Well, it’s that time of year again, as we gather in one of Melbourne’s hidden underground gems; and give thanks to the winemakers of Champagne.
Each day thousands of people pass the closed Criss cross pattern wrought iron gates at 191 Collins Street Melbourne.
Without even wondering what lies beyond the aged facade of this Gothic narrow entrance.
One of Melbourne’s most beautiful, yet hidden underground gems; Well below street level, as you wander down several flights of stairs, illuminated by lights from a bygone era. A grand old space filled with large chandlers hanging from the roof, held in place by solid chains clinging from the hand-crafted dark wood panels that line the ceiling and the walls draped with heavy curtains.
The lost trades built by craftsmen long passed, skills and craftsmanship never to be seen again in this day and age.
The Plaza Ball Room opens once a year to the wine trade and the (general public for a fee) this is your chance to try, Champagne sip after sip.
Champagne and the many blends that go into the making of so many different styles and levels of sweetness from Demi-sec sweet to Doux the sweetest to Zero dosage (dry as a bone) to Brut every bodys favourite.
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A wine that is the pinnacle of success, a wine for celebrations, to convey joy, happiness, a win, your birthday or the fact you just want to spoil yourself for no reason at all. This is the pleasure of Champagne.
Along with the thought of the once noisy parties, dancing the sound of big bands of the 40s and 60s belting out the tunes of the day.
The raging misbehaviour and the copious amount of Champagne that has been spilt let alone consumed by the gentry of the Commonwealth in this underground time capsule.
For myself the Champagne is secondary, a treat on the day. Really it is the grandeur of The Plaza Ballroom itself that is the real highlight of my day. A chance to stand each year in and be a part of Melbourne’s hidden underground, a place that few people even know exists.
Even if only for two or three hours a chance to relax sip Grand Cru Champagne and let the mind wander back to simple times when mobile phones and computers hadn’t even been imagined!