The Humble

Welcome to the Humble Tumbler Adventures in Food & Drink. Thanks for visiting!

We’re an independent group of educators, here to teach you everything you ever wanted to know about adventurous eating and drinking.


We design, write and host courses, masterclasses and corporate events in Melbourne and beyond. Between us we can teach you about wine, whisky, and gin – all delivered with loads of gusto, a bit of quirk and a distinct lack of pretension. Small groups, cool venues, delicious food and great booze – are you ready for the adventure?

Where to?


Where to?


Meet your educators

Or, should we say……heroes

Clare Burder
Wine & Sake

Fred Siggins

Caroline Childerley
The Gin Queen

Tom Kline
International Wine


Here at Humble Tumbler HQ we realise you’re pretty busy…

That’s why we’ve put together classes which run in a one-night format. The Dinner Party Hero series focuses on wine, and we also offer gin and whisky masterclasses too. Hooray! 

Each class is hosted in a fantastic venue in Fitzroy or the CBD and is limited to only 14 people. We provide a glorious amount of cheese and charcuterie to complement the drinks selection – its enough to be considered a light dinner. Our masterclasses always sell out months in advance so if you spot something interesting, don’t hesitate to book in…We look forward to meeting you in a masterclass soon! 

Download the 2018 Overview Schedule Here

Four Week Wine

All the wine, all the cheese, all the fun. So much to appreciate!

When a two hour masterclass just isn’t quite enough, and you’re ready to commit to something altogether bigger, better and more fantastic – the Humble Tumbler Four Week Wine Courses are the ultimate adventure.

See the details below or download the 2018 overview schedule here

Choose from our ‘Introductory’ or ‘Intermediate’ course…’

You Have Options!

We teach two wine courses here at Humble Tumbler HQ: the introductory four week course written and hosted by Clare – which focuses on teaching the basics of wine appreciation, wine buying, wine & food matching + a bunch of other useful info to get you super confident when that wine list hits the table. This course focuses almost entirely on Australian wine and Australian regions, with tastings of over 35 wines across the four classes. This is the course we’ve been teaching since 2012, so if you’ve done a course with us, it’ll be this one. 

The second course is new for 2018. Hooray! It’s designed for those who’ve done the first one, or know the basics of wine production, wine appreciation and wine style already. We call it our intermediate four week course but there really is nothing stopping you from diving right in! It focuses on international wine – particularly the main wines & regions of France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany & South America; with a few wines from NZ and the USA thrown in for good measure. Written and hosted by Tom Kline, this is the ultimate world wine adventure. See below for the glorious details. 

Written and hosted by Clare Burder

Format: 4 x 2.5 hour classes over four weeks. All classes run 6.30 – 9pm and include enough amazing cheese to be considered a light dinner.

Content Overview: This course focuses almost entirely on Australian wine and Australian regions, with tastings of almost 40 incredible wines across the four evenings. We investigate in detail basic wine appreciation, how to judge quality, food matching – and the main grape varieties, regions and wine styles in Australia. You’ll also learn all about winemaking, how wine pricing works, the key vintages to look out for, how to understand wine labels, how wines are classified on wine lists and bottle shop shelves plus a bunch of other useful info to get you super confident when that wine list hits the table. You’ll hear great stories about the wines and winemakers, get some insight into the wine industry (and how it communicates with consumers) and get loads of fantastic recommendations around where and what to drink in Melbourne and beyond.  

Overall it’s unpretentious, fun, interactive and very much aimed at providing you with insightful, practical & truthful information to help you buy, drink and talk about wine in a way that suits you and your lifestyle.

Who is this course for?: This course has been written specifically to cater to people who love drinking wine but are still quietly mystified by the sheer amount of information out there. As an introductory/101 course, you don’t need any prior knowledge – just an interest in wine! You’ll receive a fantastic little book filled to the brim with all of the course content – including maps, buying guides and all those pro-tips that will make your wine buying decisions easy. And because our courses are super social & interactive, you’ll get ample opportunity to have your questions answered, make new friends and legitimately have cheese for dinner four nights in a month. 

Week one: We kick off this great course with introduction into vineyards, regions, grape varieties & wine regions. Sounds pretty standard huh! It’s true, but you have to start somewhere! Things get more interactive when we teach you how to taste and tell you all about what is going on in your brain/mouth/nose when you taste wine. We move on to investigate the fantastic worlds of riesling & sauvignon blanc and introduce the three main concepts behind food and wine matching.

Week Two: In week two we teach you how white wine is made and the main flavours/styles/categories of the white wine spectrum. We taste a great lineup of Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and finish off with a bracket of ‘other’ white wines – fantastic things like Viognier, Arneis and orange wine. Also in this class we tackle the debate around natural wine, preservatives and labelling – and of course, continue exploring food and wine matching in glorious detail. 

Week Three: This is the big reds week! Kicking off with an introduction to red winemaking, we taste a great lineup of Pinot Noir before delving into the inky worlds of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. We talk all about cellaring, pricing & serving, decanting and any other little bits and pieces that come up, while continuing to talk all about red wine and food matching.

