Kensington Street precinct handpicked for cellar door

Handpicked Wines cellar door at Kensington Street Precinct (Photo: Handpicked Wines)

Handpicked Wines has set up an urban cellar door in Sydney’s fashionable new Kensington Street, Chippendale, precinct. It’s the same street that contains Spice Alley and a bevvy of restaurants including Automata.

The wines are high quality and the cellar door does them proud. It’s very stylish and well worth a visit.

Handpicked Wines (tastings) was started by Chinese-Australian businessman William Dong a number of years ago. The idea is not wines made from hand-picked grapes, but wines hand-picked by the winemakers from regions that especially suit those grape varieties.

Dong began by enlisting winemakers in various Australian regions to make bespoke parcels of regional varietals for him: Peter Douglas made Coonawarra cabernet; Rolf Binder made Barossa shiraz, and so on. The net was quickly widened to take in Italian Moscato, Marlborough sauvignon blanc and more.

The company now sources grapes from 19 regions around the world, 12 of them in Australia, plus Chile, Bordeaux, New Zealand and three regions in Italy. The philosophy is enshrined in the invitation ‘to travel the world one wine at a time’.

Today, the business has grown out of recognition, and employs the enormously experienced consultant winemaker Gary Baldwin full-time, as well as senior winemaker Pete Dillon; it has its own winery and vineyard on the Mornington Peninsula as well as vineyards in the Yarra Valley, Barossa and other regions. And it’s looking to expand.

At the Chippendale cellar door, William Dong is bringing the wines to the people rather than the other way around, which would be difficult on the Mornington Peninsula. The cellar door runs educational tastings in various formats, occasional masterclasses with the winemaker, and groups are catered for in the ‘Experience Room’. Charcuterie platters are available. Three ranges of wines are offered for tasting and sale, at AUD $10, $15 and $18 a glass, plus flights – one flight consists of Clare riesling, two Barossa shirazes, a Barossa grenache and two Coonawarra cabernets.

Dong’s next move will be to open another cellar door in Melbourne and then his home town in China. There’s already a China home-delivery service for Chinese tourists visiting the cellar door who want to buy wine to send home.

Handpicked Wines Sydney Cellar Door

  • Address: 50 Kensington St, Chippendale (the opposite end to Broadway).
  • Opening hours: 11am-10pm Monday to Friday. Weekends 10am-10pm.

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