Pinot Palooza Expands to Singapore

Ahead of the Adelaide leg of Pinot Palooza’s trans-Tasman tour of Australian and New Zealand cities, the event’s founder and director Dan Sims tells The Adelaide Review the wine-loving festival will soon head to Singapore, with eyes to set up in Tokyo and Hong Kong as well.

As part of the new wave of wine-loving contemporary tastings, Pinot Palooza has made a name for itself for unique and enjoyable events in capital cities on both sides of the Tasman Sea. Now the Pinot-celebrating festival is set to expand into Asia, having confirmed its first ever Singaporean event for 2018.

“Singapore as a market is incredibly exciting,” says Dan Sims, Pinot Palooza’s founder/director. “I’ve been going there for a number of years now and the food and wine scene is just going bananas.”

Sims points to a growing consumption of wine and a high base level of Australian wine drinkers in the city-state as the reason behind the expansion.

“The amount of Australian chefs that are over there is just huge and the wine consumption is set to rise around 30 to 40 percent over the next five years,” he says. “Australian wine in particular is popular there. 38 per cent of all wine consumed is Australian. It’s a real logical step to go there.”

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The Singaporean edition will be held at Annexe Studio on the city’s downtown Esplanade Drive. Billed as a theatre and art space, Annexe Studio is the right spot for Pinot Palooza to go, says Sims, who aims to make every iteration of the event uniquely at home in each place it visits. He also expects to work with a selection of local restaurants and providers to “give it that local feel”, but is hesitant to publicly proclaim any names just yet.

The first step into Asia will be a smaller one than the events held in Australia and New Zealand, but Sims expects it to grow in Singapore and spread to other major Asian centres in Japan and China.

“It’ll be a slightly smaller version — we’re anticipating around 550 people with 25 producers to begin with,” he says. “Then the next year we’ll see it grow to almost three times the size… The aim will be to take it also to Tokyo and Hong Kong next year, so to really grow and build it up.”

Before Pinot Palooza jets off to Sinapore, though, there’s one more stop to make in Australia in Adelaide, and two across the pond in Christchurch and Wellington first. This year’s Adelaide event has shifted from Queens Theatre to the Adelaide Gaol. It’s a quirky choice of venue to hold a wine event, with layers of murky history for attendees to ponder, but Sims is excited about its uniqueness.

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“If you’re going to do an event, the venue is really important because it creates a vibe,” he says. “I hate going to just another hotel foyer to do a wine tasting… It’ll be a great, interesting little vibe [at the Gaol]. It’s slightly eerie, I have to admit, but I like it. They’ve got mannequins of people who were about to be hanged and all that.”

He says the event isn’t aiming to fully embrace the Gaol’s dark history, but will make use of the old cells for a variety of purposes.

“Some of the producers will be, not necessarily in the cells, but their wine will be in the cells, then we’ve got a little area, I want to say a cell dance hall, but it’ll be a room with a mirror ball, and our DJs for the day are Skin Contact, which will pump through the place giving off a bit of a vibe.”

Of course, having cells on hand could be of assistance in case any attendees find themselves, shall we say, over-refreshed.

“If people are bad or naughty we could definitely lock them up,” laughs Sims. “Help will be at hand!”

Pinot Palooza
Saturday, August 5, 1pm
Adelaide Gaol
pinotpalooza.com.au

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