Over the last few years, natural, organic and sustainable wines have edged their way into Sydney's heart.
Some more funky varietals might still be a leap too far for more traditional drinkers, but these days natural wines feature regularly on wine lists for restaurants, bars and pubs alike. The definition of natural vino is a broad one, but they're typically small-batch, produced sustainably and involve a lot less chemical intervention (and, in theory, no hangover).
If you're looking to play at home, there are a few heroes selling bottles of the good stuff in Sydney.
Here are eight of the best boutique bottle shops to shop natural, organic and sustainable wine—as well as boutique spirits, sake and craft beer.
DRNKS kicked off its life as one of the country’s first online natural, sustainable and organic wine stores. In 2019, founder Joel Amos found a bricks-and-mortar spot for his covetable collection of hard-to-find, down to earth natural wines. The DRNKS bottle shop is a very welcome slice of the overhaul of The George hotel in Waterloo—and one of our favourite Sydney bottle-o's for a well-priced, very tasty bottle of the natural stuff.
Some 400 wines line the walls here, as well as beers, spirits and sake. Unlike some artisanal shops, DRNKS is low on the fuss factor. Amongst the funky tasting skin-contact drops, you’ll find 250ml VB twist-tops and Melbourne Bitter. Best part? They also hold regular wine and beer tastings with winemakers.
The Drink Hive
The Drink Hive is an artisanal bottle shop located inside the Cannery in Rosebery. With refillable beer and wine stations, this place is big on sustainability. You can nab yourself unique drops from local boutique suppliers, as this place stocks a range of exclusive craft beers, spirits and ciders.
If you’re over the range at the pub bottle-o down the road, Vine Providore in leafy East Redfern is your new favourite place. With a huge range of top-notch wines, hand-selected from some of the best vineyards across Australia and the world, this place has got something for everyone. From budget-friendly to high-end bottles, the knowledgeable staff at VP will help you to find your perfect drop.
The Oak Barrel
Haled as the one of the city’s oldest independent bottle shops, The Oak Barrel is a go-to for anyone that takes their booze seriously. You won’t find VB or Yellow Tail here as this veteran stocks only the finest wines, ales and whiskeys sourced from all over the world. The Oak Barrel also regularly hosts tasting nights, where you can sip and sample top-notch wine. They host regular natural wine appreciation nights too, meaning you can learn more about how those tasty drops are made and why they taste so good.
P&V Wine Merchants
P&V Wine Merchants is a bottle shop slash tasting bar run by the hospitality heavyweights behind Mary’s, The Lansdowne and The Unicorn. With an emphasis on natural wines, artisan spirits and craft beers sourced from local suppliers, you can get your grog to take-away or saddle up the tasting bar between 4pm - 8pm daily. You can also grab take-away pre-mixed cocktails by the litre from local favourites, Earl’s Juke Joint and Bloodwood and TV dinners whipped up by the Mary’s crew. This place takes date night at home to a whole new level.
Five Way Cellars
The team at Five Way Cellars sure know a thing or two about wine and are also more than willing to help you find the perfect drop. Five Way Cellars have got quality natural and organic wines for small budgets and wine lovers looking to splurge.
Darlinghurst Fine Wines
Having been around since the late 1950s, the staff at Darlinghurst Fine Wines are passionate and knowledgeable about wines, beers, spirits and ciders and maintaining a reputation for superior quality. This place is pretty much an encyclopedia on booze at your fingertips complete with hand-selected quality drops sourced locally and globally.
This bottle shop is elegant and sleek, adorned with native florals and polished timbers. The owners were looking to provide booze enthusiasts with a beautiful place to browse a carefully selected range of local, small-batch wine, spirits from Australia only. A far cry from your commercialised supermarket grog outlet slinging cheap mass-produced products, Native Drops is an artisanal cellar with a big focus on natural wines, spirits and beers from family-run suppliers.
While you're here, check out all the new restaurant, cafe and bar openings we're excited about this month.
Image credit: Jahsie Ault.