PLONK – wine comedy series from Australia

I found this Australian mini-series comedy while visiting Willunga Wino’s blog. Louise wrote an interesting post “5 reasons to watch Plonk season 2” and my curiosity reached the highest level after watching the trailer of the second season. I decided to watch the first one to be up to date and I loved it. A huge barrel of laugh with typical Australian humour!

Let’s have a closer look at Plonk!


PLONK – it’s all about wine shows

The satirical look at the trials and tribulations of making of a ‘serious wine show’ is the main subject of this comedy web series, featuring The Chaser’s Chris Taylor, Nathan Earl and Joshua Tyler playing fictional versions of themselves.

Originally filmed as five online webisodes (February 2014) and later re edited to the three episodes tv series (March 2014), is now continued as a second series of five episodes with first one released in June 2015.

Three main characters of Plonk will take you to different areas of Australian wine regions showing the vineyards, wines and legends of the Australian wine industry. Apart from beautiful views, famous winemakers and wine producers, you will find a lot of Australian humour woven into each of the episodes altogether with lots of hilarious trials and tribulations of everyday life of the film crew.


A meaning of PLONK

This is how the Wikipedia explains it:
“Plonk is a non-specific and derogatory term used primarily in British and Australian English for wine. It is believed to come from Australian slang, in reference to blanc (the French word for “white”), before it became naturalized in Britain. Despite the reference to the colour white, the term is not limited to white wine, and can as easily indicate a red wine or rose.

In Australia, plonk packaged and sold in a cask or simply in a bag is commonly called “goon”.

Today, the term can often be used to indicate that a particular social gathering is not a fancy affair. For example, if a party guest is worried about the social level of the occasion, a host might assuage his or her concerns with the phrase: “Oh, just bring a bottle of plonk.”


PLONK – season one, New South Wales

Plonk season 1 – the trailer:

The first season consists of five about 15 minutes episodes and explores the New South Wales (NSW) wine region with each episode highlighting a different area (1- Murrumbateman, 2- Hunter Valley, 3- Hunter Valley to Mudgee, 4- Mudgee, 5- Orange).

Let’s get through each episode of the first season of Plonk. As it is a web-serial, the webisodes are available for free on YouTube therefore I will attach a link to each episode below, so you can just click ‘play’ and enjoy the Plonk on your own!


Episode 1 – Murrumbateman

“ It is the wine that leads me on…” (Homer, The Oddysey)

Welcome to Murrumbateman, the cool climate wine country! The first day of filming takes place just outside Canberra in Murrumbateman. In the first episode we meet the crew trying to find and interview the female winemakers. We also get familiar with some of the wine producers and places from the area such as: Ken Helm at Helm Wines, Bill Crowe and Jamie Crow at Four Winds Winery, Australian Winemaker of The Year Tim Kirk at Clonakilla Winery, Nick Spencer at Eden Road Wines, The Gundaroo Wine Bar and Capital Wines / Grazing Restaurant.

My favourites from this episode:

  1. Chris about spitting of the wine “such a waste of good wine”
  2. The female researcher (at the beginning of the episode) “so Murrumbateman is probably best known for its cool climate Riesling, Shiraz” Chris: “I love that level of detail”
  3. Josh (in the car on their way to find female winemakers in the region) “I don’t get it. What’s wrong with the male winemakers? Isn’t it a little sexist?”

Watch PLONK Season 01, Episode 01- Murrumbateman (YouTube licence)


Episode 2 – Hunter Valley

“ What I like to drink most is wine that belongs to others…”

In this episode the crew goes to Hunter Valley to interview the legend of the Australian winemaking, Bruce Tyrrell. We get familiar with Bruce’s winery Tyrrell’s Wines and visit Peppers Guest House where Nathan has a big argue with the manager of the hotel about the stolen mini bar. There’s another interesting character appearing in this episode – Stuart MacGill, Australian former cricket player and wine enthusiast who released wine series ‘Uncorked’ in which he explores eight prominent wine growing regions and talks about everyday wine appreciation.

My favourites from this episode:

  1. At the reception of The Peppers Guest House: Receptionist: “And how will you be paying for the minibar?” Nathan: “oh, the guys had the mini bar, did they?”, Receptionist: “no, they took the mini bar” Nathan: “what’s that?”
  2. Josh about the book The Wine Dogs: “Do you mind if I just have a look at that? I just… I am not sure about wine dogs, I just don’t quite get how the dogs actually make the wine, what parts of the process are they involved in (…)”
  3. Chris at the hospital: “I mean, as a winemaker, he doesn’t even really need to have your sight. By blinding him I’d probably just done him a favour and heighten these other senses”

Watch PLONK Season 01, Episode 02- Hunter Valley (YouTube licence)


Episode 3 – Hunter Valley to Mudgee

“ Give me wine to wash me clean of the weather-stains of cares” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

This time Nathan’s film crew head to Mudgee to interview the Semillon guru, Andrew Thomas. The trip through Mudgee is full of the trials and tribulations of making things right, or at least this is what guys think they do. Apart from the icon, Andrew Thomas, we will meet James Manners of the Well Mannered Wine Co, visit the Historic Roth’s Wine Bar and get familiar with High Valley Wine & Cheese Co.
My favourites from this episode:

  1. Lady on the market during the conversation with Chris: “Standing around, tasting wine is.. lively??”
  2. Josh about the Semillon: “Semillon, so what’s in Semillon, what popular is it, just cause it’s a little bit shit?”; Josh: “it’s very sweet”; Winemaker: “no, this is actually pretty dry”; Josh: “yeah, so kind of semi sweet”, winemaker: “no”; winemaker: “So what’s your involvement here?”; Josh: “I’m the expert”.
  3. Chris “I think it’s time for Chris Taylor to have a tree change”; Barmaid: “Is it a cocktail?”

