With the all eating, all drinking, all partying festive season well and truly behind us, it’s probable that you, like so many of us, are wrestling with the need to be healthy right now. Well, we’re calling time on it. We caught up with our good friend Joel Amos from DRNKS.COM to talk wine, vineyards and memes, and to once again reacquaint ourselves with a glass of something special.
Working in wine for more than 20 years, Joel has also dabbled in a few other interesting things along the way, which we’ll get to later. Let’s start from the beginning, born in Adelaide and raised on a vineyard in McLaren Vale, you could say Joel was destined for the bottle, of course we mean cultivating grapes and producing organic natural wines.
After going down the academic path with a failed attempt at a degree in viticulture, Joel dropped out and got straight into it by starting to work in a bunch of wineries from Australia to France. Joel’s main focus in wine making is to produce sustainable, organic and chemical free wines. “Wine in Australia has become a lot more homogenised then people realise,” he says. “There are hundreds of chemical additives you can put in wine, but don’t need to list on the label.
In his goal to offer an alternative to the mundane, corporate wine retail scene that dominates Australia, Joel started the online wine store DRNKS.COM. Where all booze has been hand selected, down to the tee that Joel knows where each varietal or brew has come from, who made it and how.
"The wines we sell aren’t made in a lab,
they’re made by real people, with real
vineyards, doing the real work,
you can taste the difference.”
Anyway, all this talk is getting us thirsty. Let’s change the topic for a bit, as mentioned it wasn’t always booze on the horizon. Growing up, Joel played drums in a few punk bands in Adelaide, went through a few riders whilst on tours, met some DJ’s than moved to Sydney and became a DJ himself. Known throughout the Sydney music traps for his long list of DJ aliases ranging from Magic Happens, Cleric Apton, Saul Goodman, Johnny Deep, Master Celebrator. Joel bummed around for a bit hitting the decks, whilst also being a booking agent for Modular Recordings, sure Joel also booked himself on a few good tours!
In between this and getting the log in details to browncardigan.com and dropping a few memes, the bottle dragged him back in. Good friend Jamie Wirth opened a few pubs under the Drink n Dine pub group, were Joel was in charge of all the booze. From here he saw a big hole in the market and fortunately for him that hole happened to be sustainable natural wines!
Joel gives us a lowdown on his top places to eat and drink in Sydney:
10 William Street - Because the five-o hate it
Fratelli Paradiso - Cheapest wine list in Australia
Ester - The best oven out there
Icebergs - What a bloody classic!
Noma Australia - Bloody good eating
Golden Century - Mate!
Mary’s - The burgers are great but the wine list is better
The Unicorn - Best pub in the universe
Wine Library - Old mates know how to look after you
This Must Be The Place - Spritz’s for days
Photos by Eleanor Ackland