Comedians and vignerons have a lot in common.
Each year they create a new product to share with the world what they love to do; for comedians it’s a new show, for vignerons it’s the year’s vintage.
Comedian and wine lover Merrick Watts thought it was about time the two came together.
Since its inception in 2017, the Grapes of Mirth comedy, food and wine event has sold out eight venues in wine regions around the country and will come to The Station on 11 May for Newcastle’s inaugural taste of the fun.
It brings together seven comedians including Denise Scott, Nazeem Hussain and Luke McGregor with six Hunter wine producers and multiple food vendors for a relaxed afternoon with friends.
“It always just comes back to sharing – share wine, share food, share conversation and share a laugh,” Watts tells Newcastle Weekly.
“If it was any more relaxed you’d be asleep.”
The idea for Grapes of Mirth was born from Watts’ experience hosting wine industry events, where he noticed just how relaxed his audience was.
“I thought, ‘Why can’t that vibe be accessible to the public?’,” he says.
“Keeping that vibe is really important to us.
“We’re not trying to put on a Big Day Out event, you don’t have to have a Red Bull and vodka and sit on somebody’s shoulders.”
Running from 2pm to 9pm, a cruisy evening is planned to allow plenty of time to taste great local drops, grab a bite and, most importantly, have a conversation with the people around you.
“It’s a really fun way to enjoy comedy,” Watts says.
“We do things differently to a gala show so there’s a longer break and you’re not rushed in and out of a venue.
“We really make the most of having the venue all day.”
This will be Grapes of Mirth’s first foray into the region, with Newcastle’s proximity to the Hunter Valley wineries and revitalisation positioning the city as an ideal location.
“To be honest, I just really like Newy,” Watts says.
“Newcastle is an emerging city – it’s got a really good vibe and new confidence now.
“I really like that.”
Tickets are on sale at grapesofmirth.com.au