Noisy Ritual is Melbourne’s first People-Powered Urban Winery. We were thrilled to have Cam, Alex and Sam serve their Brunswick made wine at our recent New Urban Village at Jewell Station launch event and can’t wait to try their red, white and sparkling again this Friday night for the launch of Open Journal Edition Two. We asked them a few questions about how the concept came about,
What was the ‘let’s go for it moment’ when starting Noisy Ritual, Melbourne’s first Urban Winery?
Noisy ritual started when I moved into a house in Thornbury and discovered a room underneath which had been purpose-built by an Italian couple for making wine. Two of old school mates (Alex and Sam) are both professional winemakers, so after we discovered the space we did the logical thing – stomped and fermented half a tonne of Shiraz grapes in the big concrete fermentation tank with the help from a bunch of other friends. The process was so hands-on, messy, fun and accessible and so different to how I had assumed the process of winemaking would be. That same year we decided to ferment another batch as well, and with every session more and more friends turned up, keen to be a part of the process and fun. The wine we made tasted great and we realised it might be an experience even more people might like to be involved in as well. So we decided to go for it and run a crowdfunding campaign to fund our next vintage (2015), which we made in a pop-up space in Preston with 100 members. We’ve just finished making our 2016 vintage with another 100 members, and opened our doors to the public permanently in June this year.
Noisy Ritual ‘cuts the bullshit’ of wine making, bringing it back to its visceral, all-hands-in community based roots, how have you found the concept has been received? Do you see this as brining a new level of public appreciation for wine?
The concept has been received really well. If you don’t happen to know a vineyard owner winemaking can seem like an exclusive pursuit, but as we take people through every stage of the process from grape to glass they soon discover it’s actually a beautifully simple and natural thing. Of course having a couple of professional winemakers at the helm is super-important for achieving consistently high quality results, but the ownership all our members feel at the end of the process when they take home their stash of the wine they helped create is really great. For a while now people have been becoming more interested in where the products they consume come from and how they’re made, and what we’re doing seems to capture that.
A big part of Noisy Ritual is your workshops, how important is passing wine making skills onto others?
Delivering the workshops has reinvigorated Alex and Sam’s enthusiasm for their craft as they feed off the energy of our members. The workshops are what gives the winery heart and soul, and we love sharing the creation of our wine with so many great people invested in the final product. The workshops attract a pretty broad range of people with differing levels of pre-existing knowledge – some get really into the winemaking details and every specific aspect of the process (notebook in hand), whilst others are largely focused on learning a little bit and having a lot of fun.
What influenced you to open Noisy Ritual in Brunswick? How does the Brunswick environment support the business?
Brunswick is a natural fit for a business like us – it’s a great destination suburb for people looking for great food and wine experiences, and is home to a really supportive, creative and adventurous community of people and businesses.
The graphics and branding of wine are a major factor in the industry, how did you approach the Noisy Ritual visual identity?
We’ve been really lucky to be able to work with some great people to make it happen. We first noticed Tajette O’Halloran’s striking photography from some band portraits she’d done – her whole body of work is incredible. I knew she would do a great job with Noisy Ritual. She’s got an incredible ability to capture really special moments and tell a story well. Her work has been instrumental to us being able to communicate the many aspects of the Noisy Ritual experience. Our 2015 labels were designed by local artist (and musician) Celeste Potter. She caught our eye with her awesome gig posters and album artwork for Courtney Barnett and others. Her brief was to somehow capture the spirit of the people-powered winemaking experience and we think she nailed it with a real sense of fun.
Take us through Noisy Ritual’s flavour, how do you think it will fare against other Victorian wines?
Wine’s a pretty subjective thing, but our formula is simple: we get our hands on the best fruit we can, do as little to it as possible and create delicious wines that drink well young. Our members don’t want to wait around too long to enjoy the fruits of their labour and neither do we! We try to showcase the breadth of styles and regions Victoria has to offer – for example in 2015 we made a Shiraz from Heathcote and a Shiraz from Geelong and the environmental differences between those two places produced two really distinct wines.
Where can we buy bottles of Noisy Ritual wine, do you have plans for broader distribution?
At the moment wine is available at our wine bar / cellar door and from our website (noisyritual.com.au) as well as a small number of independent retailers, bars and restaurants. We definitely plan to expand the distribution channels in the future.
The Noisy Ritual Wine Bar / Cellar Door is currently open Fri & Sat 4pm-11pm.
249 Lygon Street Brunswick East