burger - Collaboration on a toasted bun

Pop-ups and unusual partnerships: an opportunity for the Australian wine industry

The trend of street-style or pop-up eateries is now so ubiquitous that you would think the cognoscenti of the world’s major cultural capitals would be getting tired of it. But it appears not. The pop-up food genre appears to be evolving faster than an Australian Ashes innings, and new collaborations are showing that the category can still deliver originality and cleverness. So it was last week in Sydney, I bought two, what we might deem as ‘food fads’, thanks to two clever collaborations, from which wine could find inspiration.

Firstly ice-cream. Something I don’t normally eat in winter, even a mild Sydney winter. But Uber had cleverly teamed up with local coveted gelateria, Messina, to deliver their ice-cream to your home or office for one day only, with just one click of the app. The combination of convenience and luxury with this collaboration made it instantly appealing.

Then, a few days later I found myself sat on a pavement, very happily devouring a $12 (£6) gourmet burger.

I don’t normally eat burgers. I wasn’t even that hungry. I was there as part of an event – a contemporary arts festival on Cockatoo Island, Underbelly. The installations had a great focus on evoking different senses, from ‘Holiday Feelings’ (with reclining chairs, seaside scents and soothing audio-visual projections) to impactful sounds of the ‘The Closest Thing to Your Body’ (an investigation of the role of music in a nightclub). Food was available from a small selection of local restaurants, displayed next to the art installations, making it feel like it was a seamless collaboration with the event. In layman’s terms: my burger felt like a natural choice. Sadly, the wine available was rather limited, even though it too would perhaps have felt like another seamless extension. Instead I nursed a rather disappointing can of cider, and the rest of the crowd seemed to be doing the same thing.

What draws these examples together is what I believe are three key factors, which are now pre-requisites to get Generation Y / Millennials excited:

1. Collaborations that might not make obvious sense at first glance, but are made to work brilliantly together by clever execution

2. The sense of a unique shared experience and community, which sticks in the memory and gets you to talk about it afterwards

3. Having that experience convenient and local to you – in an ideal world, it comes to your doorstep

It feels like wine could so easily command all three elements, particularly in a country like Australia with such a strong winemaking culture, but also in major urban centres around the world where young people are getting excited about being part of the wine category.

Author: Natasha Rastegar

Email: natasha@wineintelligence.com