Mark Reginato and Louis Schofield know wine. Reginato is an experienced wine and spirit distributor and Schofield is a winemaker who came up in fine-wine retail at East End Cellars and as a sommelier at Jock Zonfrillo’s Restaurant Orana and Bistro Blackwood.

Pooling a collective 20 years in the game and with backing from Renew Adelaide, the pair has set up shop in a heritage Rundle Street basement – the ultimate wine cellar.

It was originally going to be a 12-month pop-up with “black garbage bags on the walls, an Esky bar and probably death metal,” says Reginato. What they’ve got is something far more considered (and permanent) but just as unpretentious. “It’s like you’ve walked into a friend’s cellar and there’s a bit of a party going on,” says Reginato.

Hellbound is a wine bar, first and foremost. “We’re here to make wine accessible and to educate people,” says Schofield, “by leaning on and leveraging our … contacts within the industry.”

He wagers their $8-a-glass cleanskins – a Clare Valley riesling and an Eden Valley pinot noir, bought in bulk – are “better than almost any other house wines in this country”.

“The reason we can sell wine at that price and still make a profit is ‘cause we’ve got the confidence and the know-how to buy a pallet at the right price … and we know the guys who make it.”

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But they’re not limiting themselves to buying local. “Everyone’s a bit bored of the ‘SA-only’ thing,” Reginato says. “Wine’s a big world,” adds Schofield. “But some people are scared to sell, say, a German wine ‘cause they can’t read the label.” Not these two. Trust their expertise on drops from further afield.

There are 20 wines by the glass – starting at $8 – and more than 200 listed bottles that soar to $2,200 a pop. That includes fortifieds, a wine class Reginato has thrown his weight behind for years.

“There’s something here for everyone … except the Espresso Martini,” says Schofield, definitively. “Other wine bars open up and next thing you know they’re selling Espresso Martinis, and that’s what they’re relying on.”

If wine’s not your tipple, Hellbound has the state’s only Moritz Spanish lager tap, and two house cocktails: an all-Australian Negroni and a Martini.

Chef (and Schofield’s partner) Hannah Jeffrey (La Buvette, Peel St) has put together a menu that – without underselling it – can be plated up by bar staff without too much fuss.

“It’s true tapas,” says Schofield. Dishes are made to pair with wine (obviously) and there’s nothing over $16. Expect a lot of cheese and other salty snacks that ache to be mopped up with bread. Jeffrey will mix it up but her pastrami-loaded sandwich and whipped tahini with dates and hazelnut dukkah are stayers.

Hellbound
Downstairs, 201 Rundle Street, Adelaide
Hours:
Wed to Sun 4pm–midnight

hellboundwinebar.com