The Humble Tumbler: Wine Course

For the last four weeks I have been getting the best sort of education – an education in wine.  Clare Burder is a young and unpretentious wine maker who has just started running short courses in wine appreciation through her business known as The Humble Tumbler.  She invited me to come along to one of the courses (which ran on Tuesday nights during July) and I jumped at the opportunity as while I know what I like to drink I don’t know why I like it, let alone have any ability to articulate that.

Clare Burder – photo from the Humble Tumbler

Held in the atmospheric “cave” room under Backstreet Eating in Fitzroy the charcuterie hanging around us to cure set the tone for what was to be a very foodie take on wine.  For each type of wine we discussed Clare had suggestions for wine and food matching plus lots of interesting food to accompany our tastings from jelly beans provided to identify flavours to brilliant stinky cheeses from La Latteria or the Milawa Cheese Room.

Cheese selection at The Humble Tumbler

Clare’s knowledge of wine is impressive and she manages to impart this while not descending into wine wankery.  Instead, a chardonnay is described as “having a bit of an ego” while cabernet is “the donut wine because it has a hole in the middle”.  Some of the wine mysteries Clare illuminated for me included which wine regions suit which varieties, which wine goes well well with char grilled food, and the difference between pinot grigio and pinot gris.

I liked the emphasis on tasting rather than just talking in the course.  Over the four weeks we tasted around 30 Australian wines – with a focus on boutique and independent wineries.  All were affordable and I have left the course with Clare’s book which is fabulous as well as a great shopping list to stock my cellar (well cupboard, let’s be honest here I don’t have a cellar).

Tasting in progress at The Humble Tumbler

While after four weeks I’m still no wine expert I’m a lot more confident when it comes to wine and have been introduced to some really interesting varieties of wine, styles of wine making and boutique wineries which I would never have discovered by myself.

I’m really sad that the Humble Tumbler course has come to an end as I found our Tuesday evening classes so enjoyable as well as informative.  Clare keeps class sizes very small (around 10 people) so that there are lots of opportunity to ask questions and enjoy generous tastings.

Gourmet Chick was a guest of The Humble Tumbler

Details: The Humble Tumbler.  The next course starts on 7 August and runs for two hours on Tuesday nights for four weeks at Backstreet Eating, 152 Kerr Street, Fitzroy, Vic 3065.  Check the Humble Tumbler website for more upcoming course details.      
Damage:  Pricey. $350 – but I think it’s worth it.


  1. I’m tooootally no wine expert, and I don’t think I’ll ever be! Good to know it’s worth it for the cost 🙂

  2. Wine classes are great! I went on a great one recently and it really made me look at wine in a completely different light! 🙂

  3. This sounds like a great wine course for foodies

  4. Andi – It was so much fun – and I learnt lots as well.

    Shellie – Me too, but I enjoy practicing!

    Lorraine – Yes same for me – really eye opening.

    Anon – It is perfect for foodies as there is heaps of food and great wine and food matching tips as well.

  5. […] took my whiskey drinking Dad along because I’m a big fan of Clare’s from The Humble Tumbler wine course so I thought if anyone can demystify whiskey for me it’s Clare. Clare has teamed up with whiskey […]

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