Wine-centric Sophistication and Storage

Artisan Wine Storage launches in Lane Cove

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This Hungry Expat underwent a kitchen renovation at home about two years ago, and possibly the only regret I have is that we didn’t incorporate a small appliance to store our incredibly humble yet temperature-sensitive wine collection (our north-facing window has been known to boil a bottle or two during Sydney summers!).

So it was with envy and interest that I attended the launch of Artisan Wine Storage in October – a pretty cool event and venue (literally!). The wine degustation event, organised by food-and-beverage PR specialist latin pr, featured a facility tour by Artisan CEO Eamonn Egan, canapés (I could happily eat canapés for three meals a day – it’s one of the reasons I love weddings so much), a selection of international cheeses, and artwork by Art Equity.

The facility

A small, unassuming business park in Lane Cove, just 15 minutes north of Sydney’s CBD, is the unexpected home to Artisan Wine Storage. But the minute I entered the venue, I felt transported. Sophisticated and elegant, Artisan boasts a million-bottle-capacity secure wine-storage warehouse; a dedicated wine-tasting lounge for tastings, food-and-wine-matching dinners wine-education classes, private film screenings (Red Obsession viewing party, anyone?), and other events; and Methuselah’s Cellar, a world-class private dining and tasting room.

If your vino collection is bigger than mine (I hope so) and you choose to house your wine at Artisan, your bottles’ comfy new home features a constant climate-controlled 12°C, 55 to 75% relative humidity, and a dust- and vibration-free environment. And in keeping with the latest techy trends, Artisan provides cloud-based wine-management technology that allows you to virtually manage, report, value and sell your wine. Indeed, if you’re keen to keep your head in the cloud all day, the company even provides a wine pick-up and delivery service.

Methusaleh’s Cellar

For Artisan Wine Storage invitation-only members and corporate businesses, there’s schmick private dining room Methusaleh’s Cellar. (Methusaleh, thought to be the oldest person to ever live, has become a term synonymous with any given thing reaching a great age, such as fine wine.)  

Designed by Egan, the swanky, modern room is the only one in Australia featuring a complete dual vertical of Penfolds Grange bottles (1951-2008) and magnums (1979-2008) on display. It’s a bit beyond this humble blogger’s pay grade, but for businesses looking to impress clients or board members, it would certainly make a stylish spot for corporate lunches, dinners, or board meetings. I’d be happy to attend.

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Artisan Wine Storage CEO Eamonn Egan leads
guests on a tour with a bit of tasting, too.

The Hungry Expat Bites into Bulgaria

Back in June, I had the good sense to visit the Sydney Good Food & Wine Show , where the event’s Cheese Alley beckoned my inner (and outer) cheese addict. What’s more, I had the good fortune to meet Elio Litti, a representative for the EU Dairy Daily, a three-year program that aims to promote Bulgarian – yes, Bulgarian – dairy products in both Australia and the United Arab Emirates. Now, the UAE, I could understand. One thinks of camels, not cows, deserts, not dauphinoise, in the land of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. But wanting to gain a foothold in Australia, which already boasts 6,700 dairy farmers and a thriving $13 million dairy industry? How were the EU Dairy Daily and the Bulgarian Association of Dairy Processors going to do that? I was keen to learn more.

And learn more I would. A couple of weeks after my fateful meeting with Elio, I received an invitation to be a delegate on the EU Dairy Daily’s next mission, to, you guessed it – Bulgaria! I would join two other Australian bloggers, an Aussie dietitian, and a handful of delegates from the UAE, among them a cheese importer (my new best friend?), an executive chef, and several businessmen.

For five days in September, I would come to learn a great deal about the Bulgarian dairy industry and its prides and joys, from white-brine cheese, to kashkaval, to its famous yoghurt. But so much more than that, I learned about the country’s interesting and challenging history, its people, the remarkable cities of Sofia and Plovdiv, the land’s beautiful countryside, and its food as a whole. In the coming weeks, follow me on my epic and tasty trip (nine airports in 12 days!) to Bulgaria. I also threw in a long weekend in Milan, Italy, for good measure (though not for my waistline!), where it was a continuing festival of food and friendship. I hope you’ll join me.

BulgariaBlog1Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria