Prince Wine Store
We love the Prince wine shops because of their savvy selections and approachability to wine buying and talking. There’s no fancy talk (unless you want it) and the staff are very willing to help and guide you. With a new shop opened in Essendon, as well as outposts in St Kilda and South Melbourne, Prince Wine Store has wine courses and tastings, and makes you want to drink, taste and talk wine. We like!

177 Bank Street, South Melbourne
(03) 9686 3033

Corner Albion and Primrose Streets, Essendon
(03) 9370 6561

2a Acland Street, St Kilda
(03) 9536 1155

Cloud Wine
Cloud wine started online back in 1999 and went into a retail space on Clarendon Street in 2002. With an enormous selection of wines from overseas and around Australia, owner Chris Plazzer is more than happy to talk you through what’s drinking well now and what will cellar well. There’s a wine club and a fundraising initiative too, with some wines sold and a portion donated to Engineers without Borders. They also sell wines with Carbon Neutral certification.

317 Clarendon Street, South Melbourne
(03) 9699 6700

Blackhearts & Sparrows
With shops in Windsor, North Fitzroy and East Brunswick, these Blackhearts appeal to the low-key wine lover who recoils at arrogant wine-speak but wants a robust conversation about what’s in the bottle, where it comes from and why it tastes the way it does. That’s what these guys do well; they keep it real while never compromising on quality product. We love the monthly sampler idea too, where they’ll send you what they think is good rather than you getting a little overwhelmed by things such as variety, region and what terroir really means?

88 Punt Road, Windsor
(03) 9510 6385

131 Lygon Street, Brunswick East
(03) 9380 1831

113 Scotchmer Street, Fitzroy North
(03) 9486 8046

Rathdowne Cellars
Since the mid-90s, Rathdowne Cellars have been putting their energies into sourcing and selling quality Australian wines and other tipples from around the world, as well as providing their customers with good service and great knowledge. It’s hard not to get distracted by interesting drops you may not have seen before – from Burgundy’s Corton Charlemagne to Hunter Valley Semillon or Spanish sherries. The joy in wine shops is often in the discovery of the new and with an online shop, wine courses, events and a newsletter, Rathdowne Cellars keep you in the loop.

348 Rathdowne Street, North Carlton
(03) 9349 3366

City Wine Shop
Do you like your champagne rich on the palate with hints of yeast and creaminess or do you fancy more acidic structure and vibrancy? Never considered it? This is the shop to go to if you want to know your non-vintage from your vintage champagnes and then some. A wine bar with a great little menu and also a wine shop, the emphasis is on quality, hard-to-get wines and a prodigious selection supported by the vast buying power that comes from The European, Supper Club, Siglo and City Wine Shop all being on the same premises. Staff will talk you through what you need to know and may even have you seated with a plate of Ian Curley’s lovely food before you know it.

159 Spring Street, Melbourne
(03) 9654 6657

Gertrude Street Enoteca
Sleepy-eyed inner-northerners enjoy coffee in the morning at this small, much-loved enoteca. But not one to be pigeonholed, Gertrude Street Enoteca is also a significant wine shop and bar (as the name suggests). Shelves from floor to ceiling filled with bottles of vinous gems from around the world dress the room. You can choose to take a bottle or two home or drink at one of the small tables. Chef and co-owner Brigitte Hafner creates a produce-driven, limited menu to complement the wines, the room and the essence of the Gertrude Street trailblazer.

29 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
(03) 9415 8262