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Pouring red wine at Old Palm Liqour
Photograph: Parker Blain

Where to drink natural wine in Melbourne

If sustainability is your schtick, try these wine bars and restaurants around Melbourne pouring minimal-intervention drops

Nola James
Written by
Nola James
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Natural wine is really having a moment in Melbourne, with lots of oenophiles looking for organic, biodynamic and low-intervention drops. Whetner you want funky and weird or just biodynamic and low-intervention, we've rounded up our favourite Melbourne spots to get a glass of the good stuff.

Rather stay in? Stock up on a few bottles of natural vino from these Melbourne bottle shops.  

  • Restaurants
  • Vegan
  • Melbourne

This North Melbourne newcomer is a natural wine bar first, vegetarian restaurant second. Co-owner Mathew Guthrie, who has been vegan for 20 years, was tired of going out to eat at veg-focused venues and feeling short-changed by the wine list, so he opened a wine bar that was fit to purpose. Its list of local and international wines — all sourced from regeneratively farmed vineyards — comes from Sebastian Zotti, a WSET-trained wine educator. The menu has a wide Mediterranean influence, with dishes designed to match the list of mostly vegan wines from Australia and the EU. 

  • Bars
  • Fitzroy North

Public Wine Shop is the very model of the modern-era wine bar. There’s soul spinning on the turntable, rows of wine bottles lining the brick wall and a communal table to rule them all. Altogether, it adds up to that incalculable feeling that you’ve somehow stumbled into a mate’s place rather than the new haunt of one of Australia’s most promising chefs.

 

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Collingwood

Collingwood’s first sustainable wine dispensary is the summation of Rahel Goldmann and Ron Davis' 30 years of collective hospitality experience. After working in restaurants and wine stores across Europe and Australia, the German/Australian duo were inspired to find a way to bring sustainable wines to consumers – sans single-use packaging. 

  • Bars
  • Brunswick

For most bars, music is an afterthought — something to set the vibe or get people dancing, at most. Well, not all bars are Waxflower, a Br­unswick “soundbar” modelled on the listening bars of Japan, where patrons relax with a glass of nattty, sustainable or biodynamic wine while listening to vinyl on high-end audio equipment. 

 

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  • Bars
  • Collingwood

A wine bar and digital radio station operated out of a creative arts precinct housed in a disused school. It doesn’t get more Melbourne than that. Hope St Radio is run out of Collingwood Yards and aims to bring the community together through championing local musicians, produce and natural wine – the 60-strong wine list highlights the best of the new-age natty stuff. 

  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Carlton North

Henry Sugar brings a quiet magic to Carlton. Everything is well considered and polished, from the glossy service to the playful menu. Since it's opening in 2016, the venue has served up natural and minimal intervention wines – so pick the brains of the helpful team the next time you're in.

 

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Brunswick

This East Brunswick wine bar, a spin-off of North Carlton’s Neighbourhood Wine, serves more than 300 low-intervention and biodynamic wines, with plenty of skin-contact whites and chilled reds to boot. During lockdown, the crew delivered lo-fi booze to thirsty Melburnians with a beat-up Holden ute with the words 'Beers and Natties' written on the doors in duct tape. If that isn’t worthy of an Australia Day honour, then we’ll eat our hats. It’s business as usual from this point forward, so expect 70s ski-lodge vibes from the brown and beige-accented interior and a daily evolving menu of snacks crunchy, salty and sweet.

Embla
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars
  • Melbourne
  • price 2 of 4

With its funky wine list, late-night Negronis and fire-licked small plates, Embla re-defined Melbourne’s fast-evolving wine bar scene when it opened in 2017. Six Covid-19 lockdowns and thousands of take-home meal packs later and it’s back in business for all your after-work natty wine needs. Chef Dave Verheul and wine guy Christian McCabe are still at the helm, and you might even see more of them with Lesa, their restaurant upstairs, still closed post-pandemic (or mid-pandemic, who the hell knows!). The wine list changes at lightning speed, so expect the best of organic, bio-dynamic and lo-fi here.

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Fitzroy
  • price 2 of 4

One of Melbourne’s OG natural wine spots (and Time Out’s Wine Bar of the Year 2020), Bar Liberty still nails next-level wine bar while looking effortlessly cool. Six years after opening, there have been a few changes. Banjo Harris Plane (of this goon tasting video that never gets old) is no longer the bar’s wine buyer. In his stead, Josh Begbie (ex-Restaurant Shik, Emblacurates a list that ranges from undervalued wines by the glass to hard-to-find gems. In the kitchen, Zackary Leon Furst (ex- Ides, Atticais dousing barramundi in cider butter and tarragon and searing scallops with pickled beetroot and horseradish. Perfect wine bar food for the perfect wine bar.

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Footscray

This jumpin’ Footscray venue is owned and run by Mark Nelson of Collingwood bar and bottle shop The Moon and Malvern’s Milton Wine Shop. It is objectively not pretentious – yes, the list is stacked with 120+ natural wines from the likes of Bobar and Dirty Black Denim, but you can also get a frozen Margarita from the slushie machine next to the wine fridge. Did we mention the neon feature staircase or the disco ball yet? Baby Snakes has a live music licence, too. Keep an eye out for special events where a portion of proceeds go to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, in partnership with Stomping Ground Brewery.

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Armadale

Educating the good people of Toorak on the wonders of natural and biodynamic wines, the folks at Toorak Cellars have enough tried-and-tested examples to keep everybody happy. It's happy days here.

 

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