Australian wine is something to behold. The reds and whites produced on these shores are some of the best in the world, so it’s no wonder that the vast majority of what’s produced here is sent overseas. Fortunately, we get to hold on to our fair share, which is then divvied out in bars and restaurants all over the country.
However, the best place to experience the very best Australian reds and Australian whites is at a dedicated wine bar. Wine bars are dedicated to sourcing the latest and greatest vintages from producers you would have definitely heard of and those lesser-known.
But which ones are the best in the city? Allow us to put you out of your misery with this list that has been as carefully curated as the wine lists at the bars themselves.
City Wine Shop
Good things come in pairs, something that is certainly the case for this traditional wine bar which also doubles as a bottle shop. The iconic City Wine Shop is the product of a collective who also run some of the city’s hottest drinking holes.
This means character and charm ooze the moment you walk in and doesn’t stop until you’ve got a nice tipple in your hand or decent bottle on your way out. A fine selection of European wines is the speciality here and there’s enough to satisfy the most curious palate along with cheeses from the grocer next door.
Address: 159 Spring St, Melbourne, 3000
Phone: 03 9654 6657
CRU is the place to be when the sun begins to set and the cravings for a fine glass of red beckons. The cosy front bar flows seamlessly into the private dining room which makes for one memorable dinner complete with access to CRU’s resident wine guy who’ll happily show you the ropes. Not that you’d need it…
Address: 916 Glenferrie Road, Kew, 3101
Phone: 03 9818 4366
The Ugly Duckling
Ugly is a subjective word and in our opinion, this place is damn sexy in a stripped back kind of way. The Ugly Duckling is a contemporary table service cocktail and wine bar but it’s so much more than that. Designed to reflect a high-end residential living space, this wine bar is intimate yet sophisticated, with a light-filled seating area at the rear and a moody, monolithic bar upon entrance.
The wine on offer here is also ace, with a specially curated wine list boasting the best in local and international beverages. Antipasto style food is also available for pairing with wines so you can go home both happy and full.
Address: 238 Swan Street, Cremorne, 3121
Phone: 03 9429 1498
The efficiency of Melbourne folk can’t be argued with. Want your wine to go after a decent session with friends? No problem. Toorak Cellars is both a bottle shop and wine bar which sources and acquires some of the best wines from around the world at any price point. The bar boasts a rotating wine menu via 20 different labels to ensure that every drop is unique and full of flavour.
Address: 18 Beatty Avenue, Armadale, 3143
Phone: 03 9822 2070
Elwood locals have something to be happy about, with The Milton serving up over 120 wines to the thirsty crowds in a raw brick and wood space that glistens way into the night. Whether it be for an after work stint or something a bit more romantic, guests can sample the wine and cheese pairings as the night goes on.
Address: 134 Ormond Road, Elwood, 3184
Phone: 03 9525 7346
Bellota Wine Bar
Bellota brings to fruition a long-held desire to provide a venue that showcases the great wines of the world in an exuberant setting alongside beautifully executed food. Borrowing aspects from the European bar culture, the space boasts a sweeping bespoke bar, large salumi and cheese cabinet and a traditional leather banquette.
Wine is, of course, the name of the game here with a constantly changing selection of wines by the glass, taste and half carafe, as well as some premium selections poured from the Coravin. If that’s not enough guests can slide into the wine store next door with over 4,000 bottles in stock.
Address: 181 Bank Street, South Melbourne, 3205
Phone: 03 9078 8381
Smalls is a wine bar in South Melbourne with a focus on small wine producers from all over the world. With seating for just 24 people and a walk-in only policy, the establishment can easily modify their wine list and food pairings with haste. Smalls also offers takeaway bottle service if you want to savour that last drop at home.
Address: 20 Yarra Place, South Melbourne, 3205
Phone: 03 9132 8960
Be enthralled by the uninterrupted views of Spring Street and the Parliament House from the rooftop quarters of Siglo. It’s an extravagant affair for those looking for something special in terms of service, wine, cocktails and a decent late night atmosphere.
Siglo is especially popular with groups, so if you’re keen for a celebration make sure to book ahead for space overlooking the side as sunset comes around. Also, did someone say Melbourne date spot?
Address: 2/161 Spring Street, Melbourne, 3000
Phone: 03 9654 6631
Carlton Wine Room
The Carlton Wine Room is all about the old school, boasting warm, instinctive hospitality paired with wholesome European food, and a wine list that “flits easily between ‘textural’ and Italian varieties from the Old and New Worlds”. That means it’s pretty damn good in our language. Good for small gatherings or groups, this is a must-visit for wine junkies.
Address: 172-174 Faraday Street, Carlton, 3053
Phone: 03 9347 2626
Taking its name from the European mountainous region, The Alps specialises in wines from the neighbouring wine regions of Burgundy, Alto, Jura and Veneto, to name a few. It’s not Europe-dominated however, as The Alps also has a generous selection of wines from Australia too, allowing you to chop and change between local and international as you see fit.
Address: 64 Commercial Road, Prahran, 3181
Phone: 03 9529 4988
The Hills Wine Bar
We imagine most people will say the best pairing for wine is cheese. While that can be true, we think the pairing of wine with pizza is far better and that’s exactly what you get at The Hills. With a wine list boasting some 300 bottles and 20 of those being available by the glass, there’s certainly plenty to try. And with those wines being paired perfectly with the pizzas on offer, you’ll walk away totally satisfied.
Address: 141 Union Road, Surrey Hills, 3127
Phone: 03 9890 3739