Standing in the bar of The National Hotel, you wouldn’t think you’d just stepped off the bustling Vietnamese golden mile that is Victoria Street, Richmond. The decor has an overall industrial-chic vibe, with exposed beams, polished concrete floors and metalwork detailing.
‘The Opium Den’, a semi-private function space, perfectly exemplifies this contrast between austerity and cosiness, with a metal grid partition, but dark wood furniture and fire place. The private Outdoor Dining Room also demonstrates this, with the exposed beams and polished floors being cast in natural light, opening onto the beer garden.
The menu plays homage to its surrounds, with a refined pan-Asian influence. And the wine list is a carefully considered and lovingly curated tour of some of the best wine regions in Australia and the world. This passion for good wine is shared by the entire team at the National Hotel.
“It’s been crazy since I arrived here, I’ve learned so much,” says Alex Lees, the functions and events coordinator at The National. “Rather than just choosing whatever and picking out the $10 bottle, I’m now really looking at where the wine is from; the varietal, the year. It is so nice to work at a venue that really cares about its wines.”
And now the National Hotel wants to share this love and knowledge with the general public.
“We really wanted to host an event that represented us as a venue, something outside the norm of trivia nights or parma specials.”
Teaming up with one of The National Hotel’s oldest and closest suppliers, David O’Leary of O’Leary Walker Wines in the Clare Valley, guests will be guided through a wine tasting masterclass. Because, really, unless you’re a seasoned professional, most people don’t know what to look for when tasting wine. And who better to guide the class than a winemaker with over 25 years experience?
“We’re massive fans of David, and O’Leary Walker,” says Alex. “We’ve been stocking their wines for ages.”
During the upcoming class, guests will be sampling two whites and four reds, selected by O’Leary from the Adelaide Hills and beyond. Each glass will be paired a canapé specifically designed to enhance the flavour elements of the wine.
The canapés will have a distinct pan-Asian influence, somewhat unusual for a wine tasting. The class will focus on the different varietals and their individual profiles and characteristics, what flavour notes they’ll be tasting, and how it changes when paired with the canapé. It’ll even go into talking about how different parts of the palate each react to the wine.
“We are really excited to expose our clientele to products that we love,” says Alex.
And if the class proves popular, the National are planning to further develop the concept into an activity available for groups, in particular corporate functions.
It’s the perfect option for those clients looking for a team building activity that is a little more refined than paintball.
“When setting up the classes, we can even tailor the wines to suit the group’s knowledge level,” says Alex.
Spending an afternoon sipping and learning about wine, on the company dime, sounds like a pretty good time to me.
The O’Leary Walker wine masterclass is on May 18th, 7pm, $65 at The National Hotel in Richmond.
Planning a corporate function? The National has a range of spaces, perfect for any event >>