The Birdcage has become an icon of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, evolving from a humble car park to one of the world’s most lavish event spaces for corporate sponsors and their guests.
The Carnival begins with AAMI Victoria Derby Day on November 2, followed by Lexus Melbourne Cup Day on November 5, Kennedy Oaks Day on November 7 and Seppelt Wines Stakes Day on November 9.
This year the Birdcage – which is roughly the size of 65 tennis courts – has taken things to the next level with a fancy new “pink carpet” entrance, a bar in the shape of an actual bird cage and a record 48 plumbed toilets on site.
Mumm, Furphy and Seppelt are all drinks partners of the Carnival and have a glamorous presence trackside.
Leading the pack is Pernod Ricard’s Maison Mumm Hotel, which takes inspiration from the home of Mumm Champagne in Reims and channels some of the world’s leading hotels and retail boutiques.
Behind its lobby-like entrance, guests are greeted by a concierge and if they have a VIP pass, a gilded elevator will whisk them to a private penthouse RSRV suite where the champagne house’s prestige cuvees will be exclusively offered.
The newly launched range features a blanc-de-blanc, a blanc-de-noir, a rose and a low-dose blend of five varieties aged four years at prices ranging from $130 to $180.
Downstairs, an oyster bar will be shucking molluscs live for guests, while more than 10,000 glasses of champagne will be consumed and 14,000 canapes.
Guests inside the marquee can press a button to have waitresses deliver glasses of champagne to them.
Sydney chef Dan Hong (Mr Wong, Ms G’s and Lotus) has created the menu for the Mumm marquee – dishes include banh mi with duck rillettes, bug tails wrapped in brik pastry with nori salt, and hash browns with wasabi creme fraiche.
Catching the Melbourne Cup action from Furphy’s Chapter One
For the second year in the Birdcage, Furphy’s Chapter One, is the place for guests to enjoy a Furphy.
Chapter One from a classic Victorian pub, from a fully formed bookshelf complete with issues of the best reads, to floor-to-ceiling glass windows for the best vantage point of the track.
It features a 10-metre bar with 13 taps offering a range of Lion beers. Geelong footballer Tom Hawkins even jumped behind the bar on Melbourne Cup day to pour a few cold ones.
A collection of broadsides line the walls, featuring famous Victorian stories so guests can take inspiration from the best tales, before watching horse tails race past them to the finish line.
The marquee facade is also designed with a Melbourne-inspired mural, paying homage to the city’s iconic streets. Furphy commissioned artists Jack Miers and Josh Brown to create this custom artwork, which spans over 10 metres.
Complete with bench seats made by the Furphy Foundry, guests are encouraged to sit back and relax.
Chapter One is the largest marquee in the Birdcage, holding up to 400 racegoers each day. Guests will enjoy a gastro-pub inspired menu from Merivale including signature dishes such as Charcoal Sliders made with Furphy Pulled Pork and a Green Apple Relish and the Furphy Glazed Salted Pretzels, a substantial Furphy friendly snack which underwent extensive development to be topped with a Furphy glaze.
Aside from serving Furphy, it’s also a launching pad for Lion’s new alcoholic seltzer Quincy.
The Australian-made, gluten-free, lower carb and lower sugar alcoholic seltzer – containing just a hint of either natural lime or passionfruit flavour – officially launched nationally on November 1.
Seppelt sparkles trackside at the Cup
Seppelt Wines is a Major Partner of the 2019 Melbourne Cup Carnival and Victoria Racing Club. It has naming rights of Seppelt Wines Stakes Day.
During Melbourne Cup Carnival, the brand will host a Seppelt Marquee in the Birdcage enclosure and The Seppelt Prosecco Bar in The Park precinct. A selection of Seppelt wines will also be available from additional venues at Flemington throughout the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
The Seppelt Marquee features terrazzo flooring and large-scale floral installations. The menu will feature several dishes which incorporate some of Seppelt’s leading wines, including Seppelt Wines Stakes Day Signature Dessert – ‘The Lamington’; Edible pink quartz lamington with strawberry and Seppelt Salinger-infused jam; and Oak-aged feta, using barrels of St Peters Shiraz.
Giorgio Linguanti, from That’s Amore Cheese, will be serving guests specialities such as mozzarella, bocconcini and fior di latte.
As per last year, the prosecco bar will once again be styled to reflect the brand’s sophisticated aesthetic and will feature a professional photo booth.
To celebrate this year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival, Seppelt will be releasing a limited edition Spritzed Prosecco wine in a can. The product design is inspired by jockey silks. It will be available on-track at key venues throughout Flemington for Cup week only. The individual cans have a RRP of $10.
Pictured main: Seppelt Chief Winemaker Adam Carnaby with model Rebecca Harding, who has returned as Seppelt Wines Racing Ambassador for 2019.