Food and Drink


The Humble Tumbler

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Ever wanted to know your Petit Manseng from your Blaufränkisch? Maybe not so much? Okay, maybe you’d just like some tips on how to buy wine without the stammering, sweating and inevitable reach for the decently-priced-one-with-gold-medals-on-the-label? Me too.

For this very reason, Clare Burder has started up The Humble Tumbler, a casual wine course designed not only to get your wine snobbery up to scratch, but to actually save you money buying the right wines.

At just 28, Clare is already the director of her own boutique winery, Eminence Wines, in the King Valley. Add to that a few years experience in wine importing, and working at cellar doorsaround Victoria, and you have yourself a guide to good vino, folks.

Tonight, it’s based in the cellar of Fitzroy’s Backstreet Eating, but the sessions are held in bars and restaurants all around Melbourne. Our small group is eased into a two-hour session of what is technically learning with periodical deliveries of bread, meats and cheeses (spiced kangaroo salami, marinated olives and tomatoes, Milawa goats chevre, I could go on…).

As we sip, swirl and nibble, we do some basic palate training, learn why certain regions grow spectacular wines, and why I can grow grapes on my balcony as much as I like, but my wines will probably always suck. We also learn why those tempting shiny gold medals don’t always equate to the best drop. Scandalous!

The course is broken up into four sessions covering subjects like grape growing, wine regions, varieties and most importantly – food and wine matching. Each session is accompanied by a generous slug of wines handpicked by the lovely Clare.

Thinking of myself as a four on the scale of wine idiot to wine wanker, I was a little nervous at first. But as the class is interactive, and works as more of a casual discussion among the small group of 8-10 than a formal classroom setting, nerves give way to lols pretty quick.

By the end of session one, we’re all feeling confident enough to point out a paw paw characteristic here, a dusty mushroom there or perhaps even a hint of sweaty yoghurt on the nose. But then, we’re all mildly intoxicated so it’s hard to even be sure what day it is.

The Humble Tumbler happens Tuesday and Wednesday nights from 6pm-8pm.
For more info visit

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