The annual Hot Dub Wine Machine festival has been and gone for another year. Celebrating the very best of Australia’s wine regions, the festival travels to different locations around the country. Its formula for success is to combine two things that Australians love: good wine and good music. As the festival demonstrates, these two go hand in hand.  This year, the festival set up in Canberra on the Saturday before Easter, which was the most beautiful and sunny 30 degree day. It was also the last day of daylight savings, which meant that the afternoon stretched on well past 7pm, and everyone was treated to a perfect sunset.

Sometimes I think festivals can be quite overwhelming in terms of their size – with multiple stages it’s easy to feel like you’re missing out on some of the action. Not so at Wine Machine. I liked this festival because it was relatively small with one main stage, yet it didn’t feel cramped at all, and had plenty of space for people to set up a picnic blanket on the lawns, or dance in the mosh pit.

The festival was separated into three main areas: “The Goonies” (VIP Deck) with a games lawn at the top, the stage in the middle, and “The Cellar Door” which housed the bars at the bottom of the festival area. The Goonies had a private bar, and a badminton court and lawn bowls set up, with lots of places for people to settle down on a picnic blankets. The relaxed atmosphere was made even more so by the wine flowing from the bars.

I think it’s pretty special that Canberra’s very own Pialligo Estate is featured as part of the festival. To have such a notable winery right in our city is very impressive and something to be proud of and support. As part of the festival, each bar showcased a number of different types of wine, including rosé, sauvignon blanc and with the festival tagline ‘Best. Chardy. Ever.’, chardonnay of course. There were also a few different beers, ciders and cocktails on offer, but the main event was definitely the wine.

My guest and I were able to snag a table in ‘The Goonies’ section at the top of the hill. We shared a charcuterie platter which showcased some of Pialligo’s delicious fresh meats and cheeses and it was a great accompaniment to a chilled glass of white wine. Our spot on the hill meant that we could look out over the rest of the festival, and it was relaxing to just sit in the sun drinking wine and enjoying the last long afternoon of the summer.

The musical line-up included the likes of Sneaky Sound System, The Kite String Tangle and Owl Eyes, and closed with crowd favourite Hot Dub Time Machine. The music throughout the day was fun and upbeat, with a mix of old classics and new music on the scene. The DJs and performers kept the crowd dancing for most of the afternoon and well into the night. For people who wanted to dance there was a large area by the stage which filled up as the night went on.

This festival is probably the most instagrammable I’ve ever been to. Big arched signs designated the different areas, and there were plenty of backdrops to pose against, including a wall of white flowers, an arch of wine bottles, and the natural backdrop of the vineyard itself.

Down in The Cellar Door, there was an area set up where people could have their hair braided and glitter-fied. There were also a number of comfy couches to lounge on, and a swinging bench to share with a friend and have your picture taken.

The entire atmosphere was quite bohemian and relaxed, and the day was like a last farewell to summer. The sunset was so picturesque as it set over the hills of the winery, it was almost as if the festival planners had organised it! It rounded off the day’s events nicely and set the tone for a fun night filled with dancing and more wine.

If you like wine and you like music, and want to have a day out with a group of friends enjoying the best of both, this is definitely the festival for you. Make sure you purchase tickets for the next event as soon as you can because they sell out quickly! You can also follow Hot Dub Wine Machine on Facebook to find out more about future festivals and upcoming events.