Sarah Limacher, Keystone Group (Sydney)

TIGERTOWN – Listening to these guys do there thing on spotify im thinking cool, classic with a hint to the new school, a fresh and modern sound mixed in with classic nods to a sound from yester year, im thinking the Clare Valley. I love the history and the classics from the Clare I also love the wave of new guys coming through and mixing things up, this band are like the spiritual love child of Wendouree, Grosset and Keri Thompson. Get in me! Slinky and Sexy like Clare Shiraz with the Steely soul of Old Clare Rizza.

Matt Brooke, Crown (Melbourne)

BIG WHITE – Macedon Ranges – Curly Flat Chardonnay (en magnum)
SAFIA – Yarra Valley – Mac Forbes ‘Woori Yalloch’ Pinot Noir