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 vino is a regular feature on wine lists at our favourite restaurants, bars and pubs alike. The definition of natural wine is a broad one, but they're typically small-batch, produced sustainably, and involve a lot less chemical intervention (and, in theory, no hangover).
And thankfully, if you're looking to play at home in the era of iso, there are a few heroes selling bottles of the good stuff in Sydney.
Here are nine of the best boutique bottle shops to shop natural, organic and sustainable wine, as well as hard-to-find organic 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. Housed in a corner of The George in Waterloo, it is easily one of our favourite Sydney bottlos 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.
In the face of COVID-19, DRNKS has seriously kicked their home-delivery operation into gear, offering the most reliable same-day drop-off that we've encountered so far, as well as a range of pantry goods (hand made pasta from Ragazzi, anyone?), mezcal, bottle cocktails, sausages from LP's meats and more. Major hats off to the DRNKS team.
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 bottlo down the road, Vine Providore in leafy East Redfern is your new favourite place. The bottle shop was named liquor store of the year in 2019—and it's not too hard to see why. With a huge range of top-notch wines, hand-selected from some of the best vineyards across Australia and the world, you'll be hard-pressed to pick up something bad or even average at Vine. From budget-friendly vino to high-end bottles, the knowledgeable staff at VP will help you to find your perfect drop. And yes—you can shop online, with free delivery if you are within 5km of the store.
The Oak Barrel
Hailed as 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 Jacob's Creek 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 + Liquor
If you're into natural wine, P&V needs to be on your radar. With strong community vibes, incredible local natural wines for days and days, and a fridge packed with ready-to-go picnic snacks, P&V is a big-time highlight on the Sydney foodie scene.
If you drop in, expect to encounter tastings with local winemakers as well as super-knowledgeable staff who speak a much more relaxed, chill language of wine. Alongside rows of pet nat, fizz, orange, amber, red and white wines, you'll find heaps of craft beers, boutique spirits, non-alcoholic spirits, cider, sake and more.
Everything is available to shop online too (including Wapango organic oysters by the dozen and cute-looking cocktail kits), with same-day delivery available if you get your order in ahead of 12pm.
Five Way Cellars
Found in a pint-sized spot on Heeley Street at Five Ways, family-run Five Way Cellars has been in the biz for over 30 years. Curated by three generations of wine collectors, Five Way Cellars is a real diamond in the rough—another Sydney bottle shop where it's near impossible to buy a bad drop.
Specialising in the best from Europe and Australia, Five Way is a collector's dream where you'll also come across super rare finds like organic and biodynamic wine from Sonoma, California (swoon).
Darlinghurst Fine Wines
Located right next to Taylor Square and Oxford Street, Darlinghurst Fine Wines has been around since 1957—which gives them some serious street cred. This place is pretty much an encyclopedia of booze at your fingertips, complete with hand-selected quality drops sourced locally and globally. While you can't shop online, a visit to the shop will see you soak up a little wine knowledge from Darlinghurst Fine Wines' excellent staff. Not in Darlinghurst? The bottleshop has two sister outlets, one in Paddington, and one in Rushcutters Bay.
Not Wasted wants to help you make better decisions around wine and not just whether or not you need that fourth glass (you probably do) but proper, grown-up, smart decisions about wine. Basically, their MO is about supporting sustainable wine-making practices—which is an epic baseline if you ask us. The online-only bottlo offers a curated selection of natural wines, and for us lucky Sydney kids, same-day delivery of said wine is also on the cards. Check it out here.
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 and 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. You can shop online too.
Want to learn more about natural wine from NSW? Here are a few of our favourites.
Image credit: Not Wasted