Gourmet Traveller (Australia) - - 2019 Australian Restaurant Guide -

Though it was os­ten­si­bly fo­cused on nat­u­ral wine, the not-for-profit Root­stock fes­ti­val, which was started in Syd­ney in 2013 by Mike Ben­nie, Gior­gio De Maria, James Hird, Linda Wiss and Matt Young, was elas­tic enough to draw to­gether food and art from Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties and from Georgia, to broaden Aus­tralian drinkers’ un­der­stand­ing of beer and sake, raw-milk cheese and heir­loom live­stock. All about col­lab­o­ra­tion and cre­ative mu­ta­tion, it went on the road to Melbourne and Tokyo, and be­came a highlight of the global cal­en­dar for des­ti­na­tion drinkers. It crowd­funded Indige­nous agri­cul­ture through the Gu­randgi Mun­jie pro­ject, and last year, in what turned out to be its fi­nal out­ing, it bot­tled a brandy dis­tilled from the wine col­lected from the pre­vi­ous fes­ti­val’s spit buck­ets in the name of ad­dress­ing waste. It showed the food and wine com­mu­nity that Aus­tralian drinkers are much more ad­ven­tur­ous than they’d pre­vi­ously thought, and it re­minded ev­ery­one that wine is, af­ter all, sup­posed to be fun. It changed the con­ver­sa­tion about wine in Aus­tralia, but for its or­gan­is­ers, Root­stock’s big achieve­ment, be­yond shar­ing knowl­edge and pas­sion, was the build­ing of a com­mu­nity. Wine comes to life when it brings to­gether peo­ple, spark­ing di­a­logue be­tween farm­ers and artists, cooks and pro­duc­ers, pro­fes­sion­als and the pub­lic, the dream­ers and the do­ers. Here’s to you, Root­stock.

From left: Root­stock founders Matt Young, Mike Ben­nie, Gior­gio De Maria and James Hird. All dressed by Har­rolds.

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