A big list of 800 wines – with up to 60 by the glass – with something for everyone, in an intimate Woollahra space that has been a cherished hangout for trade through changes in stewardship since 20210.
The regular’s tip
Ask staff what’s pouring – they’re frequently opening interesting things for themselves and they’re happy to share.
The nuts and bolts
- Opened 2010
- No wheelchair access
- Private dining room upstairs
- Outdoor courtyard and footpath dining – dog friendly
- Close to Allianz and SCG stadiums, Chauvel Cinemas
- Plumm glassware
- Coravin wine preservation
- Stocks Madeira, dating back to 1907
The Wine Library is big resource contained in an intimate space, with its big wine list providing compelling reading for any drinker looking for diversity.
Established in 2010, The Wine Library was taken over by Tim Perlstone in 2018, who renovated the former skinny shop in Oxford St, Woollahra to create a versatile sweep of interlocking spaces – a busy bar flanked by stools and bookended by towering wine storage racks that reach to the ceiling, an intimate 22-seat private dining room upstairs, with another six seats for pavement dining and a dozen seats in the wine garden courtyard. Cosy, but comfortable.
Tim works with fellow sommelier Gianantonio Battaglia to create a list of 800 wines, with up to 60 poured by the glass. It’s an eclectic library that accommodates all wine interests – natural and conventional; up-and-coming producers riding the cutting edge and classic brands represented through many old vintages, and embracing Italian and French short-run labels.
“Our approach to the wine selection is very holistic,” explains Tim. “We have a strong relationship with most of the local Aussie winemakers and wineries that feature on our list, and all the wine importers we work with are mostly good mates that we love hanging out with.”
The list is also central to this bar’s dual-offering as an online wine shop, which extends beyond selling bottles to also offer wine art and even prepared picnic packs.
There are some unexpected treasures to find. “We love Madeira, and we have some available that date back to 1907,” explains Tim. This affection informs the venue’s wine garden, where Tim planted Madeira vines four years ago. “My mum is a Portuguese interpreter and one of her clients gave me cuttings of his backyard vines that he had smuggled into Australia in the 1960s, from the Island of Madeira. In a very thick Portuguese accent, he told me ‘just stick em’ in the ground; they will grow’ and to my surprise the vines started budding in Spring. He never told me what the variety was but I assume it is Tinta Negra Mole.” Using this fruit, the Wine Library now makes a very small batch of house Madeira wine in a Campari barrel – and the results from a third vintage will soon be made available.
To accompany the wine, there is a sophisticated food offering. Head chef Matheus Costa prepares wine-friendly food with a Mediterranean influence, with a spread of Italian, French and Spanish accents in plates designed to share at the table. Check for rotating bi-weekly specials and seasonal produce selections.
The sum of the parts comes together for The Wine Library’s monthly roster of themed wine dinners and special events, such as Bluefin & Burgundy with master sushi chef Toshihiko Oe, and Ice Road Truckers featuring wine importer Andrew Guard with Sunday Potts Point chef Morgan McGlone.