Food Drink

The secret behind Australia’s #1 wine bar

Nestled on Goodwood Road, Good Gilbert is a bar where people come for wine but stay for the people – no wonder the venue had been voted the best in Australia.

Image credit: Good Gilbert/oliveoates

It’s no secret that Adelaide’s small bar scene is one to be enviable of. And now, SA is officially home to one of the best wine bars in Australia, with neighbourhood favourite Good Gilbert taking out the title for the People’s Choice award at the 2021 Wineslinger Awards.

Tucked away on Goodwood Road with its timeless Eurocentric fit-out, a smattering of plants and prints around the joint and an enviable wine list, Good Gilbert has created a haven where people come for tipples but stay for the people.

Having only opened the neighbourhood bar a year ago, Good Gilbert has gone from strength to strength.

“[I’m] overwhelmed,” says owner and sommelier Wilson Shawyer. “I think I’m still quite shocked by the announcement. Both myself and the team are just blown away by the love and support that we’ve received.”

“For us, it’s just a testament to just how great our customer base is and how supportive they have been since day one… South Australian’s turned up, and they put us on the map.”

The annual Wineslinger Awards celebrates the best venues in the wine slinging business nationally, platforming vibrant newcomers and shining a light on the innovators and mavericks in the industry.

While Wilson isn’t new to the industry himself, having gained his wine knowledge formally training in London, this is the sommelier’s first time owning a wine bar. Here, he says his key to success is making the pleasure of drinking a good glass of wine accessible to all.

“We have no quarrels about wine, there’s no right way to do it or wrong way to do it, wine is so subjective and opinionated,” says Wilson.

“It’s a very personal thing.

“We tailor our venue to be personal and to make it engaging, accessible and easy for everyone to understand and get involved in…. we’re helping educate people, but doing it through their palates rather than making it a real formal occasion that wine education normally is.”

Wilson says he’s been fortunate that people have decided to take their palate on a holiday through tipples of fine wine during the pandemic. While South Aussies can’t jet off internationally to taste the fruits of Italy and France, pouring Giovanni Rosso’s Etna Bianco and wine from Burgundy transports guests straight to the sloping European vineyards – a silver lining of opening during the pandemic, perhaps.

With an ever-evolving wine list and an impressive cellar of over 300 wines, both commercial and small-batch, there’s sure to be a drop that tickles your taste buds.

“We want it to be versatile and fluid and ever-changing… and that people feel like when they visit, it will going to be different every time,” says Wilson.

“For us, wine is a rabbit hole…the more you look into it, the more you discover.

“And the same experience that our customers receive is what we go through on a weekly basis – constantly looking for really fun, inviting, accessible wines that speak to people – it’s important that the wine has a story, so that people can relate to it.”

To complement their detailed wine list, Good Gilbert’s food menu is just as outstanding.

Created and curated by Head Chef Savannah Sexton, the Good Gilbert menu takes a spin on classic French dishes, like duck a l’orange. Just like their wine list, the menu rotates weekly, utilising as much seasonal produce as possible. From a Murray Cod & Sour Apricot Ceviche to Boudin Noir sausage roll and a Wattleseed LCM bar this week, the menu is equal parts fun and unique as it is nostalgic.

To celebrate their first birthday, and now their national win, Good Gilbert is throwing an epic party for Adelaide by doing what they do best – slinging glasses of fine wine and dishing up mouth-watering food to the community. Teaming up with Our Food Project, guests of the birthday bash can indulge in a pig on the spit in addition to Good Gilbert’s French-style classics.

Pouring $8 pints of Outside Larger by SA’s Bridge Road Brewers and $15 glasses of Pol Roger as well, there will be plenty of tasty tipples going this evening. There is no better way to celebrate the brilliance of Good Gilbert than by wining and dining at the stunning wine bar, immersing yourself in the vibrant family fostered in the Goodwood locale.

“I miss being able to go to a spot where they are cool and vibrant and have a really lovely kind of dedication towards what they’re doing, but at the same time, they know everyone that walks through the door,” says Wilson.

“I missed that sense of belonging that you should be able to find in your neighbourhood…I wanted to create a space at a business that was an extension of my personality and what I stand for.

“I’m working more than I’ve ever worked before, but there’s a real sense of pride in what I’m doing now…and this award is highlighting that it’s super worth it and that people do get behind it. It’s been fun.”

You can find Good Gilbert at 135B Goodwood Road Adelaide, SA, Australia 5034

Keep yo to date with Good Gilbert on Facebook and Instagram

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