Synchronicity is a fine thing. When a geographer who’s interested in wine meets a sommelier who’s interested in geography – and, in a sure sign, their names are uncannily similar – why wouldn’t they open a wine shop together?
Geographer Martin von Wyss and somm Andrew Wyse did just that – opening Cardwell Cellars on Victoria Street in Abbotsford in 2023.
But Cardwell Cellars isn’t like most bottle shops. With a degree in French and a masters in geography, von Wyss spent 15 years designing maps – and, more recently, maps of wine regions. Then, a self-described “lockdown obsession” led to the ambitious worldwineregions.com – an atlas of 2500 of the world’s wine regions – and, eventually, plans for a shop. His vision was to fill the shelves with wines sourced from under-represented regions around the world.
Bottles, housed on eucalyptus-green library shelving, are categorised according to global regions – starting with America near the front door, through to New Zealand on the way out to the courtyard. Small producers working with sustainable and/or biodynamic practices are favoured.
Wyse and von Wyss will happily open a bottle of whatever you want to try. Sample the goods while perched on oak and black leather bar stools at the long timber-top table stretching down the middle of the high-ceilinged, exposed-brick room. Or at a wooden counter by the window looking out onto Victoria Street.
To eat, there’s a tight menu of wine-friendly cheese and charcuterie, plus snacks such as black garlic canelés, gougères, oolong citrus tea cake, and mochi. You'll also find packets of cheesy Bret’s chips imported from Brittany, and an extensive selection of tinned garfish, octopus, sardines, anchovies, stuffed calamari, and more. Or bring in your own food – or order in from a neighbouring restaurant – and the staff at Cardwell will provide forks, knives and plates.
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