Week Four: We kick off the last class with a bracket of ‘other reds’  – lovely wines like Tempranillo and Sangiovese. After finishing off the reds section with any unanswered questions, we then move onto the world of sparkling wine – learning about how it’s made, the main styles and how to distinguish quality. We finish with an incredible lineup of Aussie sparkling, and a toast to the end of the course with a cheeky little dessert wine.

You should book soon, it’s pretty fun! See you there 🙂 

Written and hosted by Tom Kline

Format: 4 x 2.5 hour classes over four weeks. All classes run 6.30 – 9pm and include enough amazing cheese to be considered a light dinner.

Content Overview: This course covers everything you need to know about buying, cellaring, drinking, understanding and enjoying imported wine. You’ll get the low down on how each country organises their quality tiers, which grape varieties & wine are grown and made in each main region, how different regions have their own unique blends, great stories about traditional versus modern winemaking approaches, how the pricing works, the key vintages to look out for, how these wines are classified on wine lists and bottle shop shelves and loads more. Throughout the course, there will also be chat around food matching, collecting, gifting and cellaring. We focus on wines that are available in Australia so once the course is finished, you can continue your drinking adventures with cool confidence. 

Who is this course ideal for: We call this course ‘intermediate’ but really it’s suitable for anyone who has an interest in wines of the world. If you’ve done our ‘Introductory’ course, this is the perfect follow on, but if you haven’t, no stress, you’ll be absolutely fine to jump straight into this course. Tom will bring you up to speed in no time at all!  You’ll receive a fantastic little book filled to the brim with all of the course content – including maps, buying guides and all those pro-tips that will make your wine buying decisions easy. 

Overall it’s unpretentious, fun, interactive and very much aimed at providing you with insightful, practical & truthful information to help you buy, drink and talk about wine in a way that suits you and your lifestyle.

Week one – Spain & Portugal: We kick off with Spain and Portugal. This class begins with an introduction to the course & imported wine in general, plus a quick overview about ‘how to taste’ and how to make judgements on quality. After enjoying some fantastic Spanish sparkling on arrival, we work through eight wines chosen specifically to give you the best understanding of Spanish and Portuguese wines – from sparkling, whites, reds and of course, Sherry. We cover the DO system, main varieties and regions, where and what to buy to suit your taste and any food matches you need to know about. 

Week Two – Italy: Italy is probably the most complicated out of any country but we’ve done the hard yards to simplify it to the most useful, most delicious and most important. Kicking off with an introduction to the DOCG/DOC/IGT system (after drinking some Prosecco of course), we work through 8 wines, covering the major regions of Piedmont, Veneto, Tuscany, the South & Sicily; exploring the stories, varieties and styles. We’ll talk collecting, cellaring, food matching also, and send you home inspired to enjoy plenty more La Dolce Vita in your life. 

Week Three – France: For it’s size and importance, France is delightfully simple when it comes to wine, compared to Italy anyway. In this class we focus on the main regions, varieties, pricing and blends – with a fantastic extended bracket on Burgundy (pinot noir and chardonnay) & Chablis (chardonnay) to really explore this fantastic region in detail. We also taste wines from Champagne, Loire, Rhone, Bordeaux to round out this big week of fancy French booze. 

Week Four – NZ, Germany & South America: We spend the last week talking you through a superb line-up of other important wines in the world. We’ll taste thing like NZ Pinot Noir & Syrah, German Riesling and South American reds. This lineup features 8 wines that showcase the very best these countries have to offer and we’ll arm you with some short sharp go-to’s to get you acquainted with these significant regions to expand your drinking repertoire. 

Wondering where your course will be held? We use venues in and around Fitzroy, or sometimes the CBD. Our venues are always quiet, close to public transport and more importantly, have a nice feel to them so you can concentrate on the important business of learning about wine. Email for the specifics. 

Dietary Requirements: We can cater for vegetarians, coeliacs & other intolerances. However we can’t cater for vegans sorry – as some of the wines used are fined with egg or fish products. 

Transport: Each class serves up between 7 – 9 wine samples, about 2-3 glasses. We wouldn’t recommend driving home after class, but our venues are always close to public transport.

Can I come along on my own? Yes absolutely! We take great care to make sure everyone feels comfortable and welcome – don’t worry, we’ll look after you! 

Wine Courses Schedule

The Ultimate Adventure


''Clare’s knowledge of wine is impressive and she manages to impart this while notdescending 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.. ''

Cara - Wine Course Student

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Gift Vouchers

The vouchers are handmade, personalised with your greetings/message and finished off in a sexy matt-black envelope.

