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August 21, 2014

Your Saturday night: Drinking with delinquents

Delinquente Wine Co has just released a Nero D’Avola Rosato - the perfect drink to accompany the sunshine making its way back into our lives this week.

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  • Pictures: Josie Withers, courtesy of Delinquente Wine Co
  • Words: Farrin Foster

Specialising in lesser-known Southern Italian varieties, Con-Greg Grigoriou’s Delinquente Wine Co mixes accessibility with generations of wine knowledge.

The son of wine professional Chris Grigoriou, who has been managing high-volume wineries in the Riverland and Barossa Valley for more than 35 years, Con-Greg spent his childhood playing between vats and barrels.

As an adult, he moved to Melbourne and worked in advertising, thinking he would like to “get as far away from the wine industry as possible”. A combination of factors brought him back to Adelaide where he was once again drawn into the world of fermented grapes by the strength of his vision for Delinquente.

“The idea had been bubbling along for a while,” he says. “I love these varieties, and I think I just saw an opportunity to make awesome wine from the place I grew up, but put my own slant on it as well.”

The Delinquente range makes use of under-appreciated grape types from the Riverland that naturally grow well in the South Australian climate. The label debuted last year with a punchy Montepulciano and very drink-able Vermentino. Now, a clean Nero D’Avola Rosato that Con-Greg describes as “a bit of an experiment” with which he is “so happy”, joins the stable.

“I think I just saw an opportunity to make awesome wine from the place I grew up, but put my own slant on it as well.”

Regular introduction of new small-batch trial varieties will form a mainstay of Delinquente’s output.

“The plan is to keep the offering tight and concise,” says Con-Greg, “but also do some really small batch, special stuff year to year – collaborate with other winemakers and grape growers, and keep things fresh.”

Aside from the innovative use of uncommon varietals, the other thing that makes Delinquente stand out is its aesthetic. Masterminded by Con-Greg in conjunction with CityMag favourite Ankles, the bottle labels depict a suite of characters set against hand-drawn type.

“I had the name, and was introduced by a mutual friend to Ankles who ended up designing all of the visuals. He got the idea immediately and I just sort of let him run with it,” says Con-Greg.

“The Delinquents – the characters that adorn each label – were influenced by pop culture references, but also just people that Ankles saw on the street. I wanted it to be ugly and confronting and weird, but still sort of beautiful and cool, which I think it definitely is.”

The wines are already being poured in bars such as Clever Little Tailor and Bank Street Social and sell through independent bottle shops, including Melbourne’s renowned Blackhearts and Sparrows.

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