The Sydney Festival Village comes alive with great James Estate Wines that can be matched with the food

While many may attend the Sydney Festival to see the world’s best performing and visual arts, others are flocking to the Sydney Festival Village to sample the food and wine on offer.

The Sydney Festival Village (running from 7 – 29 January 2017) has plenty of delicious eats and exceptional James Estate Wine at the heart of the city at Hyde Park.

James Estate Wines is the official wine partner of the Sydney Festival and has introduced their 2016 wine varietals to the Festival including their Chardonnay, Verdelho, Sweet Surrender (a sweet Semillon), Rose, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc and, the most popular drink this summer, Frosé (frozen Rose). The whites are crisp and vibrant and the reds are the richest varietals.  James Estate wines are 100 percent grown in the Upper Hunter region of Baerami, and each wine is a reflection of the varietals the Hunter does best.

These wines can all be purchased from the Sydney Festival x James Estate Wine Bar for $9.50 with a $2 deposit on the glass, which is refunded when you finish your last drink and return the glass.

The Sydney Festival x James Estate Wine Bar is the perfect place to kick back in the afternoon after work during the warm summer nights. You can grab your favourite wine and match it with the food from the food outlets.

Below, I matched the wines from the following food outlets: Sake Restaurant, Mary’s Newtown, Fratelli Fresh and Bodega..

The most common grape grown in the Upper Hunter Region is the Chardonnay grape. The wine is characterised by its rich, oaky flavours and with peachy and cream notes. Chardonnay can be paired with a variety of food including poultry, pork and seafood, especially those with a heavy cream and butter base. Also, oysters, salmon, crab cakes and cheeses match well.

At the Festival, the 2016 Estate Chardonnay matched with the Sake’s famous prawn shumai with spicy ponzu from Sake Restaurant, the Duck Ragu pasta with orange, bitter chocolate and grana padano from Fratelli Fresh, and the fried chicken wings from Mary’s Newtown.  It also would have matched with the Grilled Chicken pie (leek and tarragon pie with creamed corn) from Porteno, which I did not try.


The 2016 Estate Verdelho has tropical aromas of banana and peach with a dry palate of passionfruit and grapefruit and a zesty finish.  It matches perfectly with spicy Asian dishes and seafood.

At the Festival, the 2016 Estate Verdelho was matched with the Yeah Dog (pork hot dog, fried onion, mustard, ketchup, cheese sauce) from Mary’s Newtown.

The 2016 Sweet Surrender (a sweet semillon) is partially fermented and bottled. It has tropical notes of passionfruit, green melon, and peach with a lingering citrus flavour. Due to the partial fermentation, it is great as an aperitif served with canapes and cheeses.

At the Festival, the 2016 Sweet Surrender was matched with Fratelli’s crispy squid loaded hot dog with Italian seasoning, lime aioli, parmesan fross in a brioche bun.

The 2016 Estate Rose is a blend of Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes. It has aromas of fresh strawberries, watermelon and a hint of cinnamon and a juicy palete of red berry fruit and spice. It is perfect with a cheese platter or a barbecue lunch.

At the Festival, the 2016 Estate Rose matched with Caprese Salad (heirloom tomato, burrata, buffalo mozzarella, basit oil, croutons from Fratelli Fresh or a Mary’s burger.


Shiraz is the most popular red varietal drunk in Australia and the Hunter Valley has the most oldest vines. Shiraz is best served with beef and pork dishes.

At the Festival, the 2015 Shiraz was matched with Kirin Braised Lamb Ribs with furikake spice, Kirin-Ake sauce and Japanese slaw from Sake Restaurant. Mary’s burger and Mary’s cheese burger would have also matched.

Similar to the Shiraz, the Cabernet Franc is best served with roast chicken, pork, roasted and grilled beef, duck, sausage, lamb and veal. You could also try it with hearty fish dishes and soft and hard cheeses.

At the Festival, the 2015 Cabernet Franc was matched with the Chimichanga Pibil (deep fried buritto with pork, rice, beans and cheese) from Bodega.

Food such as fries match perfectly with champagne, sparkling or beer (of almost any kind). However, matching it could be tricky when there are toppings. These fries are from Fratelli Fresh and were covered with Italian seasoning, truffle aioli and parmesan. For simplicity, I enjoyed them on their own.

The popular drink this summer is the Frosé (frozen rose). This drink is perfect for a hot summers day. I enjoyed this drink alone without matching it to any food.

The bespoke James Estate licensed bar is open from 4pm daily (but closed on Monday), and will also be served at The Domain Symphony Under The Stars, as well as VIP events throughout the festival.

Head to or to find out more!


A night at Sydney Festival’s Meriton Festival Village

Sydney Festival’s Meriton Festival Village is the ultimate oasis of musical and theatrical delights, along with plenty of delicious eats, all in the heart of the city at Hyde Park. It’s the perfect place to kick back in the afternoons or kick on into the warm summer nights.

A great selection of food and beverages are available from 12pm and the licensed bars are open from 4pm. Food and beverages purchased at the Festival Village can be consumed while watching a musical or theatrical production.

On Friday 22 January 2016, I went to watch the theatrical production, Songs of the Fallen, and sampled a number of the James Estate wines at the James Estate Wine bar at the Meriton Festival Village.

Songs of the Fallen is a cabaret musical about the life of Marie Duplessis, the peasant-girl-turned-courtesan and La Traviata muse, who died at 23 from consumption.

James Estate wines are wines that are built on a foundation of quality, experience and a sense of “place” that encapsulates the lifestyle and creative spirit of the Hunter Valley.

James Estate grapes are grown in the region and made and bottled onsite. This means every part of the process is in the hands of our highly experienced and innovative winemakers.

James Estate spreads across two sites in the Hunter Valley – the Cellar Door in Pokolbin and Vineyard in Baerami, with plantings dating back to 1968.

For more information about Sydney Festival, go to or phone 1300 856 876.

For more information about James Estate wines, go to:

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