Act of Wine’s Collingwood shop occupies a modest shopfront on Wellington Street with simple wood-and-wire shelving and neutral walls. The aesthetic appeal of Act of Wine is the first thing that’ll hit you, but for owners Sam Fitzsimmons and Andrew Crompton there’s much more at play.
The original Act of Wine opened in Southbank in 2018 next to Crompton’s other venture, Broad Bean Organic Grocer. Broad Bean’s principles heavily informed Act of Wine’s first shop, and that’s carrying through to the Collingwood store now, too with wines derived from organic and biodynamic farming. They are also vegan friendly.
But limiting environmental impact doesn’t mean a limited choice. Fitzsimmons oversees a tight list of mostly independent Australian producers making smart, bright and flavoursome drops.
Aussie producers drive a good deal of his enthusiasm, but there are plenty of Europeans in the mix too – perhaps a well-structured syrah from the Rhone Valley, or a French gamay. There’s also a handful of low-alcohol wines, such as piquette, a lightly sparkling style that’s around 4.5 per cent alcohol and destined to compete with beer for easy summer drinking. Elsewhere in the shop, you’ll find a small selection of spirits and beer that covers popular classics and more interesting finds.
If you can’t make it in, Fitzsimmons and Crompton have a natural-wine delivery service of the same name, where a wine panel of industry pros convene each month and decide which drops go into the subscription packs.