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How raves are getting Gen Z into wine

A new approach to getting Generation Z into wine is taking shape across London, Europe and other global cities: the wine rave.

One of the leading proponents of the burgeoning scene is New Theory, which was set up by Charlie and Thom Bradley. They’ve created low-intervention wines from South Africa that are distributed in retailers such as Selfridges. But this is only part of the story.

The most interesting element is the creation of their ‘wine raves’ to promote the bottles. Rather than a traditional wine tasting with rows of glassware, spittoons, cheese boards and a stale, uninviting conference room or a upmarket natural wine bar in an expensive part of London, they decided to do a ‘wine rave’.

This is exactly as you would imagine it to be. A Hackney studio or warehouse with pumping beats from local artists served alongside their wines.

Golden ticket

The first event took place last year, and was priced at a modest £26 for a glass of one of their wines, food, and of course tunes. It was dubbed by The Times as one of the “golden tickets’ for the summer, and the producer is set to return to the event this year.

But this isn’t the only rave in town – far from it. In fact, this coming bank holiday weekend Joshua Bratt of Fitzrovia’s Carousel and Jake Norman from Italian restaurant Trullo are hosting the tenth version of their own ‘wine rave’, delivered through pop-up concept Close Ties.

Alongside Diarmuid Goodwin from Sager+Wilde, they will take over the wine bar at Carousel offering a range of snacks and wines while “back-to-back” DJs spin tunes.

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New York

What is happening in London is often happening also across The Pond, so it is unsurprising that the idea of a wine rave has also taken off States-side.

So-called ‘wine jockeys’ are subverting the traditional idea of a wine party, and introducing wine to nightclubbers who would normally be reaching for an RTD or even just a bottle of water.

One such institution is the rather fantasical – and fantastically – named Bêvèrãgęš which is seeking to showcase wine’s potential to clubbers who may have grown tired of buying soapy beers and sickly cocktails.

Europe and beyond

Of course, it wouldn’t be a rave without Berlin, so it comes as no surprise that the trend from wine raves has also hit the German capital, which is famous for its clubs such as Berghain. Indeed, one savvy producer has even named its Riesling after the club.

It is arguable that the pandemic perhaps temporarily arrested the trend, before it picked up again.

Indeed, as far back as 2018, DJ Magazine reported on Machine du Vin festival, which saw a number of famous DJs and acts perform across three days of wine, food and music at medieval L’Abbaye-Chateau de Camon.

And in Australia, there is Wine Machine, which turns from a more relaxed day time event into an evening dance party. The event aims to match the country’s outstanding wine regions with musicians from the country.


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