Surprisingly, Supernatural Cellars is Byron Bay’s first natural wine bar. Surprising in that Byron is at once one of the most connected and disconnected of seaside towns. With some of this country’s most expensive real estate, it is the playground of the wealthy, with Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne standards and trends running parallel, but it is also the home of lo-fi, of unplugging and taking in the wholesome goodness of all that is organic, unmanipulated and hand-crafted. Put a 10 William Street, a Wines of While or an Embla in Byron Bay and watch it roar.
Well, Peter Windrim and Andy Love were somewhat surprised by the omission, too, so they set about righting that wrong, taking a lease on a site in Bay Lane behind the leviathan that is the Beach Hotel. And while the natural wine bar exemplars that we have used above may have slipped into their groove effortlessly, Windrim and Love were never going to create a facsimile, or worse a pastiche. No, theirs was always going to be original, channelling their idiosyncratic take on things.
Windrim is a winemaker, and previously worked at his family’s biodynamic Hunter Valley vineyard, Krinklewood. He takes the reins at Supernatural Cellars, while Love spends more of his time at his Lennox Head restaurant, Shelter. The duo has filled that gap in the market with a quintessentially Byron approach to formality, as Windrim sums up: “We serve natural wines and salty seaside snacks. We are soft lights, raw music and vivid colour. We eat with our hands. We don’t drink cocktails. We’re your community wine bar.”
This lack of formality is taken very seriously at Supernatural, with Windrim avoiding sommeliers on the payroll. “I intentionally didn’t hire somms. I hired people that liked wine, but didn’t quite know why. Yet. I gave them the space to run with instinct,” he says. So you won’t find any technical information thrown at you here, nor florid flavour descriptors, rather wines are described poetically, painted in evocation and metaphor. The list consists of 50 or so bins, which is perpetually being changed, with about 60 per cent by the glass. And though the mantra here is natural, organic or biodynamic certification is not something that Windrim is concerned about. “The farming just needs to be honest, and the resulting wines as pure as possible,” he says. “No conventional offerings. No big champagne houses. Lots of playful wines.”
The food is described by Windrim as, “Mediterranean inspired small plates, eaten by hand. And they’re dishes I’ve picked up on my travels. It’s oceanic, salty, sexy stuff.” And, if somehow you still don’t feel that you can let your hair down here, the complete absence of cutlery will right that. That’s right, none at all. Emphatically stated on the menu underlined and in all caps is the house philosophy: “Eat with your hands. Drink with your mouth.”