By BRUCE DENNILL
Tuning The Vine / 4th Avenue Parkhurst / 1 March 2017
Publicised using the hashtag #JoziWineRoute, Tuning The Vine was an interesting stab at bringing some of the poetry of a winelands-style wine tasting to Johannesurg. Parkhurst is hardly Franschhoek, so there was none of the vineyards as far as the eyes can see stuff, but off the bat, it’s several times better than the sterile warehouse space of the exhibition halls in which similar events are usually hosted.
Parkhurst’s main drag is riddled with trendy restaurants and shops making the format of the route – up one side of 4th Avenue and back down the other; less than a couple of kilometres – a good one, packed with accessible attractions. The organisers crammed 13 stops into that distance, stocked by over 20 producers, so it was just as well that walking was an option.
The first stop was an interior décor showroom and the last an art gallery, but in between were a great many restaurants, so if you paced your walk well, you could sip and nibble all the way through the evening and avoid falling over the moment you reached the end (no spittoons were provided; you had to down what you tasted). A number of the non-allied shops were also open, ensuring that you could potentially end up impulse-buying a designer coffee table while tipsy…
This edition of Tuning The Vine was the first in a series and the fact that punters are forced to congregate in pods on the pavement around each serving station means that it’ll likely develop a cult following and develop a community who’ll continue to buy into it. As it is, if you don’t bump into someone you already know, you may know someone you bump into after sharing six or seven samples.
One minor issue that’ll improve it is closing the gap between the clumped-together venues at one end of the street and the relatively remote The Art Room at the other end. There’s hustle and bustle, chatter and crowds, and then suddenly there’s silence and darkness, and it’s a touch disconcerting, particularly for those who are still nervous about walking around in Joburg at night – under any circumstances. Connect those dots in ambience terms – perhaps one day there’ll be reason to cordon off the street for the night – and Tuning The Vine could become a must-attend monthly event for wine fans of any stripe.