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18° & CLOUDY ON THURSDAY 12 DECEMBER IN SYDNEY
By Marissa Ciampi
August 06, 2016
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Urban Winery Sydney

Australia’s first fully-functioning city-based commercial winery.
By Marissa Ciampi
August 06, 2016
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Urban wineries are a popular facet of European and New Yorker lifestyles, but winemaker Alex Retief's new cellar door, Urban Winery Sydney, is the first of its kind in Australia — it's the only large-scale, working winery in Sydney's inner suburbs. Launching in St Peters, the urban winery then located to Moore Park in mid-2018.

Retief has owned his label, A.Retief Wines, since 2008 and has seen much commercial success, especially with his 2013 – 2015 collaborations with Bourke Street Bakery. The born and bred Aussie spent the early 2000s in Bordeaux where much of his inspiration for an urban winery took root. "In France, everyone knows about wine — how it's made, where it's produced," he says. "They all have such a passion for their local wine that it's almost like the love of a futball team it's so ingrained in them."

Retief hopes to bring a bit of this European culture to Sydney — his wines have a strong focus on locality, the vineyard and the origin and type of grape used for each wine. The A.Retief Shiraz is sourced from his parent's biodynamic vineyard in the Gundagai wine region just outside of Wagga Wagga. "I have a deep passion for NSW wines and want to bring that to Sydney," says Retief. "People want to see where things are made more and more and we're happy to be able to bring that to them," he adds.

The space is housed in the Entertainment Quarter, with neighbours like El Camino Cantina, B Lucky and Sons and Brent Street dance studio. Heading east situates the winery considerably closer to the CBD and the SCG, and the EQ also offers a larger space for all that wine.

The walls of French oak barrels are not just for show and are accompanied by shiny, shiny winemaking pumps, presses, syphons, filtration systems — all things you might get to understand a whole lot better with Reitef's planned future classes. "We really want people to get involved with the winemaking process — to get to come down and squash grapes, or blend their own wines and understand why they like what they like."

The tasting bar is now open seven days a week, with the winery also doing tours, blending classes and the occasional chef's dinner.

Updated November, 2019

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