Wine talk can be about as pretentious as it comes. Nonetheless, over the centuries grape-juice has fermented itself into ~culture~ as something you should know about. So now your wine expertise can either improve your European jaunt (or impress a hot date) as much as your lack of said knowledge can embarrass you in front of an important client at a business lunch.
And Sydney, the unofficial capital of Australia, is the perfect place to show off this
savoir vino-faire. Whether it’s your first time meeting the in-laws, you’re hosting an extravagant dinner party, or you’d just like to know your stuff when a waiter hands you the wine list, these are the best wine stores in Sydney.
Kent Street Cellars
1/168 Kent St, Sydney NSW 2000
Sydney may have stunning beaches and more work opportunities than a white collar dude could throw his shirt at, but when it comes to wine it’s painfully evident that we don’t live in Europe. The lack of a siesta economy or local mafias (and our physical distance from places like Italy’s Piedmont) keeps prices high and choice low. Until you discover somewhere like Kent Street Cellars. Whether you’re gifting for a corporate or personal occasion: you’ll find what you need here.
Five Way Cellars
4 Heeley St, Paddington NSW 2021
If you like ‘confidential’ wines (like Bordeaux’s Vins des Gardes) normally available only to connoisseurs and local growers then put Five Way Cellars in Paddington at the top of your bucket (and shopping) list. A slew of satisfied customers on their Facebook page are a testament to the experience you’ll have at this epic Sydney vintage wine cellar.
Jim’s Cellars Woollahra
41 Ocean st, Woollahra, NSW 2025
Woollahra is no Tuscany. However, step inside Jim’s humbly-named Cellars—the suburb’s premiere wine cellar—and you’ll be more spoilt for choice than you would be in any Bordeaux supermarché. Established in 1994, the family business has grown into one of the largest independent liquor retailers in Sydney, serving both Sydney and the rest of Australia.
Jim’s Cellars aim to search the world for the best wine and spirits and provide it to you at a fair price. Although they carry all the mainstream lines, they are moving away from mass produced vintages (which they reckon are too linear in taste profile), embracing alternative ways of attacking your fine motor skills (and worshipping your taste buds) by showcasing Prosecco, Cava, Sparkling, Aperol, Champagne with flavour (such as Gosset, Laurent – Perrier, and Alfred Gratien).
Darlinghurst Fine Wines
407 Bourke St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Darlinghurst Fine Wines, located in the beating heart of one of Sydney’s most vibrant and diverse inner city ‘burbs, is one of the most informative, well stocked wine stores in Australia. They are passionate, have abundant retail knowledge and will provide animated discussion about each and every product: all to help you make good decisions.
“Finally someone with good taste in Sydney.”
They source and sell outstanding products in wine, spirits, beer and cider, all in between hosting ‘educational’ wine experiences. Known for a rich, colourful and fun clientele, they have been trading since 1957, and welcome aspiring connoisseurs to drop by.
The Oak Barrel
152 Elizabeth St, Sydney NSW 2000
Sitting in pride of place on Surrey Hills’ Elizabeth St, The Oak Barrel is one of Australia’s oldest family owned bottle shops (founded in 1956), and is your go-to for natural wine, single malt whisky and craft beer.
Specialists in boutique wine—particularly organic and natural styles—The Oak Barrel is an institution of the Sydney CBD, and boasts one of the best ranges of products in the country. Like its Darlinghurst equivalent, The Oak Barrel provides education classes for wine, whisky and beer throughout the year. Nationally celebrated events such as the Sydney Whisky Fair, Sydney Craft Beer & Cider Fair and the Sydney Craft Spirits Fair also call The Oak Barrel home.
The Wine Society
66 Bay St, Ultimo NSW 2007
The Wine Society is one of the foremost wine shops in Sydney, based in Ultimo, always on the look out for the best independent producers, hard-to-find labels and outstanding wines of now and tomorrow.
“Life’s too short to drink bad wine.”
A veritable team of passionate people who can’t stop reading, writing, talking and of course, drinking—The Wine Society is committed to making sure you are not only learning, exploring and drinking the best wines: but also having a darn good experience while you do it.
Shop 1/780 Bourke St, Redfern NSW 2016
Redfern’s secret elixir, Vine Wine is not just another bottle shop—it’s a providore of fine wines. They stock a diverse range of brews; from everyday quaffing wines to old and rare vintages, as well as an impressive portfolio of exotic spirits and liqueurs and a huge range of both local and imported beers. The staff are friendly, brimming with expertise in the wine and hospitality industries, and are ready to help with any question or purchase decisions you may have.
Cellar Door – Handpicked Wines
50 Kensington St, Chippendale NSW 2008
Chippendale’s Cellar Door isn’t Narnia: it’s better. Where else in the #healthfood capital of the world will you find an escape that actively encourages the consumption of cheese and alcohol? Located in the heart of Sydney CBD, Cellar Door is nestled within a beautiful warehouse next to Central Park and within the same laneway as Koi, Automata, Old Clare Hotel and Spice Alley. They invite you to drop in for a wine tasting, nibbles, or simply to pick up a bottle to go.
Bellevue Hill Bottle Shop
100A Bellevue Rd, Bellevue Hill NSW 2023
With a mixed range and super passionate staff, the Bellevue Hill Bottle Shop is Eastern Sydney’s local cellar door. They take it upon themselves to taste over 100 wines per week—and put the best of these drops on their shelves for you to take home.
119 Harris St, Pyrmont NSW 2009
Porters Pyrmont has a wide variety of brands and up and coming unknown (or, lesser known) labels. Bonus: they also have an education centre attached, so you’ll receive super knowledgeable and personal service.
Porter’s Liquor Balgowlah
404 Sydney Rd, Balgowlah NSW 2093
Porter’s Liquor Balgowlah are the down-to-earth real deal: the managers are across it all. We once saw them spend 15 minutes on a customer and then recommend them a $12 bottle of wine. Honest, friendly, informative. All big ticks from us.