MEET | Handpicked Wines
Imogen Hayes | Global Marketing Manager
If you’ve been to an AFC event or two, then you’ve most likely enjoyed a glass of Handpicked Wines with us! The team at Handpicked have been a long time supporter of ours, and the fashion & design sector. We thought it was time to introduce you to some of the people behind our favourite wine, so here’s Imogen Hayes, their Global Marketing Manager, to answer a few questions…
TELL US ABOUT HANDPICKED WINES AND WHAT MAKES IT SO SPECIAL?
Handpicked is a pretty unique wine business. We operate similar to any traditional fine wine producer in Australia in that we focus on growing high quality grapes across 6 sustainably-managed vineyards that we own, and we employ a winemaking team who manages and our properties and makes our wines. But what makes us different is that we work across many, many different regions. It’s pretty complex but it means we can make such a big variety of wines, and experience different regional characteristics and climates. Our winemaker has a lot of frequent flyer points… Due to this fact we also opened our cellar door in Sydney CBD, as opposed to a regional area. We have too many to choose from!
HANDPICKED HAVE HAD SOME REALLY UNIQUE COLLABORATIONS WITH AUSTRALIAN DESIGNERS, FROM THE LIKES OF ROMANCE WAS BORN THROUGH TO THE RECENT EVENT WITH PARED EYEWEAR DURING MBFWA. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT THESE COLLABORATIONS.
I think wine is such an excellent partner to arts, culture and fashion organisations. Wine accompanies so many glamorous occasions, but much like the art and fashion industries, it is born out of hard, labour-intensive work. We get inspired by working with partners outside our own industry – our industry is very insular and is an agricultural based industry. We learn so much from collaborating with fashion and arts based businesses and organisations.
Pared were fantastic to work with – they ended up using our urban cellar door in Chippendale for their first MBFWA runway event. They really integrated into the space – we built in wine tastings into the show and it was heaps of fun.
All our partnerships and different and unique depending on how far the partner wants to take it – like any relationship there are always challenges learning to work with someone new, but positive things you never expect often come out of it. Most of our collaborations evolve organically – they start with a conversation with someone who I meet who might like our wines or wines in general, and grows from there.
A lot of great friendships and conversations start with wine! Anna and Luke from Romance Was Born love drinking Rose – it even inspired one of their collections. The Rose project we ran with them for two years involved label design, winemaking and a few crazy fun parties.
We are partnered with Sydney Contemporary – Australia’s largest contemporary art fair held every year at Carriageworks. We wanted to build a bar but do it in a way that was interesting to the event – so we collaborated with a wonderful artist Karen Black who also was showing works there. We designed an immersive art bar where guests could drink wine and sit within the works. We do a lot of these things on a small budget – we ended up spending a day sewing bean bags with Karen by hand just to get it done. It turned out great. We are lucky to have a supportive business owner who is happy for us to push the boundaries beyond what is expected from a wine business and allow us to be creative.
“Wine accompanies so many glamorous occasions, but much like the art and fashion industries, it is born out of hard, labour-intensive work.”
WHY IS SUPPORTING CREATIVE INDUSTRIES, THROUGH PROGRAMS LIKE AFC’S DESIGNERS ABROAD AND CURATED, IMPORTANT TO HANDPICKED?
Handpicked is a non-traditional wine business, and creativity in everything we do is important to us – whether it’s being creative in winemaking, business or marketing.
Working with programs like AFC’s Designers Abroad and Curated allows us to challenge ourselves to see how we can integrate into new kinds of events – and it gets us exposed to new audiences in a fashionable way.
Supporting younger designers and new creative ideas is something we love to get behind. The wine and fashion content is always great for social also and takes us to heaps of fun places. Pictures of vineyards can get boring….
WHAT IS NEXT FOR HANDPICKED?
We are continuing to build our partnership and collaborations portfolio. It’s honestly a lot of work – we don’t want to just put a logo up somewhere – if we collaborate with someone we want to do it in a meaningful and interesting way.
We are working a lot in the film space right now– we just finished a partnership with Sydney Film Festival and we have Melbourne Film Festival coming up shortly.
We also have a special new wine project we have been working on with Lisa Gorman which will be announced in a couple of months. This evolved organically also through a mutual relationship we both have with Heide Museum in Melbourne. We actually launched two wines in collaboration with Gorman this March at Gorman’s retrospective runway event as part of VAMFF – the runway ran through the Heide Gardens, it was a beautiful event.
We are launching an urban cellar door in Melbourne CBD in 2020 and we own three vineyards in Victoria, so a lot of our current partnership worked is focused on Victoria.
“we don’t want to just put a logo up somewhere – if we collaborate with someone we want to do it in a meaningful and interesting way.”
WHAT DOES ‘AUSTRALIAN’ FASHION/STYLE/DESIGN MEAN TO YOU?
That is hard to define… however I feel Australia has a very contemporary design identity – one which draws inspiration from so many different places also due to the multicultural makeup of this country. Climate and land is relevant to everything we do in wine – we always try to tell stories of ‘place’ when talking about wine. I think a sense of place and the Australian landscape and climate really impacts the design identity we have. I think it’s evident even between the climate differences between Sydney and Melbourne – you see a different design and fashion aesthetic unique to each city.
“Climate and land is relevant to everything we do in wine – we always try to tell stories of ‘place’ when talking about wine. I think a sense of place and the Australian landscape and climate really impacts the design identity we have.”