Welcome to the Wine Bar Revolution: 52 of Melbourne’s best urban and suburban wine bars

Just wanted to let everyone know that I was asked to be a contributor for this new Melbourne wine bar guide, an ideal Christmas gift for the adventurous!

“Have you noticed the quiet revolution taking place across Melbourne city and its suburbs? Where once there was a proliferation of cafes, now it’s wine bars. In any neighbourhood they can be found, from Glen Iris to Kingsville and beyond. In the arc of Carlton to Collingwood, there’s practically a wine bar in every block. Melbourne’s bar scene is now all grown up. 

Melbourne DRINKS WINE features 52 enchanting wine bars, more than half of which opened in the past few years. These are the new grown-up corner stores that express the maturation and essential nature of our relationship with wine. 

The guide profiles bars with Spanish, Italian or French leanings, and also the hyper-specific Project 49 which represents wines from northeastern Victoria’s Beechworth and surrounds. Other venues favour ‘natural’ wines such as Cult of the Vine, while Tom Pockett Cellars negotiates exclusive supply direct from winemakers. The move towards spending on experiences rather than ‘things’ partly explains the growth of these wine bars that retail exquisite bottles of wine to be celebrated and consumed in good company. 

Some wine bars open early for no-reason-required Champagne breakfasts, and many remain open until the small hours. Wine bars are where you can go for a decent coffee after 3pm. They’re our new meeting places, somewhere to prime your appetite with an aperitif or end an evening with a nightcap. Most double as wine stores, so try a glass and buy a bottle on the way home, or make a night of it. Many of the featured wine bars have the kitchen chops to go entree to entree with the city’s best restaurants. 

Wine bars are havens of all that is great about hospitality. They’re inviting, comfortably appointed, usually offering table service and conversational acoustics, with wait staff who are passionate about sharing what they’re serving. From tastings to educational courses or winemaker dinners and wine and food pairings; come for the sheer pleasure of tasting something unique, chosen with care and consideration. 

Luckie Guides are 100% independent. No venues pay to be included. Their format is unique: a deck of cards in a sturdy box with a flip top lid. Each pack features 52 cards profiling a single venue plus two ‘Luckie Seven’ cards featuring seven of the best. For Melbourne DRINKS WINE this means the best regional wine bars and the best online wine boutiques. 

Available online for $14.99 and at good bookshops and gift stores.”

Melbourne Drinks Wine

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The Vincast with Peter Weinberg from Brand’s Laira

Peter Weinberg has been at the helm of Brand’s Laira in the Coonawarra region for almost twenty years, having relocated from the Hunter Valley with experience at Mount Pleasant. Originally from Newcastle his reason for getting into the wine industry was a love of the outdoors and good hard manual labour. On this episode of The Vincast Peter speaks about his journey to becoming the custodian of one of Coonawarra’s most historic vineyards and cellars, and how he has guided the brand since he joined the team.

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Peter Weinberg from Brand’s Laira

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Let’s Taste – By Bodega Geelong Shiraz 2017

I truly love visiting my wholesale customers in Geelong and try to do so as often as I can. They are some of the most welcoming and open-minded wine people I meet, and they have been incredible supporters of my own Vino Intrepido brand. One of my favourites is Union Street Wine in the middle of town, a fantastic wine store and bar that always has new and exciting things to try. I love that Lewis and Andy make some of their own wine as well, and was thrilled to have a chance to taste another wine from their By Bodega range, I’m keen to hear what your thoughts are in the comments below!

Wine tasted;
By Bodega Geelong Shiraz 2017 – RRP $35.00

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December 20, 2018 · 3:47 pm

Let’s Taste – All Saints Estate ‘Bloss’ 2018

Not only have I interviewed Eliza and Angela Brown from All Saints Estate for my podcast The Vincast (https://intrepidwino.com/2017/02/07/the-vincast-episode-115-eliza-angela-brown-from-all-saints-estate/) but I’ve also tasted a few wines submitted by them on previous editions of Let’s Taste. The ‘Bloss’ is a brand new wine released from them recently, so I was thrilled to try something completely new from them! Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Wine Tasted;
All Saints Estate ‘Bloss’ 2018 – RRP $26.00
Website – https://www.allsaintswine.com.au

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December 18, 2018 · 2:38 pm

Let’s Taste – Yalumba ‘The Y Series’ 2018 White & Rosé Wines

Nine months after opening the 2017 vintage of the Yalumba ‘The Y Series’ white and rosé wines, I’m looking at the 2018 vintages. For me this is some of the best value on the market as far as Australian wine goes, and as always it is a privilege to be able to share my impressions. Similar to the 2017 wines there are some that stand out over the others, let me know what you think in the comments below!

