Festival celebrates artisan wine production

Lark Hill will represent Canberra at Rootstock.
Lark Hill will represent Canberra at Rootstock. Photo: Katherine Griffiths

The move against clean, commercial wines gains ground by the minute, with a growing wine cognoscenti looking for minimal invention in winemaking, maximum regional variation and colours like orange and yellow in the glass. These are the guys that run the Rootstock festival in Sydney, held for the first time last year with unexpectedly large crowd numbers, and to be held again on February 8 and 9 this year.

Canberra will be represented by organic winemaker Lark Hill, which has a stall, and Bryan Martin, of Ravensworth, also a Food and Wine columnist. Martin has made three wines in keeping with the minimal intervention approach of the Rootstock crowd and will show them on the day – his first nebbiolo, a white blend (his Grainery), and a chardonnay.

He’s also speaking at a masterclass about living off the land – including a tasting of prosciutto he made from Kevin the pig, now ready after 18 months' air-drying, and a demonstration on how to cure pork belly into pancetta and pork neck into coppa. Martin will speak about that most magic and largely foolhardy of agricultural pursuits – planting a trufferie. He has perhaps 30 inoculated trees on his Murrumbateman property and must now wait for half a dozen or so years in the hope of an actual truffle.

Other masterclasses will be led by Kylie Kwong, Martin Boetz and James Viles (Biota Dining in the Southern Highlands). Organisers include 121BC bar owner Giorgio De Maria and wine judge Mike Bennie.