Here’s how to make it happen

You unfortunately can’t buy vouchers instantly online but the process is super quick! You can buy vouchers for a specific event, or a dollar amount so the recipient can choose their own adventure (eg. wine courses are $350 and all masterclasses are $115). Here’s how it works:

  1. Fill in the details below and click submit
    You can now add a signed copy of Clare’s book ‘Tipsy‘ and/or a bottle of the rather fancy Eminence Sparkling to your gift voucher. Hooray! 
  2. Clare will get back to you shortly (generally within a few hours) confirming all the details.
  3. The customised voucher is created and express posted from Melbourne.
  4. Once posted, Clare will send you an email containing a payment link (or invoice) and a tracking number.
  5. You get a nice warm fuzzy feeling for buying something for someone that supports local enterprise and is ALSO a great experience. Win. Win! 
  • This form goes straight to Clare’s inbox if you have any queries add to the content box above. Thanks!.

Have a look at the masterclass or wine course schedules on this page, and when you find the dates that suit you, please email to book or confirm your place. 

What are the expiry terms? For vouchers purchased in December, they expire in the following November – as our schedule runs only from March through to November. For vouchers purchased in other months, the vouchers expire one year from purchase. These terms are included on a slip of paper inside each voucher so the recipient has a clear understanding.

What happens if I can’t make the event that is listed on the voucher? If your voucher lists a specific event, you have been pencilled in to the booking list and are required to email to confirm your attendance. To be eligible for a full transfer credit in any case, The Humble Tumbler must receive 14 days notice. With less notice, you will lose your booking and all investment associated with it. In some cases we may have the ability to find other events for you, however, this is at the discretion of administration.

What happens if I I don’t want to go along? Voucher are not refundable, nor can they be exchanged for cash or wine.

How can I organise another place for a friend, family member or partner? Easy! Just email Clare to allocate as many places as you need. Clare will invoice the appropriate person.

If I missed out on the class I’d like to attend, what do I do? There is a slip of paper inside each voucher recommending that the recipient book in as early as possible to avoid missing out. We take no responsibility for contacting recipients prior to booking and if the event of choice is sold out there is always something else fantastic happening you can come along to.

Tipsy the Book

Did we mention we wrote a book? Tipsy is your ultimate guide to drinking well.

This is a book for anyone who’d like to know what they’re drinking without wading through the details. It’ll help you pick the right wine for dinner, explain the difference between pale ale and pilsner, and maybe even inspire a new passion for whisky, gin or sake. Written by Melbourne booze-expert Clare Burder, (and edited by the Humble Tumbler A-Team of Fred Siggins, Caroline Childerley and James Smith) Tipsy is a fun and accessible illustrated guide to help you know your way around a bottle shop, cocktail bar, fancy wine list or craft brewery.

Get your signed copy HERE.

Your Teachers

We know about your favourite drinks, and we’re nice people!

Clare Burder – Wine & Sake Educator

Clare has been working in the wine industry for over 14 years. She’s written about wine, made wine, taught wine appreciation, sold wine, drank a lot of wine and in general has spent most of her career talking about wine. That might have been behind a counter at a cellar door, in a wine shop, at public tastings, on stage, hosting corporate events or at one of the wine courses or masterclasses she’s written. She calls herself a wine educator but her passion – really – is to bridge the gap between consumers and wine brands. She runs The Humble Tumbler – a business dedicated to teaching consumers about wine, whisky & gin – and Vintuition – a consultancy practice specialising in training for cellar door staff. She also helps make & sell her family’s wine labels ‘Eminence’ and ‘Nimbostratus’ and in 2016 her book ‘Tipsy’ won the Wine Communicators Award for best wine book. She’s splits her time between Melbourne and the King Valley.

Tom Kline – International Wine Guy

Tom Kline is not your typical wine guy. He’s actually a talented and highly respected musician who just happens to have an absolute obsession with wine. Tom teaches our International Wine Course, which as you might expect is an extravaganza of all things Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany and South America. And this suits Tom perfectly – he loves learning about the world of wine, and passing this super useful & insightful knowledge onto his students. Tom wrote the course from scratch, and with his disarming, humble nature and encyclopaedic wine brain, he was born to teach it. It’s the only course of its kind in Melbourne and we think it’s the bees knees. Get involved!

Caroline Childerley – The Gin Queen

Caroline Childerley is The Gin Queen – which is probably the best job in the world. With a background in marketing, Caroline began writing about Gin, doing tastings and building relationships with our distillery community. Fast forward five or so years and she now runs a crazy successful consultancy, hosts all sorts of incredible events, is the woman behind Australia’s top Gin festival Junipalooza, hosts Gin Distillery Tours and in 2017 was awarded the first Australian membership into the Gin Guild of London. Needless to say, she knows her stuff, is a wonderful host and we love having her at Humble Tumbler for her two masterclasses : Gin 101 and Australian Gin. 

Fred Siggins – Whisky

Fred is the Humble Tumbler whisky guy. And as you might have realised, we like to invite only the best of the best to teach our students – Fred is no exception. With almost 20 years experience in bars, cocktails and the business of booze, Fred is  *the* whisky guy. He spends his days as the strategy manager for a little whisky brand called Sullivans Cove, and then moonlights as a whisky educator for Humble Tumbler when time permits. He designs all of the classes, sources the whisky and has a knack for telling all the wonderful/crazy stories around the worlds greatest drink. His classes always sell out so if you see something you like, make sure to nab a ticket.