Raise the Bar: Drink local

Raise the Bar: Drink local

They're not suggesting you stick to the nearest pub, but that you choose your wine from local winemakers
wine bar Sydney
Next time you're out, choose a wine from Cowra rather than the Cote d'Azur.

If it weren't for the Raise the Bar gang, drinking in Sydney would be a lot tougher. 

The group of NSW residents first came together in 2007 to bring the state's liquor licensing out of Draconian times.

Thanks to them it's now a lot easier to buy a glass of wine at a restaurant, when you don't want to buy a meal. And it's easier to open a small bar too.

Now they're on a mission to get us to keep our wine miles down. Drink locally, they say, and that doesn’t mean making a beeline for your nearest pub.

To lessen your carbon footprint and support the local wine industry, we should have a local tipple.

“It’s easier to find somewhere specializing in French or Italian wine than NSW wine,” Jonathon Larkin, of Raise the Bar.

Spoiled for choice?

With 14 wine regions and over 450 wine producers within virtual spitting bucket distance, why is it so hard to get a local drop?

“In the past the NSW wine industry focussed on growing as many grapes as possible and selling to export markets. It’s changed a lot in the last five years,” says Larkin.

He’s keen for venues to up their quota of local wines so drinkers can discover drops like Orange-based winemaker Philip Shore’s pinot noir -- or give local, established winemakers more thought.

“The Hunter Valley’s reputation may not be crash hot compared to other parts of Australia, but it’s really old. A vineyard like Tyrrell’s is among Australia’s best,” Larkin says.

Sipping spots

For your next Gundagai Shiraz, Mudgee Cabernet Sauvignon or a drop of Southern Highlands Pinot, start with a small bar, they say.

Nick Diver, co-owner of Erskineville’s Hive Bar, says his wine list is 70 percent local.

“The quality and choice is definitely there,” says Diver. “Customers after a Shiraz are probably expecting one from South Australia, but if you let them try one from Mudgee, they see it’s terrific,” says Diver.

Where to do it

The Hive Bar, 93 Erskineville Road, Erskineville; tel. +61 (0)2 9519 9911
Cotton Duck, 50 Holt Street, Surry Hills; tel. +61 (0)2 8399 0250
The Commons, 32 Burton Street, Darlinghurst; tel. +61 (0)2 9358 1487
Fix St James, 111 Elizabeth Street, Sydney; tel. +61 (0)2 9232 2767


When freelance writer Sue White leaves her office in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, she’s typically on the hunt for the cheapest, slowest, greenest happenings her home town has to offer. 


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