Sorry Thanks I Love You
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DRNKS

DRNKS

Some might say that if you’re raised on a vineyard in the McLaren Valley then your fate is sealed at a fairly young age.   

For Joel Amos, founder of the internet’s best small batch natural wine store DRNKS, it took a little longer. 

While the South Australian grew up making wine on the family vineyard on the frighteningly picturesque Maslin Beach, dabbled in a viticulture degree and even worked vineyards around Austraila and France for a while, when it came to his career the lure of the music industry eventually won out – and he followed his nose to Sydney.

Joel played drums in a few punk bands in Adelaide, but in Sydney he became a DJ known variously as Magic Happens, Cleric Apton, Saul Goodman, Johnny Deep and Master Celebrator. But his main gig was in touring with the infamous Modular Records. 

“It was a pretty phenomenal experience,” says Joel. “We got to work with some amazing talent: Tame Impala, The Presets, Bang Gang…”

Joel eventually founded his passion project, DRNKS, because he realised that nothing like it existed in the world. 

“I worked in wine retail for a long time, and worked with two online stores as well… [but] there was no site specifically focused on natural wine,” says Joel. “So we decided to do it. Now there’s heaps of them. Lol.” 

DRNKS might not be the only beast of its kind any more, but it’s by far the most unique.  Joel  focuses on sourcing organic and biodynamic wines from family-owned labels.  “Eighty percent of what we get is direct from growers and makers,” Joel explains. “I’ve been around the industry for about 25 years so kind of know everyone. The rest is from excellent distributors and importers who bring in things we love.” 

There are orange wines from Mount Gambier, reds made by friends in ancient ruins in the Loire, sediment-filled whites from Franken, Pet Nats from Tasmania and even a wine called “Frankly This Wine Was Made by Bob.”

What ties them together, other than hilarious tasting notes, is a deliciously noticeable absence of synthetics.   

“Wine in Australia has become a lot more homogenised then people realise,” Joel says. “There are hundreds of chemical additives you can put in wine, but don’t need to list on the label.” 

In between stocking up the 400 product-strong DRNKS cellar and opening his latest conquest, an all-natural wine shop at the newly re-opened Waterloo watering hole The George (which he co-owns along with The Duke in Enmore), Joel has curated two special packs of natural wines exclusively for Sorry Thanks I Love You, all eight of which will be available to try at two casual in-store tastings in June. 

Natural wines from tiny vineyards in Tasmania, Margaret Rivver, Gippsland, Abruzzo and even Joel’s home town will all be available to swill and refill. While registration for both Thursday night tastings is free, attendance will be capped.  There’s no word yet on music, though.

“I still DJ at our pubs every now and then,” Joel says. “I’m the last resort.”

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DRNKS natural wine tastings will be held from 5-7pm on 13 June and 20 June at Sorry Thanks I Love You, No 1 Martin Place, Sydney.

Registration is free but attendance will be capped. To join us, click here.