New wine shop is something ‘really special’
INTENSE aromas ignite your tastebuds, the golden liquid transporting you to a vineyard high up in the hills of the Coteaux du Fenouillèdes, France.
Closing your eyes, it's easy to imagine your lungs filling with fresh country air when you catch a waft of the sweet scent of fruit.
"It's a remarkable wine ‒ in part to the age of the vine and the terroir it reflects," Russ Berry's bright blue eyes twinkle as he talks about his passion.
He speaks of 2018 El Narner, an orange wine created by Tom Lubbe, a New Zealand winemaker living in France.
It is one of more than 300 natural wines on offer in his new store in Byron Bay, Luna Wine Store.
The award-winning sommelier (Gourmet Traveller Wine - Best Small List / 2 Glass Award 2018 2017 for Harvest Newrybar) and Lo-Fi Wine directors James Audas and Tom Sheer opened the new venue earlier this month.
Luna Wine Store is unlike anything else you'll find in Byron Bay, more along the lines of a luxe offering from a city.
It is Byron's first wine store devoted solely to small producers from around the world, and offers a large selection from those practising regenerative farming techniques and soil health, with many certified in organics or biodynamics.
Mr Berry has put together the wine selection, which focuses on sustainable farming, minimal intervention wine making and wine for every day drinking, ranging from rare finds to classics and wine-geek curiosities.
He's trained staff to assist customers with pairing the wines to all types of cuisine.
"The Byron community has a great connection with the food they eat and this can now extend to drinking wine consciously too, and with a firm understanding of where their wine comes from," Mr Berry said.
"We wanted to show people that you cannot only choose something that's been grown organically and not adjusted with chemicals in the winery but you can also drink delicious wine.
"We're very conscious of the fact that can be perceived as expensive but we would like to show people that there's something for everyone in here.
"There's something that you can drink every day, should you want to, or most people might drink a couple of nice bottles of wine a week, where they feel like they can come in and get good value.
"But if you want to come in and find something really special... we have those options too. Some of the producers we work with make minuscule amounts of wine."
For most of the wines in store, the owners have met the makers.
Expect to find easy drinking styles by Aussie favourites Jilly, Latta, Tom Shobbrook, Bill Downie and Ochota Barrels.
Find wines from France, Austria, Italy and many more alongside a selection of Champagne, Burgundy, Barolo producers and a small sake and beer selection.