Sixteen months after opening City Winery in a Fortitude Valley warehouse, Adam Penberthy and Dave Cush are bringing the brand to the CBD proper.
The pair, who also run wine bar and bistro Carl’s in Newstead, will open a temporary new cellar door tomorrow, set among the high-end fashion set of Edward Street.
They’ve gone from zero to three ventures in under two years, but Penberthy isn’t concerned about opening a new venue in the current climate. “We had a plan of doing this before Covid-19 and have always wanted to do something in the CBD,” he says. “If anything, Covid-19 gave us the opportunity to be quite bullish and look at how we can grow.”
They’ve signed an initial six-month lease, but are looking to stay longer if there’s “strong local support”.
The 50-seat bar has been dubbed a “wine experience centre”. Like its Valley predecessor, it’s a mix of bar, tasting room and cellar door for in-house wine label Gerler Wines. Expect to try riesling, fiano, vermentino, gruner veltliner, grenache and unique blends made from pinot noir, tempranillo and other varietals. The walls are lined with racks of bottles, which you can enjoy in-store or take away.
The new venue also sees Isabel Yon step up from waiter at City Winery to manager and brand ambassador at Edward Street. “At the start of last year I did one shift at Carl’s before spending a few weeks helping to set up City Winery,” says Yon, a Kentucky native who spent years travelling the world before settling in Brisbane. “It’s really special to be somewhere from the very beginning.”
She’s spent the last few days in the Edward Street store – on ladders, using drills and saws – to prep the space for the July 15 soft opening.
“It’s really nice, it’s all come together,” she says. “We have a front room with a long wide timber bar for tastings, nice high ceilings and artwork scattered about that was painted by our winemaker Dave Cush’s wife, Kris [Cush]. She’s done some classic landscape paintings but also brought in some gnarly grapevines that are hanging on chains with painted roots to help illustrate how different soils affect the vines.”
Yon says the venue is as much a space for learning as it is for drinking. “You have access to the winemakers … who talk about wine really simply … and are around to answer questions. How often do you get that close to winemakers and their wealth of knowledge?
“There’s a big leather couch in the corner and we’ll put a bookshelf there with interesting wine books and magazines,” she continues. “Hopefully some really wonderful locals come in and drink wine, read a book and just get into it.”
Penberthy agrees: “Just like our other venues, if people can come and have a glass of wine and walk out accidentally learning something, that’s a good thing.”
There’ll also be wine-blending workshops, cheese and wine matching classes, wine tastings with other producers, and a gift-delivery service. “We have gift options including cheese and wine packs that can be quickly couriered to you via bicycle, in under an hour, which makes for a great last-minute gift,” says Yon.
The satellite cellar door won’t replicate the food menu at the Valley site. Instead, there’ll be a selection of cheeses and charcuterie to enjoy with a glass of wine (or take home with a bottle).
City Winery Edward Street opens Wednesday July 15.
City Winery Edward Street
162 Edward Street, Brisbane City
Mon to Thurs 12pm–7pm
Fri & Sat 12pm–9pm