Wine guys Mark Nelson and Lyndon Kubis have poured a respectable quota in their time. Between them, along with partner Renton Carlyle-Taylor, their wine-bar/shop mini-empire includes The Alps, Toorak Cellars, Milton Wine Shop and most recently The Hills. Joining the family is their snug new Collingwood 75-seater, The Moon.
Just to be clear, this is not a moon-themed bar. Architect Camilla Burke and I am Not Mason can take credit for the deftly minimal fit-out that uses lots of natural materials including concrete, stone and stained wood, plus the veritable calling card solar eclipse wall lights.
There are around 400 wines to consume in-store or take away (the latter receives a discounted price), with 20 rotating, thoughtfully curated, by-the-glass options. Sidekicks include a small selection of low-maintenance “classic wine-bar fare” – as Nelson describes it – such as toasties (filled with, in one instance, pulled brisket and jalapeno), charcuterie (from nearby Meatsmith) and the ever-agreeable cheese plate. More considerable “snacks” include lamb ribs with fennel, pork ribs with chilli, and saganaki.
Nelson and Kubis are particular about their wine. For them, region and environment are what it’s “supposed to be all about” Nelson says, compared to, say, the reputation or hand of the winemaker. Their formula is to find small producers that “portray variety and show [minimal] wine-maker technique.” Meaning, as Kubis puts it, “a reflection of soil and sky and the four seasons rather than the hand of the man or woman that made it.”
This might include the Gunderloch, one of their current by-the-glass rieslings sourced from an organic vineyard in Germany. Or something more local, such as the Gypsy Juice pinot noir from Gippsland producer Patrick Sullivan (who, indecently, only sells this bottle to them).
Nelson and Kubis don’t want The Moon to be a classroom. “Drinking booze is supposed to be fun,” Nelson says. Though, he adds, if you want to “nerd about it” they’re there to help with that, too.