If you’ve just finished your last beer or wine and desperately need more, there are plenty of online bottle shops focused on same-day or even same-hour delivery. These hyper-convenient services tend to have pretty standard ranges, is the only thing.

If you’re after something more special, check out these passionate independents. Some do offer same-day delivery in Melbourne, but if not, there are rewards for your patience. In addition to selling quirky small-batch wines, limited-edition beers and craft spirits, many of these stores have developed their own exclusive, in-house products such as goon bags filled with natural wine or Espresso Martini.

Start at the top if you’re looking for a generalist shop with a bit of everything. Towards the bottom, you’ll find a more concise list of specialists that might focus on a single spirit or wine from a single country. Happy browsing.

Blackhearts and Sparrows

Good for?
Australian beer and natural/minimal-intervention wine.

Shipping?
$1 same-day delivery, Monday to Saturday, within 12 kilometres of the CBD. More information here.

Subscriptions?
Yes. Sister business A Wine Service offers three tiers: $120, $180 and $220. Each new delivery comes with a recipe card from a top Australian chef: Andrew McConnell, Annie Smithers or David Moyle.

From one small bottle shop founded in Fitzroy North in 2006, siblings Jessica and Paul Ghaie have built a substantial chain of 12 stores, including one in Canberra and another in Hobart. Despite this expansion, Blackhearts has remained true to its principles and continues to champion the best independent Australian vintners and brewers. The brightest talent from the Adelaide Hills – the cradle of Australia’s natural-wine movement – is well represented here, alongside other Australian wineries and plenty of affordable bottles from Europe. The beer range is just as extensive, whether we’re talking wild-fermented ales, hop-driven IPAs or chocolate-y stouts. Every couple of months Blackhearts collaborates with a new brewery to produce an interesting, limited-edition brew, while its own Gate Series wines allow you to drink well for $15 or less.

Prince Wine Store

Good for?
Australian beer and classic Australian, Italian and French wine, including champagne.

Shipping?
2–3 business days. Free for orders of 12 bottles, or multiples of 12 bottles.

Subscriptions?
No.

Looking for champagne, burgundy, barolo or ferocious Barossa shiraz? South Melbourne’s Prince Wine Store is a sure bet. Founded in 1997, well before natural wine entered the conversation, the shop has great knowledge of, and respect for, wine’s traditional titans. Prince imports several domaines exclusively, including three houses in Champagne. Australian bottles come from stalwarts such as Best’s Great Western, Mount Mary, Giaconda and Torbreck. The store typically carries between 3500 and 4000 bottles. Before each wine is added to the site, it crosses the palate of a staff member with a Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) qualification. Prince doesn’t stock every vintage or lot from a particular winery for the sake of it – just the ones it deems worthy. It also has a very respectable selection of Australian beer, Scotch, gin and local craft spirits, and will price match products you find elsewhere.

Nicks Wine Merchants

Good for?
All types of spirits, but particularly whisky and Scotch. Classic European and Australian wines.

Shipping?
2–3 business days. Free delivery to most parts of Australia for orders over $200.

Subscriptions?
No.

This veteran retailer, located in Doncaster, started life as Nicks Groceries in 1958. By 1974 it had switched to selling booze and nothing else. These days the grandsons of the original owners run the business and claim they have the largest online range of alcohol in the country. We’re inclined to believe this. Nicks doesn’t sell beer but stocks 100 tequilas, 200 gins, 300 rums and 1000 whiskies, including 500 single malts. Many bottles are imported by the store itself. Then there are a staggering 20,000 wines, including 16,000 from Australia and 2,000 from France. These range from $10 chardonnays to 20 different vintages of Penfolds Grange, some retailing above $4000 a bottle. First-growth bordeaux and other French wines are also well represented. All but the most expensive wines and spirits are tasted and scored in-house, with the score posted online.

Mr West

Good for?
Australian and European natural wines, and quirky things packaged in bags and cans.

Shipping?
Same-hour delivery is available in the inner western suburbs. Otherwise, 1–2 business days.

Subscriptions?
Yes. For both wine and beer.

Footscray’s Mr West started life as a bar. The downstairs bottle shop came along later, but owners Josh Hodges and Caleb Baker have proven it was no afterthought. There are two in-house brands – Good Juice and Good Spirits – producing minimal-intervention wines (with beautiful artist-designed labels) and 1.5L “bagnums” of Espresso Martini and Negroni respectively. The entire catalogue runs to about 300 Australian beers and 300 exclusively natural wines.

Carwyn Cellars

Good for?
International and Australian beer, plus whisky, gin and mezcal.

Shipping?
Next-day delivery to surrounding suburbs. Otherwise, 2–3 business days.

Subscriptions?
Yes. For beer, gin and magnums of wine.

