Melbourne's Best Cellar, & Distillery Doors
Drink up at the source when experiencing Melbourne's best cellar, distillery and brewery doors.
There’s something special about enjoying a drink at a cellar door, brewery or distillery – you can see how it’s made, talk to people passionate about the product, and try experimental varieties you wouldn’t find at a regular bar or pub. Melbourne is full of adventurous craft brewers, winemakers and distillers keen to share their wares with you, and here are some of the best places to experience them.
While Melbourne’s unpredictable weather is an annoyance for most, for the whisky makers at Starward it’s a key ingredient to their success. According to them, the city’s constantly fluctuating temperature allows their drams to draw flavour from casks much quicker than in a constant climate (Scotland, for example). Head to this impressive Port Melbourne distillery to try their award-winning yet approachable whiskies yourself, whether through a grand tour, a whisky making masterclass or simply a casual drink with friends.
Try: The delightfully fruity Starward Nova, a single malt that’s aged in barrels sourced from Australian wineries making shiraz, cabernets and pinot noirs.
50 Bertie Street, Port Melbourne
Patient Wolf’s shiny Southbank HQ is a playground of gin making, tasting and drinking. After outgrowing their original Brunswick home they moved south in 2019, fitting out a red-brick warehouse with towering copper stills and a svelte new bar. Cosy, sophisticated and seating up to 30, it’s where you can try their whole range, from summery thyme gins to oak barrel-aged numbers. Curious punters can also book in for distillery tours and gin masterclasses that give you an extra peek behind the curtains.
Try: The Summer Thyme gin, made using fresh thyme and lemons which are vapour infused in the still to produce a lively spirit bursting with piney perfume.
34-36 Market Street, Southbank
Brogan Carr is forging her own path in the male-dominated distilling industry, starting from three gins back in 2019 to the expansive collection of craft gins and vodkas available today. At the Richmond-based distillery you can join the journey with weekly tours, cocktail making classes and gin-making workshops that’ll have you popping open a bottle at your next party and proudly declaring “I made this”. Alternatively, simply pop into the bar to sink a few G&Ts and nibble on cheese.
Try: The Mandopow, a twist on the classic limoncello made with mandarins instead. Rich and sweet, there’s a mild zesty bite with a marmalade jam-like finish.
61 North Street, Richmond
The gin at Tiny Bear distillery is made from kale – no, seriously. Rather than purchase pre-made spirits, former chemistry teacher Damien Anderson creates his own base spirit distilled from kale, which allows for greater control over the final product’s taste. The results are seen in fun, funky tipples like Christmas pudding gin and a summery gin distilled with native lemon myrtle and macadamia. The venue is indeed tiny, so make a booking if you want to partake in tastings and cocktails paired with cheeseboards.
Try: The Gingerbear, a sweet and spicy gin infused with ginger, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg – perfect for Christmas gifting.
7/10 Henderson Road, Knoxfield
Leading winemaker Handpicked Wines has opened a buzzing three-storey cellar door in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. Housed in the luxurious new 80 Collins precinct, the complex contains a premium wine and cheese shop, an in-house wine bar, several ‘tasting pods’ and an experience room where you can chat to expert sommeliers and winemakers. The gorgeously designed space features exposed concrete beams, American oak joinery and operational wine barrels that you can sit amongst to complete the experience.
Try: The Mclaren Vale Organic Shiraz, an opulent wine abundant with dark fruit and chocolate that pairs elegantly with spicy food and red meat.
80 Collins Street, Melbourne
This small, family-owned winery has opened an ‘urban cellar door’ in the back streets of North Melbourne, transforming a former milk bar into a space for cityfolk to discover their new favourite drop. All Rouleur wines are handmade in small batches, using fruit picked on the earlier side to achieve fresh, bright acid flavours seen in their Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Grenache. The cellar door operates by appointment, so book in up to 18 people for a private tasting guided by owner Matt East himself.
Try: The 2019 'Arlo's Upper Yarra' Pinot Noir, a wine that promises to improve with a few years in the cellar. Using grapes sourced from two upper Yarra Valley vineyards, it’s already showing aromatics of sour red cherry, rose petal and ginger spice.
80 Laurens Street, North Melbourne
Fancy yourself a budding winemaker? If so, you should sign up for a membership at Noisy Ritual, an urban winery that’s all about sharing knowledge (and wine). Members are invited to three winemaking workshops that’ll get you stomping, pressing and bottling the year’s vintage, alongside three barrel tasting sessions and of course, six bottles for your home cellar. More casual lovers of booze are also welcome, with a rollicking bar pouring glasses and plating grazing platters for locals and visitors.
Try: The 2021 Sparkling Chardonnay, a refreshing warm-weather tipple ripe with notes of citrus, nectarine and brioche, mineral acidity.
249 Lygon Street, Brunswick
Moon Dog’s epic brewery in Preston is a place you need to see to believe. Covering 8000 square metres with a 700 person capacity, the venue includes an indoor tropical lagoon and waterfall, a hidden tiki bar, a shipping container full of pinball machines and elevated sun decks. When it comes to beer, there are a whopping 72 taps pouring everything from pineapple sours and ‘barley champagne’ to Aperol spritzes and espresso martinis, while a wide-ranging menu offers adventurous snacks like lasagne spring rolls.
Try: The Conga Lines Passionfruit Pineapple Ice Cream Sour Ale for a jazzy, sherbet-y beer that’s made for dancing around the pool.
32-46 Chifley Drive, Preston
Newly opened this year is the HQ of this beloved Melbourne brewery, sporting a spiffy production facility and taproom now open to the public. At the bar, 16 taps are pouring both the brewery’s mainstays and experimental creations s(uch as a milky porter named the ‘Tiramibru’), plus a couple of housemade hard seltzers that are all the rage right now. The space features a large beer garden perfect for summer, a wood fireplace for winter, and a food truck parked outside for when you get peckish.
Try: The Golden Hour in LA Lo-Cal Lager – those looking for a crisp, smashable lager that’s light on calories should give this a go.
39 De Havilland Road, Mordialloc
Alchemy is one of Melbourne’s newest and most approachable brewery-bars. Inhabiting the former Clegs Fabric Store, a simple fit out eschews the bells and whistles, focussing attention on what’s in the glass. A 500 litre tank out back brews Alchemy’s full range, which includes a classic pale ale, a surprisingly sessionable IPA, a crisp pilsner and a robust porter, as well as guest brews from other makers. It’s not all about beer, however – they’ve also got spritzes on tap and a full pub menu.
Try: The Chocolate and Coffee Porter for a full-bodied beer that’ll wake you right up.
396 Lygon Street, Brunswick East
A heavyweight in Melbourne’s brewing scene, there's truly something for everyone at Stomping Ground. This sprawling brewery and beer hall pours craft ales ranging from the accessible to the left-field, keeps kids entertained with cubby houses and pizza, and offers salads for the virtuous. Indoor greenery and a retractable roof afford the space a summery feel, while fire pits keep the place warm and inviting during colder months.
Try: The Watermelon Smash, a subtly salty and sour beer that’s made with 10 percent real fruit.
100 Gipps Street, Collingwood
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