Celebrating the pleasures of Pinot Noir at Pinot Palooza

The Pinot Palooza festival celebrates the red wine with R&B and hip-hop

As opposed to the typical string quartet music at stuffy hotel wine events, expect the music at Pinot Noir celebration Pinot Palooza to range from R&B to hip-hop to good old rock ’n’ roll.

The festival, which combines great Pinot Noir and great tunes, first started in Melbourne in 2013 and has made its away across Australia and New Zealand. It is making its first Asian stop in Singapore on Nov 25.

Held at the Esplanade Annexe Studio, the event will feature 100 Pinot Noirs from about 40 producers for tasting.

“We’ve done all the hard work and created a Pinot playlist – a wine list of Pinot Noirs – for our guests,” says Pinot Palooza founder Dan Sims, an Australian.

The 41-year-old, a self-confessed “pinot-phile”, says “it’s the grape variety that excites and disappoints me the most”.

“Because when it’s great, it’s mind-blowing, but when it’s bad, it’s generally expensive,” he quips.

He is mostly taken by the diversity of this particular grape variety.


    WHEN: Nov 25, 1 - 6pm

    WHERE: Esplanade, The Annexe Studio, 1 Esplanade Drive

    ADMISSION: $50 (early bird, ends on Oct 1), $60 (general admission). Go to www.pinotpalooza.sg. Ticket price includes a take-home Plumm RedB Glass valued at $35 as well as all wine tastes

“Even though it’s a lighter-bodied variety, there are still light, medium and full-flavoured styles in that spectrum,” says the former sommelier, wine commentator and educator.

While the varietal is most commonly associated with the Burgundy wine-growing region in France, there will also be plenty of Pinot from Australia, New Zealand and even some from Italy and the United States on offer at Pinot Palooza’s Singapore chapter.

Wines that are rarely seen in the Singapore market, such as Australia’s Moondarra, will also be on offer, with the winemaker Neil Prentice set to make an appearance.

With the entry ticket – priced at $50 for early birds and $60 for general admission – guests also get to take home a Plumm RedB Glass. They are encouraged to cast their vote in the festival’s People’s Choice award for the best Pinot Noir.

Sims’ events company Revel Global also runs other wine-centric events such as Game Of Rhones (a celebration of the classic grape varieties of France’s Rhone Valley) and Gauchito Gil’s Malbec World Day (highlighting Argentinian and Australian Malbecs).

He is outspoken about making wine accessible and believes that people want to learn about wine the same way they consume it – socially.

“The wine industry likes to make things complicated to justify its own existence and it’s done a very good job of making wine intimidating ” he tells The Sunday Times.

“But we want people to have fun because wine is for everybody.”

He likens wines to music. “It’s not meant to be intimidating because like music, wine has so many different artists and genres, countries and labels,” he says.

It is also why the event’s name, Pinot Palooza, is a play on the famous American multi-genre music festival, Lollapalooza.

“If you like music, you stream it, you create playlists, you go see live bands and it’s part of your day-today life,” he says.

“You don’t wake up one morning and go, I’m really into music, I’d better go for a masterclass – wine’s no different. We want it to be part of the everyday and live it and breathe it.”

He also wants to expand to Singapore ahead of the rest of Asia because he feels that “it’s a very exciting time in the culinary space and cocktail scene here and people are clearly interested in what they imbibe”.

Adding that 38 per cent of all wine consumed here is Australian, he says he wants to “help amplify a category that’s on the way up”.

The festival will go to Tokyo in May and Hong Kong at the end of next year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 03, 2017, with the headline 'Pleasures of Pinot'. Print Edition | Subscribe