Wines tasted;
Yalumba ‘The Y Series’ Riesling 2018 – RRP $15.00
Yalumba ‘The Y Series’ Sauvignon Blanc 2018 – RRP $15.00
Yalumba ‘The Y Series’ Pinot Grigio 2018 – RRP $15.00
Yalumba ‘The Y Series’ Viognier 2018 – RRP $15.00
Yalumba ‘The Y Series’ Chardonnay 2018 – RRP $15.00
Yalumba ‘The Y Series’ Sangiovese Rosé 2018 – RRP $15.00

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December 3, 2018 · 5:10 pm

The Wine Show with Phil Smith from The Wine Depository – 25/11/2018

On the 28th of November 2018 I was privileged to join colleague, friend and multiple-time former guest of the podcast Phil Smith from The Wine Depository on The Wine Show, a weekly program broadcast on 96.5 Inner FM here in Melbourne. Phil has become a regular host of the show which focuses on wine topics and features a co-host as well as several guests via telephone. Our guests on this edition were;

Celia Hinault from Richmond Hill Café & Larder speaking about wine and cheese pairing;

Daniel Balzer from Willem Kurt Wines speaking about vermentino;

Kim Chalmers from Chalmers Wines Australia speaking about importing Italian grape vines; and

Brian Lewis from Bike & Barrel Wines speaking about schioppetino.

Follow Phil on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

Follow James on TwitterInstagram and Facebook

Subscribe to the Intrepid Wino channel on YouTube and watch a few videos!

Follow The Vincast on Twitter and find all the previous episodes here

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunesStitcherPlayerFMPodbean or iHeartRadio, and don’t forget to rate and review!

Check out the Ear Buds network on Facebook!

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Let’s Taste – Morris Classic Liqueur Topaque NV

The Morris Winery in the Northern Victorian region of Rutherglen has a significant amount of history, and was an important contributor to the success of Australian wines in the past, particularly in the context of fortified wines. These incredible gems take serious skill and patience to come together, and are woefully unappreciated by wine consumers these days. I was privileged to have an opportunity to taste the Classic Topaque when Casella Family Brands sent me a sample, let me know what your thoughts are in the comments below.

Wine tasted;
Morris Classic Liqueur Topaque NV – RRP $25.00 (375ml)

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November 26, 2018 · 10:08 pm

Let’s Taste – Heartland ‘Director’s Cut’ Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

The final in a series looking at new releases from Heartland Wines based in the Langhorne Creek region of South Australia. Ben Glaetzer has been crafting exceptional wines at various price points for many years, and these new ‘Directors Cut’ wines are no exception. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Wines tasted;
Heartland ‘Director’s Cut’ Shiraz 2015 – LUC $33.00
Heartland ‘Director’s Cut’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – LUC $33.00
Website – https://heartlandwines.com.au

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November 26, 2018 · 9:49 pm

Let’s Taste – Heartland ‘Foreign Correspondent’ 2018

I’m always grateful to receive samples from Heartland Wines from the #LanghorneCreek region, as much as I appreciate the opportunity to look at alternative varieties and interesting blends. The #ForeignCorrespondent 2018 encompasses all three of these things, being a blend of Dolcetto and Lagrein, two varieties you are highly unlikely to see together in Italy being that they are from different regions. Here are my impressions of this wine, let me know what your thoughts are, or if you’ve seen these varieties together before!

Wine tasted;
Heartland ‘Foreign Correspondent’ Dolcetto Lagrein 2018 – RRP $25.00

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November 26, 2018 · 12:56 pm

Let’s Taste – Peter Lehmann ‘The Barossan’ 2016

Back in my wine retail days I used to sell a fair amount of Peter Lehmann Wines, being both a reliable and very affordable brand. Since that time they have become part of the Casella Family Brands company joining other important and historic brands, and the winery has gone from strength to strength. On this edition I taste ‘The Barossan’ Shiraz 2016 and I’m interested to hear what you think in the comments below!

Wine tasted;
Peter Lehmann ‘The Barossan’ Shiraz 2016 – RRP $25.00

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November 26, 2018 · 12:51 pm