Open that Bottle Night: The perfect excuse to raid the cellar…

It’s been a rough start to 2012. On 5 January, my beloved dad passed away. He’d fought various cancers over the past few years, but sadly, the day after he’d been released from hospital he had a tragic accident at home as he pushed all boundaries trying to explore his newfound freedom.

The loss has really rattled me, and made me reassess what’s important in life. Dad was a passionate man, humble, rather shy (yes I did not get that quality from him) but always up for a good time with his friends. So with a new perspective on mortality, and a philosophy to live every day as if it’s your last, it’s appropriate timing to get behind Open That Bottle Night on 25 February, to raid the cellar and share wines that have sentimental meaning (not necessarily the most expensive, but ones I’ve been wanting to try).

What’s Open that Bottle Night all about?

The concept is not a new one. In fact it was invented over 10 years ago by former Wall Street Journal columnists, John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter as a way to share the many great wine anecdotes they heard from their wine loving readers. The first OTBN stories were printed in their wine column and proved to be hugely popular with their readers. Every year, the event grew and soon OTBN parties were being held all over the world. More info on background

Dorothy and John

Since John and Dottie left the newspaper in 2009, OTBN has lost some momentum so a good friend Liz O’Connell and I (with blessing from the founders John & Dottie), got behind it again last year and were thrilled to see such momentum. The USA is already organizing parties and madly tweeting using #OTBN, let’s hope the momentum can grow even more this year using social media to spread the word.

The wine could be a special vintage from the cellar, your dad’s favourite wine, the wine you enjoyed on your first date or one you bought on a memorable visit to a winery. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just a bottle that means something to you. Or if you aren’t saving a wine (wine is meant to be drunk after all!) OTBN is a good excuse to go out and buy a bottle and treat yourself!

Personally, we tried some interesting and surprising examples at our dinner party last year – some old Rosemount wines that we’d bought on our first trip to the Hunter when learning about wine (all under $10 priced) and then a Mountain Blue Shiraz 1996, A Mt. Panorama Winery Chardonnay that a friend had bought on a trip to Bathurst, d’Arenberg Lucky Lizard 2006, Tyrrell’s HVD Semillon 2005, Carlei Cabernets (last bottle from our wedding),  1995 Plantagenet Mount Barker Cabernet and 2000 Seppelt Drumborg Riesling (the first Brand I’d managed when working in wine) just to name a few. There were plenty of stories and great discussions and it was the perfect reminder why wine can be such a great part of a social setting.

Looking forward to hearing your stories about the wines that will be opened.


Some tips on how to get involved:

Join the OTBN Facebook page and share your favourite wine stories, photos or videos

Follow OTBN on twitter  and use #OTBN in your tweets about wine that you could potentially open

Organise a dinner or OTBN party with wine loving friends or family and ask people to bring along something special for dinner

• Wineries – this is also a great opportunity to open up conversations with your wine club/ mailing lists and encourage them to open some old your wine that they may have stored.

Retailers/ Restaurants – a good promotion for some of your older vintage wines to be on promotion for the night – share your stories on why people should open those bottles.

Wine Writers/ Bloggers – help us spread the word Down Under and advise your readers – this is something everyone can get involved in regardless of their understanding of wine.