It's about a year since Kirsten Dickie and Virginia Selleck launched their smart and thoughtfully curated online wine store, Magnum + Queens. Now, they’ve transformed the online experience into a physical store in South Melbourne. With slate green walls, a charcoal-grey communal table and warm lighting, it makes shopping for wine an almost calming experience.
“We wanted something that was a reflection of what our business had become online,” says Dickie.
And while it is definitely a wine store, there are a few differences to your local bottle-o. There isn’t a counter as such – it’s just part of the communal table where staff are waiting to offer advice. There will also always be wines on offer for tasting, and customers are encouraged to sit and chat about what they like and don’t like before making a decision. With more than 700 bottles to choose from, that’s probably a good idea. And you’re in good hands. Before launching Magnum + Queens, Selleck spent time as a sommelier at Rockpool, Cumulus, and the Stokehouse.
“It’s about vineyards and producers we think represent their region, make great quality wines and are well presented,” Selleck says. “It really is just like my candy shop now. All my favourite producers and bottles.”
Other than wine the store offers a small and well thought-out selection of spirits, vermouth and an ever-changing selection of local and international beer. There are a few esoteric drops such as Escubac from France – a gorgeously presented juniper-less botancial liquor – and Seedlip, an alcohol-free distilled spirit from the UK.
With “magnum” in the business’s name naturally there are some of those in store as well, but it didn’t come from the large-format 1.5-litre wine bottles. Rather, it’s a tribute to another Selleck – Tom – and the moustached ’80s private investigator he played on Magnum, P.I.. The “Queens” addition? Inspired by the famous New York burrough of the same name, which Dickie and Selleck were travelling through in a taxi while brainstorming names for the store.
The new store doesn’t mean the online offering is going anywhere – instead the South Melbourne shop is now a base for operations, and the communal tasting table doubles as a packing and wrapping area. Dickie says the rapid growth of the business meant they had to choose between a retail store or a large warehouse. Looking on as they pour a lovely-looking Tassie pinot into a tasting glass, it seems they made the right decision.
Magnum + Queens
274–278 Coventry Street, South Melbourne
(03) 9696 3185
Tue to Sun 10am–6pm