As written by John O'Connor - Chief Dude of Wine for Dudes! What a time to wind down and reflect on the awesome experiences and people that made up the Gourmet Escape 2018! I didn’t want to attend the premier events this year; although they are awesome one-off experiences, I have attended a range of these functions in the past, so this year I opted to go for a few of the more down-to-earth events, and enjoy all the fun and frivolity that GE attracts.
Margaret River was a buzz with so many visitors coming and going, and many local business benefiting from an influx of customers and people getting involved, and getting their wallets out to support local suppliers, so a massive thanks for everyone who attended! Wine for Dudes was business as usual, alongside providing customised transport options helping out many a stranded persons to get safely home.
Anyway, I booked some time off, and here is my account of Gourmet Escape 2018...
Thursday night kicked things off at The River, with legendary Kiwi outfit Katchafire rocking out with some epic beats, which was $40 and epic value! The River are really utilising their new undercover back door beer garden and proactively providing some epic events and the vibe was on point to say the least.
Friday night I attended a private BBQ catered by ‘The Larder’, they are a one stop gourmet shop with catering and breakfast options. I got to meet some great crew from Indonesia and further throughout Asia! I can’t wait to visit TJ, the General Manager of Kayu Bakar Berawa, Bali. His wood smoke restaurant sounds amazing! Also I got to meet Steven, the editor of www.foodies.com who is based in Jakarta, and he has promised to take me on a food adventure on my next visit to Indonesia! If you have been to Indo, you know a promise is a promise :-) It was great to hear their stories and connect over a glass of wine, of course I had to rock up with a bottle of Chateaux Johnno, I just couldn’t help myself! Massive thanks to Matt and Simon from the South West Development Commission; and also Lee Burkett, owner of Margarets Beach Resort and Margarets In Town Apartments who was on hand for many laughs and great hospitality!
Saturday was HOT so my FIFO housemate Pauley (aka Pablo) and I donned the sombrero’s and hit the Gourmet Village at Leeuwin Estate. These guys know how to host some of the best events which help put Marg’s on the map... so sombrero’s off to them! The day involved lunch at Ma La Dumplings an a whole lot of wine tasting! Visiting friends and favourites like Liz Reed from Flor Marche, Dylan and Tarryn from L.S.Merchants, Deep Woods and Goon Tycoons was awesome. The highlight for me was meeting Mijan and Livia from South By Southwest Wine, rad young women with epic wine, great passion and infectious smiles. Keep an eye out for these artisan producers, they are going places for sure! Its so cool meeting new people doing their thing in the area! ...needless to say, it was a huge day and a white shirt was not the best idea!
Sunday was again awesome at the village after a rainy start to the day. The Vasse Felix crew were on form and loving their work at Bar Felix as always! I was lucky enough to stumble across a skin contact wine tasting session, where I met wine educator Pia Zioto of The Wine Hand, and Kate Flower, food blogger extraordinaire. These ladies are bringing wine and food experiences to the city and we are looking forward to collaborating with them soon! Through their guidance, I joined The West Winds Gin tasting which was a real eye opener. We rounded out the day with another late serve of Ma La Dumplings before filling the Wine for Dudes bus with random stragglers heading for town!
The Corner Bar put on a superb event with LC Drums and DJ Private Pickle putting on a high energy show in the garden bar. This was a great opportunity for workers and revellers alike to let their hair down and have a boogie!
Cant wait for Gourmet Escape 2019!
- Image Credit: Katchafire at The River Hotel by Rolling Stills Photography