Over the last little while, Lyndon Kubis and Renton Carlyle have amassed a considerable collection of well-loved wine bars in Melbourne (The Moon, Toorak Cellars, Milton Wine Bar, The Hills and The Alps), and perhaps it was only a matter of time before they spread their wings. Leaping over closer neighbours, notably Canberra and Sydney, the duo decided on Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley for their first interstate foray, opening The Valley Wine Bar in 2017.
The format follows on from their Melbourne counterparts, with the harshness of a retail shop given a restaurant makeover, and the harshness of restaurant wine pricing given a retail makeover. Like all of the duo’s other venues, all wine can be taken home or consumed onsite, with a modest corkage fee applied.
Curated by Lilly Heenan, the offer extends to over 400 bottles, with a wander through the store always accompanied by keen advice when required. There are about 20 options by the glass, with premium pours dispensed by Coravin. And if wine doesn’t fit a particular moment, there is a significant selection of Queensland craft beer, as well as spirits, and even cocktails.
The style of the wine selection follows a similar path to Kubis and Carlyle’s Melbourne ventures, with a healthy lean towards sustainably farmed and minimally fussed with wines, something Heenan certainly takes very seriously: “We are uncompromising in our selection of wines, swaying towards minimally intervened wines with organic or biodynamic practices both imported and from Australia. We maintain our authenticity and honesty of growing and producing, choosing wines that have so carefully and sustainably made, from hands that have toiled.”
Given the access that their Melbourne group has, Heenan is also able to list the less familiar and the hard to source: “Some of these are wines that haven’t shown their face or been so readily accessible for purchase and consumption in the sunny state of Queensland and we take pride in representing these wines.”
Like the group’s other ventures, the food offer doesn’t rely on the infrastructure of a formal kitchen, with the menu tracing a familiar and very comforting course of wine bar staples, like cured meats, parfait/pâté and cheese, served alongside premium conservas. The onsite cooking extends to warming olives and grilling bread, but Uber Eats is encouraged for those with greater needs.