As we celebrate the new year and nearing the end of summer, we find ourselves sprawled across our local beach with a picnic basket in tow, full of many treats to enjoy with friends and family. It is no doubt that good company, French linen, and great wine will always result in a beautiful time. We sat down with Keegan, the owner of Ok. Wines to talk about how to pick the perfect wine for your next summer picnic, and to get a further insight in how the Gold-Coast based organic wine delivery service came to fruition (no pun intended).
What is the purpose and goal behind Ok. Wines?
I'm from the Gold Coast, but spent time working in natural wine shops, bars and restaurants in London from 2015 to 2017. When I moved home, I found a thriving new hospitality scene where I could drink a lot of the wines that were familiar to me at local restaurants, however, there was very little in the way of retail, so I started looking into setting up Ok. Wines. Our whole brand identity is based around making good, well-made and ethically-produced wines, accessible to as many people as possible. There's this certain air of elitism around fine wine that has always made it unapproachable to the everyday person. Whilst it's certainly getting better, we're here to do away with the tweed vests and stuff rooms and tell people it's ok to drink your wine at the beach with a container of hummus.
What is the appeal of natural wine as opposed to traditional wines?
Apart from the pretty labels and colours!? What defines 'natural' wines can be rather ambiguous, it really depends on who you talk to in the industry. But for us at Ok. Wines, this means the vineyards are managed using organic or biodynamic methods, there's often no fining or filtration during the winemaking process, and very little, or in many cases, no sulphur is added when bottling. All the wines we sell are made by small operators, often a husband and wife duo, or a couple of friends. But at the end of the day, you're getting a product that if made well is a pure representation of the land or area it comes from. The French call it 'terroir'.
What are the perfect wines for summer dining, such as a picnic?
This summer we're all about Prosecco and Rose. Well-made Prosecco is up there with some of the tastiest sparkling wines, but it still has a carefree attitude about it as opposed to its French counterpart, Champagne. We simply have a love affair with Rose - again, well-made rose is going to offer you some of the best drinking for your buck, but it's approachable for everyone, and no one is going to care if you throw a few ice cubes in your glass! In fact, we encourage it.
Best wine recommendation for a grazing board?
Cheese and wine go together like... well, cheese and wine. Don't get too fussy about matching or pairing. If you're trying to please a crowd, go for a chilled red or orange wine. Chilled reds are usually light on the pallet and have good acidity that can cut through fatty cheeses and meats, but still robust enough to hold up to stronger flavours. Orange wines are white wines made with the grape skins still intact when macerating (like red wines). Because of this, they get a lot of tannins from the skins so they can match with a wider variety of foods. However, they still have those flavours that pair really well with fruits, etc.