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 with a French-leaning menu of seasonal plates and pastas, mainly revolving around seafood.

You can also choose from a selection of cheese, charcuterie and fancy tinned fish. Or skip the food entirely and go straight for the wine, which takes up a full wall of the tiny shop.

The idea is that you pick a bottle from the shelf and Burton retrieves its temperature-controlled counterpart from upstairs, guaranteeing a perfect glass every time. Enjoy your selection in the bright front area, or outside on the leafy footpath.

Contact Details

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Updated: August 30th, 2023

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