Just when you thought Adelaide businesses were all starting to merge into one another, someone pops up with a cracker of an idea to get tongues wagging.
And in this instance, just in time for the New Year, it is a joint effort by three established and successful foodies and wine professionals bringing a whole new dimension to living in the wine state.
Justin Lane, Angie Bignell and Georgie Rogers are the co-directors and owners of the new Cantina Sociale wine bar opening late December, early January. Named whilst passing through Puglia, Italy, winemaker Lane explains his theory of bringing the cellar door to the city, and the commonplace of such a watering hole in European townships.
“If you have ever worked in a vineyard, or a cellar door, you may know that there is a lot of wine made that gets quickly consumed and never reaches the public eye,” he explains. “Small barrelfuls of experimental blends, unusual varietals; it is such a shame that often these wines are made in such small quantities and we do not get the chance to try something different that we may never have had before. With this concept, we decided to bring a little of the cellar door experience to town. We have arrangements with many South Australian and interstate growers - who have sold us in some cases only one or two barrels of their wine - coming into our wine bar and tasting areas, [so] you will have the opportunity to try something that never even reaches the bottling stage. Also operating under a different license means we offer the chance for you to come in try, and then take home a bottle of wine poured straight from the barrel.”
Rogers, owner of popular Spanish deli and café El Choto, explains the simplicity of their menu, as they do not believe they will be having a structured option of dining.
‘When you walk through the doors and order your glass of wine, sure, you may happen to feel peckish. There may just be a round of cheese in the display we collected earlier from the markets. Some fresh bread, perhaps. Maybe even some olives. We hope people come to Cantina to socialise, wind down. There is not a full menu on offer with us. This really is all about the wine. For people to try something they have never had before. Discuss, learn, experience.”
What happens if that one glass turns into a session and you get hungry?
“We are only a few minutes walk from the hub of city dining, in Gouger street,” Cibo veteran Angie Bignell laughs. “So perhaps start with us for a pre-dinner, and wander off to eat. We then look forward to people returning afterwards to finish their evening with us. This is also why we do not have a set closing time.”
Seating will be competitive with 40 seats. This includes a small tasting area to gain maximum view of the stacked barrels (unlabelled), which will be the prime position for punters to watch the theatre of staff scaling a library style ladder to gain access to the (literally) top shelf wines.
Lane explains: “There will only be about nine wines on offer at any time. But they will be transient, exclusive. What you had last week will most likely not be available next week, or perhaps ever again. It is such an exciting way to educate already wine savvy South Australian to other varietals they may not have even heard of. Kind of the Karma Sutra of wine really, leaning away from the traditional ways and opening your mind to indulge in an unknown and unlabeled product. I imagine the Adelaide clientele will be excited by the idea of having an ongoing and ever-changing wine list!”
The three friends are passionate, seasoned hospitality folk who really know their stuff. Their relaxed and excited approach about sharing their new venue with us is contagious, enticing. Certainly this will be the place to be seen catching up for a glass of wine this summer.
Cantina Sociale opens in December
108 Sturt Street
Wednesdays to Sundays (4pm until late)