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.

Updated: November 9th, 2021

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