Life & Style

Vera Wine Forum

Hamilton is now home to a dedicated wine education space

The ever-so-lovely couple behind Beaumont Street’s Vera Wine has recently launched their newest venture on Tudor Street, Vera Wine Forum, a dedicated wine education and event space.

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With Florence Diffey and Josh Distefano at the helm, Vera Wine Forum is here to change our hospitality landscape by offering a Newcastle first: a dedicated venue aimed to offer the WSET Level 2 course.

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Florence Diffey & Josh Distefano

Since opening their Beaumont St space in April 2022, the duo’s plans for the abandoned space on Tudor St have always been in the works. In February, Vera Wine Forum was launched with its first WSET course kicking things off.

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What is WSET?

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust is a UK-based organisation that sets a global benchmark for wine education. The internationally recognised course is offered all across the globe, but Vera Wine Forum will be the very first of its kind to offer this in Newcastle.

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Florence has completed the courses herself and is now officially a certified educator to teach the courses; the whole reason why this course has now become available to Novocastrians.

“They’re pretty commonly run in Sydney and Melbourne and from what I understand, everyone that has received the qualification in Newcastle has had to travel to Sydney to get it,” Florence shared.

Offering the WSET Level 2 Award, Vera Wine Forum encourages any member of the public interested in the hospitality industry and the world of wine to sign-up. With no prerequisites, participants will be taken on a deep dive into the major grape varieties of the world, and explore wine regions as well as wine law.

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With the first course kicking off in February, participants include both current hospitality workers as well as a handful of local interested members. The course is offered over eight weeks with 2hr sessions on Tuesday evenings before participants sit for an exam.

“For our inaugural course, we’ve got a really lovely group of people. Everyone is really eager and interested and it’s a mix of both hospitality workers and interested members of the public.”

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The offering is no doubt an investment into Newcastle’s hospitality scene, with local venue owners encouraged to expand their staff’s knowledge of wine by enrolling them into the WSET Level 2 Award.

“If every staff member in a restaurant had done their level 2 course, the quality of service that you would receive would go up tenfold.

“A lot of the restaurant owners that we’ve spoken to may have done the WSET themselves, but their employees hadn’t.  We’re trying to get the ball rolling that this is now offered locally and it’s accessible. It’s not cheap but it really is an investment in your education and in your business.”

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Previously used as a mechanic workshop, the Hamilton venue has had quite the refresh with Florence and Josh tackling the renovations and injecting their own unique personality into the space. Working alongside local interior designer, Brik Design Studio and enlisting the help of local artists Squidless Studios and Lucy Iddo to transform their walls.

 “Our main goal for here was for Florence to offer the WSET courses and also to be able to utilise the space for big fun events where we can bring the community together,” Josh said.

vera wine forum hamilton newcastle nsw

Speaking of community events, the space is playing host to a brand-new event; CRUSHED: A Hamilton Harvest Party. Whilst the event has currently sold out, do keep an eye out as Vera Wine Forum is sure to host a grand selection of food and wine-dedicated events moving into the future.

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Whether you consider yourself a bit of a wine connoisseur and want to expand on your understanding, want to build on your knowledge of the wine industry, or are amongst the hospitality industry and looking at elevating your service offering, check out Vera Wine Forum.