Rooftops are heating up, but for our money 2016 has been the Year of the Wine Bar. You can't buy an apartment or stumble into a clothing store lately without also finding an attached shrine dedicated to all things vin. Here are the best new wine bars around Melbourne.
If you drink wine here you are helping to save the planet. Super-heroic delusion is our excuse anyway. ReWine is inspired by European wineries where you BYO empty bottles (or any containers you can lug home, really) to fill from the barrel with a tipple of your choice or even a custom blend. Aside from being eco-friendly, this less packaging approach is also wallet-friendly. The addition of a wine bar means you can enjoy a glass before you commit. As a bonus for taking a seat, you can scoff one of their already-famous duck and mushroom jaffles on the side.
Pull up a stool, practice pronouncing this new venue's name—"commtwah" after your third glass—and don't be intimidated that two of Australia's biggest wine brains are behind the bar. El Presidente of Sommeliers Australia David Lawler and fellow somm Tim Sacklin have teamed up to launch new this wine store and bar. Both have previously helped shape the drinks service at Vue de Monde and Rockpool Group, among other heavy-hitting hospo establishments. So your drop is near guaranteed to taste great. The globe-trotting yet uncluttered collection here is unashamedly biased towards what the duo personally like; Chardonnay, Pinot and Riesling in particular. David says, "we don't want to be hemmed by a particular theme or whatever's really hot right now; this is just about what is delicious."
Wolfe & Molone
Watch out Bentleigh you've finally got your very own wine bar. Thank sisters Tanya and Monique Hanouch who want to create a space for afternooners; the practice of "just stopping in for a quick drink" and then - oops - staying for dinner (liquid-or-otherwise). The wine love is strong with this one. Tanya started collecting bottles at 20, an age when the only thing the rest of us were collecting were hand-stamps from dodgy nightclubs. Wolfe & Molone offers wine from across the world alongside sustainable, ethical eats sourced much closer to home.
Wine 1160's idea of a perfect match is Champagne paired with chef Michelle Curtis' Gruyere-salted popcorn (ours too). Their aim for this soon-to-be neighbourhood meeting place, is to tell the story behind the 160+ bottles of deliciousness they offer. They plan to host meet and greets with the mostly small, Victorian wine-makers they showcase and the leather, rough-hewn fabrics and antique brickwork of their stripped-back interiors will give off an appropriately earthy vibe. Doors due to open in February 2017.
We'd quite like to have a drink with Boris Skossyreff the late, self-proclaimed and likely loopy "King of Andorra" (which is a little principality sandwiched between Spain and France). We don't know that we'd believe much of what might spill from his lips, but it certainly would be entertaining. Also entertaining, are the "easy pickings" of charcuterie, cheese and wine at Little Andorra who have taken on old Boris as a patron saint of sorts. They might just have the best soundtrack of any wine bar in Melbourne spinning blues, bluegrass, Americana folk, New Orleans funk and rockabilly on vinyl sourced from the record store just down the road. Don't forget to grab a seat in their picturesque courtyard for a rosé session when you can.
They say the human body is 65% water. Depending on the day however, we're betting that our bodies are probably more like 50% coffee and 50% vino. Obviously Napier Quarter appeals as both a corner espresso hub and wine bar. It caters to our fancies no matter the time; from a steamy cup of Allpress Carmelo with your four-minute eggs in the morning, to their artisan tasting platters accompanied by a bottle from a carefully crafted list not too much later in the day. Order the Novello by Shobbrook and you won't go wrong (they recommend this lighter red chilled for Summer and we are so on board).
Eva On Drummond
Markov's new little sister has moved on in. Eva on Drummond has snuck under the radar as a happy little work in progress. GM Peter Norwood recently returned from Spain and France with his head filled with memories of Basque, Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. Based on these adventures he called on Ben Knight of Ben and Wine to create a list - soon set to double to 150+ wines - that is "good fun", full of drops designed to drink now, not to sit forgotten on shelves or in cellars. They will also offer bottled cocktails and cocktails on tap if you are in the mood for something stronger to go with late night bites like crispy croquettes, requisite fries and cauliflower fritters.
Keep an eye out for these...
• TV chef Adrian Richardson has taken on the bars of the Big Apple with Bouvier new to Brunswick East.
• Windsor is the latest suburb to get a Meatball & Wine Bar with more focus on natural wines and Italian cocktails.
• Tanner & Teague will soon open their wine bar to complement their Fitzroy fashion and lifestyle store.
• XM4 St Kilda is a super new navy, pink and copper cafe by day, soon to be wine bar by night.
• Bouzy is coming soon to Armadale and bringing the Frenchy fun times with them.
• Guy Grossi is planning to install a wine bar in the lane behind Grossi Florentino in the first half of next year.
Feel like a beer instead? Here are 7 new bars you need to check out.
Image credit: Griffin Simm