Public Wine Shop
Winemakers have been adding extra sulphur dioxide to their wines to extend shelf life since ancient Roman times (a small amount is produced during fermentation), but more recently natural-wine producers have begun to question the value of the ubiquitous preservative, which is added to almost all wines made in Australia and elsewhere. Some drinkers claim it gives them a headache and worsens their hangover.
Campbell Burton? He just doesn’t like the taste of too much sulphur, which is why every one of the 200 wines in the temperature-controlled cabinets at his Public Wine Shop is organically farmed and free from added sulphur dioxide. Australian minimal-intervention stars such as Manon, Limus, Tom Shobbrook and Jordy Kay are fixtures, alongside similarly minded labels from Italy, Spain, Austria, Germany and France in particular. A smaller number of beers, spirits and organic, un-sulphured ciders are also in the mix.
Inspired by venues such as City Wine Shop (where Burton once worked), Bourke Street’s Self Preservation, defunct Northcote diner Merricote and Sydney’s inimitable P&V Wine & Liquor Merchants, Public Wine Store has seats for 20 people and a little galley-style kitchen where chef Ali Currey-Voumard (ex-Agrarian Kitchen, Tasmania) prepares snacky plates of baguette, charcuterie, pasta, tinned fish and more. Upstairs another room hosts masterclasses with winemakers and importers, while a back courtyard is used for casual barbeques.
Burton is a linchpin in Melbourne’s wine industry. After leaving his role as wine buyer and sommelier at The Builders Arms and its former in-house fine diner, Moon Under Water, Burton went on to start his own wholesale wine business and co-found the annual Soulfor Wine festival, the city’s best wine party. This experience with wine and customer service alike make PWS one of the city’s top wine shops.