Newcastle local wine brand, Dirt Candy, brings their goodies straight to your door
You might have heard of these guys, the husband and wife run, small-batch, artisan wine producer based in the Hunter Valley, Dirt Candy, is often popping up at events across town like the Five Senses Twilight Markets and in the fridges and on the shelves of our local bottleshops and local hospitality venues.
It’s no surprise to hear that since the restrictions from COVID-19 came into place, wineries in the Hunter Valley and suppliers of alcoholic beverages to hospitality venues got a real hard hit.
“90% of our business is run through markets, events and on-premise sales through pubs and restaurants. This has meant that we have had to put all of our energies into online sales and content which can be quite a challenge when you are trying to introduce new customers to your product and brand,” Daniel explained.
So, how did Dirt Candy come to be?
Well, it started like all good things – after a few cocktails in the pool whilst on holidays. With Daniel completing his winemaking degree, Daniel and his wife Jenni decided they would make just a few wines they could try out at markets and drink at home.
Wanting to do something a little different from the traditional Hunter Valley styles and brands, Jenni, a qualified graphic designer, set about creating the branding and labels whilst Daniel sourced grapes from some prominent Hunter Valley vineyards to create their first batch of wines.
In 2018, Dirt Candy’s first vintage sold out completely just after a few months. Since then, the pair have added to the original core range and continued to create wines in their own unique, easy drinking and minimal intervention styles. In 2019, Daniel was even awarded the First Drop Young Gun of Wine, Danger Zone award for innovative winemaking.
“Our wines are designed to be enjoyed with great food and great friends. We really try to create wines that are all about flavour and that are fun to drink. Most of our wines are vegan friendly and we aim to use minimal sulphur or additives.”
If that hasn’t got you excited about the Dirt Candy range, then keep on listening. The pair have taken on the challenges enforced upon them from COVID-19, and will be soon to launch virtual wine tastings - watch this space!
“We will be launching some virtual wine tasting videos on our Instagram and Facebook pages soon. The positives from this has been the extra time we have had as a family where we have been able to slow down, spend more time together and do some of the things we love, like cooking with the kids.”
The family business is all hands on deck with Daniel working on the wine-front, Jenni on the branding and marketing side of the business, and their three children; Max, Lucy and Emily - who are providing constant inspiration for the wine whilst making sure to drink as much grape juice as possible during vintage.
Currently, Dirt Candy has 11 varieties available online, from the traditional chardonnay to the experimental Pink Pet Nat. Whilst the wines are exquisite, so is the branding, and the fun/quirky names. You can pick from The One (chardonnay), The Wild One (shiraz-cabernet), The Prodigy (Semillon), The Pink Panther (pink Pet-Nat), The Outsider (Fiano), The White Knight (white Pet-Nat), The Gamechanger (rose), The Fizz (organic blanc de blanc), The Inheritance (liqueur Muscat), and The Urban Crush (merlot-rose).
I may even be enjoying a glass as I write this article – just to sample the goods of course. Whilst I’m a HUGE red wine drinker, I must say, The Pink Panther has got some incredibly unexpected tasting notes – and I’m loving it!
“Our favourite wine to make would have to be our Pet Nats. In 2020 we made two, The Pink Panther and The White Knight. This is an old method of making sparkling wine and even though it requires minimal intervention in terms of winemaking you need to be extremely precise when bottling. If you have too much sugar you will have exploding bottles but if there isn’t enough the final wine will be flat and lifeless.
“As a result, it’s a very exciting wine to make. We really have no idea how it will turn out until a few weeks after it has been bottled and has finished fermenting.”
Whilst you can get your hands on the Dirt Candy range online during COVID-19 restrictions, you’ll do yourself some good to keep an eye on them post-corona. With big plans for hands-on events and plenty of pop-stalls at markets across town; Dirt Candy has got us all a little excited for when life gets back to normal.
“We can’t wait to do some fun and cool stuff again when this is all over.”
Keen to get your hands on some Dirt Candy Wines? Daniel has a very special offer for HUNTERhunter readers with a 25% off* and FREE same-day delivery (when ordered before 5pm) across Newcastle when you order six or more bottles; just use the code, HUNTERhunter.
*Discount valid until end of June. Discount excludes 'The Dirty Gang' tasting pack.