Adina Pentridge's Olivine Beverage Manager Liinaa Berry

With curated wine experiences in high demand, HM spoke to hotel sommeliers to get an insight into key trends in this area.

Here, The Interlude Wine Curator, Liinaa Berry, shares an insight into her career journey and discusses the wine experience at TFE Hotels’ Pentridge accommodation precinct.

How did you get into the world of wine?

Being from Mauritius, I didn’t grow up with a wine culture – it is a rum country, so food initially attracted me to wine. And good cooking was an important part of my upbringing. Working in Melbourne, I quickly became fascinated by the complexities of wine, whether it was from blind tasting to matching wine with food, I wanted to know it all.

I began training up on the job at Melbourne Supper Club. I then travelled back home to work in the 5-star Constance Hotels in both Mauritius and the Seychelles, which boast an extensive wine program with strong mentorship from visiting experts and winemakers. But I didn’t start my wine journey until I was 27 – after eight years working in hospitality across various roles.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

To travel around the planet accessing some truly mystical wines. To taste with the vignerons/winemakers who craft those wines; to talk with them and understand their philosophy beyond the making of wine; and to deep dive into the way they interpret nature to create those layered complex wines that we love to drink so much. It is both an art and a science.

What wines are proving popular with guests at the moment?

Guests are looking to enjoy wines that are unknown to them, and they’re looking for adventure. With a sommelier to guide them, they’ll discover new things all the time. With the great value wines with amazing complexity coming from places in Spain, Portugal, Austria, Slovenia and, of course, locally, there are a huge spectrum of flavours to experience. Alternative varieties made locally like Aligoté, Gamay, Cinsault, Trousseau, Barbera, are also becoming popular.

Are there any climate impacts on vines in the region this year?

Climate impacts on vines all the time without respite. 2023 is proving to be a cooler year and a lot of producers haven’t even started picking their grapes yet. This year there is a long ripening season which will mean phenolic ripeness (that is the changes in the tannins that occur in grape skins, seeds, and stems). Everyone I’m speaking to is talking about a great vintage.

What’s involved in the wine experience at the new entertainment and dining precinct in Pentridge?

Excitingly, the wine experience extends to a few brands at Melbourne’s newest dining and entertainment precinct at Pentridge. With Olivine wine bar and the nearby bistro, North & Common, we have a wine list of 525 labels. The list is known as the Book of Wine and has been curated to give context and narrative to wine, with wine maps designed by a local artist. It is divided into chapters with a preface and an epilogue.

Wine will also be the focus of our curated special events. Guests who book an experiential stay at our 19-suite urban retreat, The Interlude, will have access to elevated experiences that extend beyond The Book of Wine. Special events, MICE and wedding guests will also have their own wine immersion points, with access to special wine tastings like Time Travel with Wine, where we showcase of the same grape from recent vintage versus an older vintage. Other themes look at the same wine from different regions. So, rather than a story of time, we now go into a story of place, like a vintage 2014 Gewürztraminer from Australia versus one from France.