A second boutique wine store has opened in Warrnambool in as many weeks, providing discerning wine lovers "with a thirst for something different" with even more choice.
Tendril Wine Store has opened in Fairy Street and its owner Andrew Phillpot said the customer response was encouraging.
"It's been really gratifying to see the kinds of things people are buying or being encouraged by myself to buy outside of the norm, of what was available here," Mr Phillpot said.
"From that I take that there's a thirst for something different in town."
Mr Phillpot worked for 20 years as a sommelier in wine bars and for restaurant groups, as well as a buyer importing various wines.
"I worked for The Press Club as a sommelier there, then the wine bar for that group imported Greek wines," Mr Phillpot said. "I was there for 10 years. I transitioned out of that and then started importing Italian wine with a friend.
"When COVID-19 hit, our customer base was 95 per cent restaurants, which obviously disappeared almost overnight."
He said he returned to Warrnambool, where he is originally from, and hasn't left.
"I came back for the first (COVID-19) lockdown for three weeks and two years later I'm still here."
The store stocks imported wines from Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Germany and Austria as well as Australian, Victorian and locally-produced drops from the Henty and Grampians regions.
"There's lots of grower champagne," Mr Phillpot said. "I'm quite fond of single malt whiskey myself so I've got quite a selection of that from smaller independent bottlers.
"I'm drawing on my contacts from over the years, people I've bought wine from when I was in restaurants.
"Largely, family wine growers or people practicing sustainable viticulture. It's just an extension of what I've always bought in restaurants over the years."
Mr Phillpot said he felt the time was right to open the new business, which also stocks 70 different craft beers and French and Swiss ciders.
"It was always in the back of my mind but I wasn't confident Warrnambool was at a stage where it was ready for what I'm offering here," he said.
"But I think in the last five years that's been a change and COVID has probably accelerated that as well with people, not unlike myself, moving to or moving back to Warrnambool.
"Port Fairy has attracted more of these things than Warrnambool previously has, on the basis of its holiday trade, but it's great to see Warrnambool getting into the action now as well."
He said customers could try different wines at instore tastings held each Friday afternoon and Saturday lunchtime.
"It's about exposing people to wines they might not have been familiar with in their drinking life."
The wine store's launch follows the opening of Marshalls Bottleshop in Warrnambool's Ozone Lane on March 23.
"There's some crossover with what we do but I think it's all about critical mass," Mr Phillpot said. "It's great to have two new places open in a short space of time."
He said he wanted a botanical name for the business and was looking through some of his wine botany books when he found it.
"I saw the word tendril and was thinking tendrils reach out and grab a hold of things," Mr Phillpot said.
"I was thinking about where I've sourced wine from in my time travelling overseas, grabbing and dragging into Warrnambool all these intriguing wines from all over the world."
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