It's a party trick that's been played on Wine for Dudes boss John 'Johnno' O'Connor by his closest friends for years at various dinners and parties. Basically, you hand Johnno a random glass of wine, and he has to guess the variety, year and region the wine was produced by look, smell and taste only!
Not that he'd admit it himself, but with Johnno's passion for wine, extensive experience working in almost all aspects of the wine industry, inquisitiveness for what he doesn't know, and punching out a few barrels of his own wine every other year, Johnno really does have an incredible palate!
All was exposed over the weekend, when the Margaret River Wine Association put on a spectacular Margaret River Community Wine Fair, with one of the competitions being a blind tasting event! Participants could enter throughout the day, with entry fees being donated to charity; they were given a sample of wine and had to choose the year, varietal, region and medal status; with the winner, Wine for Dudes boss John O'Connor, scoring himself two cases of sensational Margaret River wines valued at $500!
25 Margaret River wineries both large and boutique were at the event, showcasing over 150 of their beautiful Margaret River wines! The day which was originally scheduled for November 2017, was in celebration of 50 years since the infamous Vasse Felix planted their first vines in 1967, officially starting off what is now known as the world renowned Margaret River wine region!
John O'Connor of Wine for Dudes was blown away by a new style 2017 Chardonnay from Woodlands Wines that didn't follow traditional Margaret River Chardonnay traits, instead showing "awesome minerality" (...a tricky explanation that refers to a group of non-fruit, non-herb, non-spice notes that can describe aroma, taste or both). Johnno
couldn't believe it when he found out it was just $28 a bottle!!
Paige Valentine was one of the very talented lineup of local artists to perform on the day, finishing with a beautiful song called 'Besame Mucho' which was sung by her grandmother (also a singer) to Paige's grandfather when he returned from war.
Some of the dudes favourite Margaret River wine, food and beer producers were there including Rustico @ Hay Shed Hill (which of course
is where Wine for Dudes stop for their incredible gourmet lunch on their epic Margaret River wine tours), Lenton Brae, Cape Grace, Fermoy Estate, Juniper Estate, Domaine Naturaliste, Passel Estate, Cheeky Monkey Brewery and heaps more!
With just a $5 entry fee for adults, and gold coin donation for kids, the event held at the Margaret River Farmers Markets / TAFE site featured a bunch of fun activities for the community to get involved in, including a "Dunk the Winemaker" event; and an array of delicious Margaret River food trucks, including a standout Tofu dish by Margaret River Yakitori!