Thornbury’s Carwyn Cellars isn’t just the best beer bar in Melbourne – it’s the best beer bar in Australia. A lot of that is down to its regular tap takeovers, where it flies in kegs of ultra-fresh beer from the world’s most renowned breweries. The same effort goes into its online store, where you’ll find hundreds of beers from Australia and the rest of the world. Many of the American and European greats are here: Deschutes, Crooked Stave, Firestone, Jester King, Oskar Blues, Mikkeller, Brouwerij de Molen, Lindemans and Petrus. The gin, whisky and mezcal selections are equally impressive and also run into the hundreds. There wine section is decent enough, but if that’s all you’re buying, we recommend other places on this list first.

Others around Melbourne

Act of Wine
A focused selection of natural wine, with same-day delivery (Wednesday to Saturday) if you live within 15 kilometres of the CBD. Subscriptions available.

Atlas Vinifera
This Richmond wine bar and bottle shop also has a substantial selection of wine available online, plus a handful of spirits and beers. Same-day delivery is free in Richmond and surrounding suburbs.

Boccacio Cellars
This veteran retailer, located in Balwyn, has a strong showing of classically minded Australian and European wines.

Clos Cachet
Only sells hard-to-get French wines, which the owner has access to through family connections. Allow 1–2 business days for delivery.

Cloudwine
More than 800 Australian wines, with a focus on small, upcoming producers who might have found their way onto restaurant wine lists but not retail stores. Same-day delivery available in Melbourne, otherwise 2–3 business days.

Campbell Burton Wines
The co-founder of Soulfor Wine festival trades exclusively in zero added-sulphur wines from Europe and Australia, with most organically or biodynamically farmed, too. Allow 2–3 business days for delivery.

Diggin’ in the Cellars
When Lyndon Kubis and his team closed their venues The Hills, The Alps, Toorak Cellars, Milton Wine Shop and The Moon to punters in early 2020, they were forced to roll out a 12-month plan in five days. The result? An online platform stocking some of the coolest wines you can get in the city – and if you’re picnicking in the park, they can deliver right to your rug.

Enoteca Sileno
The best place to buy Italian wine. Enoteca Sileno sells nothing else. Allow 2–3 business days for delivery.

European Wine Store
Cloudwine’s sister store, specialising in – you guessed it – European wines. Same-day delivery available in Melbourne, otherwise 2–3 business days.

House Wine
A new home-delivery service founded by six young, talented Victorian producers (Jordy Kay, Dirty Black Denim, Bobar, Little Reddie and Ephemera) to put their wine in the hands of the public. All packing and freight is being done by local hospitality workers to help them out while coronavirus remains an issue.

Purvis Cellars
An established wine store in Surrey Hills. The website is currently under construction and due to re-launch soon.

Purvis Beer
A beer catalogue that rivals Carwyn’s. Allow 1–2 business days for delivery.

Magnum + Queens
Another very focused, predominantly natural-wine store. Subscriptions available. Same-day (for orders placed before 2pm) and next-day delivery is available. Same-day delivery is free if you spend $100 or more.

Marion
Andrew McConnell’s wine bar runs a subscription service, Deadman’s Dozen, curated by the staff.

Rathdowne Cellars
An impressive collection of classic, high-end Australian and European wines, plus what may be Australia’s best range of Spanish sherry.

Sake Shop
An excellent source of sake, shochu and umeshu. Allow 2–3 days for delivery.

Samuel Pepys
The retail arm of Armada Imports, through which owner Shane Barrett imports (mainly) Spanish and Portuguese wine for Bomba, which he also co-owns.

The Borough Box
A subscription service that delivers six new natural wines a month.

Viticole
Vue de Monde, Etta, Bar Liberty and Estelle are among the restaurants Dan Banks supplied before launching this wine delivery service with no-nonsense tasting notes such as "amazing with duck". Delivery is free to metropolitan Melbourne, and a flat $15 to the rest of Australia.

Wine & Food Solutions
Liz Carey (another Soulfor Wine co-founder) and Paul Guiney wholesale minimal intervention wine to numerous top restaurants in Melbourne. Now they’re also delivering to the public, with free shipping in the Melbourne metro area.

Wine Theory
A tightly curated online shop by Sebastian Crowther, one of just a handful of accredited master sommeliers in Australia.

Wine Republic
A broad selection of about 600 wines, covering a lot of ground in terms of style, price and country of origin. Allow 2–3 days for delivery.

Others around Australia

Beer Cartel, Sydney

Big Easy Drinks, Adelaide

Black Market Sake, Sydney

Bucket Boys, Sydney

Different Drop, Sydney

Drnks, Sydney

East End Cellars, Adelaide

Gin Society, Sydney

Giorgio De Maria Fun Wines, Sydney

Good Pair Days, Sydney

Harvest Liquor, Adelaide

Notwasted, Sydney

P&V Wine & Liquor Merchants, Sydney

The Bottle Shop, Sydney

The Oak Barrel, Sydney

Whisky Loot, Sydney

Wise Child, Perth

World of Whisky, Sydney

This article was first published on April 17, 2020. Some details may have changed.