In recent years, the concept of “sober curiosity” has steadily grown, as countless individuals seek to drink less alcohol and explore a more mindful and healthier approach to socialising – and I for one have been increasingly curious.
However, as an avid wine lover, I’ve often felt that unfortunately many non-alcoholic alternatives haven’t quite cut it in the taste department. Over the past several years I’ve trialled countless alcohol-free wines, but I just haven’t been satisfied. Whilst I’ve enjoyed cutting back on alcohol, I haven’t enjoyed sacrificing the taste and, quite frankly, some of the fun social activities that can come with drinking wine.
One such activity is an outing to a cellar door – who doesn’t love going to a cellar door?!
Well, for anyone who is sober, sober curious, or those who aren’t looking to cut back at all but, have an appreciation for the craft of wine and beverage making, I have great news for you; now you can have the complete cellar door experience – the tour, the tasting, and the optional food pairing (which is incredible) – all without the alcohol, and more importantly, the hangover. Where is this amazing cellar door, you ask? Lucky for us, NONHQ, the world’s first inaugural non-alcoholic cellar door, just so happens to be located right here in Australia, Melbourne to be exact.
When I entered NONHQ, “cellar door” didn’t initially spring to mind. The clean cut and chic aesthetic was far removed from the wine barrels and warm tones I was expecting; however, the design has been cleverly thought out and the interiors match NON’s brand to a tee.
The space, along with NON’s labelling and packaging, was designed by Todd Vanneste the Creative Director of Weekdays, who’s also led design work for ‘The Smoking Camel’ (from the ‘Light Years’ crew), ‘Tortas and Tacos’, and ‘The Keys Leisure Centre’, to name a few.
NONHQ feels like a modern art gallery/showroom meets distillery – the style is unique and memorable. The space has a real vibe about it, and you instantly know that NON mean business.
As part of the intimate 10-person tour, now available to book online, you’ll get a real insight into how each of NON’s wines are concocted, created, and packaged, all of which is done on-site at NONHQ. On my tour, Innovation Brewer, Nick Cozen led a ‘creating and cooking’ demonstration which was held in the sleek, almost laboratory-esque custom built kitchen. Nick talked us through how NON products are made, with their goal being not to mimic the taste of wine, but to replicate the experience you have when drinking it.
“Wine is the perfect example of something that’s really well balanced. So, when we talk about dealcoholised wine (once you remove the alcohol out of it) suddenly it throws [the drink] out of balance. What we like to do here at NON, is build up all of those pillars…the minerality, the floral notes, the tannins, the body, the acidity, from the ground up”.Nick Cozen
I can safely say, NON does this so very well. Each wine was well balanced, and most importantly, delicious and quaffable. Over the course of the day I sampled all seven of NON’s current wines, and I genuinely was not disappointed by a single one. I did have my favourites though; ‘NON3 – Toasted Cinnamon & Yuzu’ tasted like an Italian Summer, and ‘NON1 – Salted Raspberry & Chamomile’ was a refreshing delight to the palate.
What’s great about the tour is that you meet the makers and really learn the ins and outs of NON and what they’re about. Aaron Trotman (NON’s Founder) was beautifully open about his vision for the company, and what he wants NON to continue achieving and perfecting.
“Our goal is to provide complete transparency on how NON is made and to offer a unique and innovative non-alcoholic beverage experience that fosters appreciation and inclusivity”.Aaron Trotman
Aaron’s vision feels brilliant and pure. He wants beautiful tasting beverages, which help promote social inclusivity for those not partaking in alcohol, all without compromising on quality or taste.
NON’s commitment to sustainability is also very impressive. All products are made with 100% green energy, then shipped carbon-neutrally. The makers use as much of the raw ingredients as possible during processing, and for any leftover matter, NON take advantage of Melbourne City Council’s green waste program. And what’s truly beautiful – NON uses 75% less water wastage compared to traditional beverage manufacturing. Their moto (which I love) is ‘leave the place better than you found it’.
So whenever you want to treat yourself to a delicious beverage, you can sleep easy knowing that by drinking a NON wine you are consuming a product that’s been created in Australia with 100% green energy, has been made with as many local ingredients as possible… and is alcohol free (so zero chance of a hangover). What’s not to love!
Tours run on the first Friday of every month and are $50 pp. Book via the website.
NONHQ is located at 79 Taunton Drive, Cheltenham, VIC 3192
Our Editor was a guest of NON.
Imagery provided by NON.