The Stoneleigh Project transforms a city warehouse into a Malborough wine region microcosm with virtual rivers beds and tipsy trendies
Stoneleigh wines hail from Malborough, New Zealand – a rocky landscape of abundant vines and, as consequence, many wines. In celebration of this alcoholic abundance, The Stoneleigh Project is an immersive wine-tasting and cellar-door-in-the-city experience that will tickle your fancy as well as your tastebuds.
For The Stoneleigh Project, Artist Susie Sie has created three rooms in an old warehouse on Flinders Street to reflect and embody the various stages of the winemaking process. First, there are the stones. Next, there are the mirrors. And finally, there are bubbles filled with liquid smoke and a white globular sculpture of random-sized spheres reaching up to the ceiling. A structure that is largely ignored because of the captivating oddity of watching the bubbles gently pop on the ground into small expulsions of smoke.
But then, of course, there are the wines. Oh, those delicious wines! With three different tastings – one to match each room – it’s a welcome relief to reach the bar and cellar door at the end to enjoy a glass full of your favourite from the wine selection.
A lot of artistic license has been afforded and, unsurprisingly, the gaseous pomp of the bubbles stands out as the highlight. Oh, and for the sake of disambiguation: the liquid smoke bubbles are meant to represent the wild yeast.
My chosen glass was the wild-fermented Sauvignon Blanc. Wild-fermentation means that no yeast is added to the wine by any human hand, instead one waits for the air to do it. Whilst waiting, the wine is left to luxuriate in, essentially, an enormous bath and to take its time to become slowly, uproariously alcoholic. This is something I myself have been trying to achieve, and meandering about these rooms sampling the wines certainly helped that.