Run don't walk - It's wine time people!
Officially landing their license, the Hamilton-based wine shop, Vera Wine has officially opened their doors! Do you love wine but can’t stand the hangover? Well, you’ll be excited to hear that the brand-new cellar has arrived on Beaumont St featuring local, natural, and, of course, delicious wine!
Brought to you by Florence Diffey and Josh Distefano, Vera Wine has opened their doors to the people of Newcastle, following a busy few months of preparations.
Josh, originally from Newcastle, and Florence from Melbourne have spent the last few years building a life and a family in Victoria before deciding to pursue a sea change right here in Newcastle.
“Initially, it was for a sea change. We were about to have our third child and the sunny beach shores of Newcastle looked so appealing after being in Melbourne lockdown for most of 2020,” Josh said.
Josh has a strong background in the coffee world, including setting up a coffee program at Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant, Dinner by Heston. Which was where he also dipped his toes into the wonderful world of wine.
“From there, he moved on to an awesome little wine bar in Fitzroy, Bar Liberty and after having children, moved on to manage the Collingwood store for Blackhearts & Sparrows; an independent wine retailer,” Florence said.
Florence on the other hand was born into the world of wine having lived above her dads’ very own wine bar in North Carlton; Gerald’s Bar. Her love for food and beverage flourished and lead her to hospitality from Melbourne to Europe, wine production in Italy and the United Kingdom, to most recently, events with the Prince Wine Store in Melbourne.
“When we moved, we realised that a lot of our favourite wines were not represented locally. We longed for a welcoming space where you could come, taste, chat, and learn.” Josh said.
To say the couple is well versed in the world of wine is the understatement of the year.
“From the day Florence and I met we both have dreamed of doing something together, we just didn’t know what and when. The first documents saved to my computer regarding a bottle shop in Newcastle were from September 2020.”
Kicking off renovations in October 2021, Vera Wine has slowly but surely been coming to life. For anyone who has completed a commercial fit-out, you’ll know it doesn’t come without its setbacks, which of course, came true for Josh and Florence.
“The renovations have been fun but also challenging. From trying to find great tradespeople, to the worldwide hard timber shortage to a leak that came through and flooded our floor only hours before the final coats of sealer to go down, we’ve had it all.”
Now, being able to officially open their doors and share what they’ve been working on is the pinnacle of excitement when it comes to launching a new business.
Working with Kirby from Brik Design Studio, Sam & Adam from Sam Horn Building, Matt & Veronica from Crete Kings Without Crowns, and Don from H3 Projects, Vera Wine has been a mammoth collaborative effort over the last few months.
“Vera Wine is a safe haven for all people who want to engage with wine. We do more than sell bottles. It’s about sharing knowledge, offering wine tastings and events; did someone say wine parties?”
Whether you consider yourself a wine connoisseur, a complete newbie to the world of wine, intrigued in the natural wine offering, or are always on the lookout to try something new and different, Josh & Florence and the Vera Wine offering has you covered.
“It is important to us to make sure that everyone who walks through our door has the perfect bottle to go home with. This means wines of all styles and all price points. We definitely have a focus on sustainable wine production and organics, however, first and foremost, we want to make sure we can find everyone a bottle. This includes beers, spirits, and great low and no-alcohol drinks.”
Weekly wine tastings will be happening in the Beaumont St space each and every Saturday. Each tasting will feature a different theme, a region, a producer, or a wine style with grape growers, winemakers, and distributors joining Vera Wine to talk about their wine.
“In addition, we will often have a bottle open for customers to have a try whenever they are in the shop.”
The name is a nod to Florence’s family, and the concept that everyone has that aunt that is a little bit, or maybe a lot of a wine lover.
“Florence has a Great Aunt Vera who lives in England, and she loves a G&T. Every time we mention the name, it seems everyone has an Aunty Vera who loves a wine too. Aunty Vera was the ‘feel’ of the shop; warm and welcoming.”
When talking of the future for Vera Wine, Josh and Florence’s ideas are almost never-ending with Novocastrians sure to revel in the delight of everything the couple brings to Newcastle.
“We have big plans for the future, but maybe we’ll keep it a little hush hush. Let’s just say it involves our new warehouse on Tudor St, Hamilton, and putting together a lovely outdoor space that may or may not be great for wine parties. I think I’ve given too much away!”
So, without further ado, we introduce Vera Wine to the readers of HUNTERhunter and to all of Newcastle locals and visitors alike. Vera Wine is here to bring a new addition to the incredible local wine and beverage community, so get on in and experience Beaumont St’s newest tenant.