Watch PLONK Season 01, Episode 03- Hunter Valley to Mudgee (YouTube licence)


Episode 4 – Mudgee

“ Quickly, bring me a breaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever” (Aristophanes)

Team Plonk attend a wine appreciation night held by a local winemaker, David Lowe. Someone loses a wine options game, someone else falls in love, someone cheats on during the competition. We have possibility to see the beautiful Mudgee from the… hot air balloon. In this episode we also meet some of the famous producers from the region: David Lowe, Peter Logan at Logan Wines and Johnny Furlong from Two Furlongs Wines.

My favourites from this episode:

  1. Chris: “What a treat, I do love a champagne breakfast. Can we say champagne? (…) I do love a sparkling white wine breakfast”
  2. Chris: “How long would you put the Riesling in barrels for?” winemaker: “aaa, the Riesling, we don’t put in barrel, just stays in tanks, stainless steel tank”; Chris: “Of Course, I knew that”.
  3. Zindzi: “We don’t do wine, we do juice”; Josh: „Wine is just off juice, wine that goes off…”

Watch PLONK Season 01, Episode 04- Mudgee (YouTube licence)


Episode 5 – Orange

“Wine is the most civilized thing in the world” (Ernest Hemingway)

The final episode of Plonk series takes place in Orange. Chris attempts to show off his wine-food pairing skills, the film crew tries to make the highest vineyard in the country look a bit higher and everyone gather at the premiere of Plonk which turns out to be a bit odd party with only three ‘plonks’ present.

My favourites from this episode:

  1. Chris:“It doesn’t look very high, does it?” Nathan: “What are you talking about, it’s the highest vineyard in the country” Chris: “I’m not questioning the actual altitude, I’m just saying from the tv point of view it’s not gonna look anything out of a small hill”
  2. Nathan: “Your mum just touched me in my ass”; Josh:” Oh yes, she loves it”

Watch PLONK Season 01, Episode 05- Orange (YouTube licence)


PLONK – season two, South Australia

In the second season Nathan, Joshua and Chris visit the beautiful South Australia region focusing on six different areas: 1- Adelaide Hills, 2- Clare to Barossa, 3- Barossa, 4- McLaren Vale, 5- Coonawarra, 6- Adelaide.
Check out the official trailer of the second season of PLONK!


What do I like about PLONK?

Plonk reminds me of the great time I spent in Australia at the beginning of this year. It shows the Australian sense of humour which I miss a bit ;) And, what’s also important, some of the wine great personalities are in, who I had pleasure to meet during my wine journey. It makes Plonk even more interesting for me.

I love the way the movie was filmed, it reminds of not very successful movie making by amateurs and this is what makes it real. While watching it I felt like being with my friends on a wine journey, having lots of fun with people like me and visiting amazing places, which are available for everyone.

Apart from that PLONK shows some of the problems the film crews cope with at their day to day basis. It is real and even if it looks funny, trust me, it’s not that funny where you’re in. I used to work in a film industry and I’m still involved in the world of film-making, thanks to my friends, so I know what I’m talking about ;)

The sense of humour in Plonk might be a bit irritating for some of you, but as soon as you get to Australia and learn the way they joke, you will get it and you will find it funny.


You have an opportunity to watch all the episodes for free, so just find some time and enjoy it! I will be very happy to read your opinion in the comment section below, so do not hesitate to leave a message and share your thoughts!


PLONK details:
Title: Plonk, season 1, 5 episodes (2014)
Creation, production and direction: Nathan Earl
Scriptwriting: Nathan Earl, Joshua Tyler
Executive producer: Glen Condie
Director of Photograpy: Aaron Smith
Camera Operator: Tyler Freeman Smith
Sound/Music: Eren ‘Pinky’ Sener, Gavin Marsh (episode 2)
Cast: Chris Taylor, Joshua Tyler, Nathan Earl, Glen Condie, Angus Morton, Georgie Lewin.
Winemakers and producers present in the first season of Plonk:
(episode 1) Bill Crowe, Jamie Crowe, Ken Helm, Tim Kirk, Andrew McEwin, Mark Mooney, Nick Spencer;
(episode 2) Bruce Tyrrell, Stuart MacGill;
(episode 3) AndrewThomas, James Manners;
(episode 4) David Lowe, Johnnie Furlong, Peter Logan;
(the final episode 5) Philip Shaw, Shaun Arantz, Willa Arantz, Dan Ilic, Justin Jarrett, Matt Moran, Will Rikard-Bell, Murray Smith, Charlie Svenson, Tom Ward, Graham Webb.

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