By Indepedent Retailer

The retailers listed here are merchants we trust, and subscribers have said good things about. We’re giving a snapshot of the kinds of wines they tend to specialize in or offer good prices on, but for up-to-date specials please check our Billboard and our weekly Bargain Alerts. Please also check our shortlist Online Wine merchants – the Good, Bad & Ugly Updated.

It’s easier for independent wine merchants to compete online, and the net makes it easier for us to support them. Buying online is so much easier than buying in shops, pushing trolleys through checkouts and car parks and schlepping the heavy boxes home and unloading them, providing you go to the right places. What you need are these basic ingredients for success:

  • good range of quality wines
  • informative, easy to navigate website
  • competitive prices and competitive shipping options
  • fast, personal service


Australia’s biggest independent wine retailer is still a family company, which grew out of a mixed business in Bondi Road in Sydney started by Leslie and Emma Kemeny in 1960. The Kemenys arrived in Australia as refugee from Hungary after the 1956 revolution was brutally crushed by Soviet tanks. Theirs is one of many migrant success stories.

The shop in Bondi is still operating, but most of Kemenys’ wine is sold online these days. The range may be more limited than that of Dan Murphy’s, but the prices are sharp or sharper. Kemenys’ hidden labels often provide even more value for money, and the Devils Ridge range of cleanskins has a number of bargains in the line-up.

Devil’s Ridge Block 7 Margaret River Chardonnay 2012 – $10. Good quaffing Chardy, not complex but clean and easy on the gums.

Miamup EstateChardonnay 2011 – $10. Ready to drink Chardonnay for a song, developed flavour and some complexity.

Hidden Label Eden Valley Riesling 2013 – $11. This is Thorn Clarke Sandpiper Riesling, a classic Eden Valley Riesling and multi gold medal winner. Super Bargain.

Ravenshead Margaret River Chardonnay 2012 – $11. Pretty slick, rich and creamy Chardonnay made by Larry Cherubino. Quality drinking at a bargain price

Claymore Joshua Tree Riesling 2013 – $14. A cracker from the Clare Valley. Unbelievable price.

Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Cellar Aged Semillon 2007 – $16. Trophies and golds galore here. Not our style but many love it.

2014-01-13_124104Sons of Eden Freya Riesling 2013 – $19 – One of Australia’s Top Rieslings, made by Corey Ryan from Eden Valley fruit.

Miamup Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 – $10. Elegant Cabernet style with hints of vanilla oak and cassis on the nose, and dark berries on the palate dancing on a cool line of fine acid. Some dusty notes on the long finish, wonderful line and length, a touch of unexpected class here. Hard to believe at this price.

Devil’s Ridge Block 10 Barossa Valley Shiraz 2011 – $10. Terrific value, medium bodied, attractive red fruits, not too much pepper, smooth, round and seductive.

Devils Ridge McLaren Vale Shiraz 2012 – $10. This was our wine of the week last week, a lovely wine you’d be happy paying twice as much for – plenty of charm and easy appeal without the heavy weight and the hard edge of the velvet fist in the iron glove. A true delight, and a real bargain.

Claymore You’ll Never Walk Alone Grenache Mataro Shiraz 2012 – $15. Fresh, fruit-driven drink now style from Clare. Great value.

Kilikanoon Killermans Run Grenache Shiraz Mouvedre 2012 – $17. Another GSM from Clare, this one with more substance. Trophy at the Decanter World Wine Awards.

Mildara Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 – $22. A great old icon makes a comeback. we haven’t tried it but Winefront says it’s a winner.

Hidden Label Noble Botrytis Semillon 2008 375ml – $13. This is Nugan Estate Cookoothama Botrytis Semillon (Riverina) under a hidden label. 2 trophies and 4 medals.

Chandon Brut Rose NV – $19. Decent example of the style


This site is run by Daniel and Trish Di Pietro, who also run WineSellersDirect (see below) and Nilumbik Cellars. All their stores are located in Melbourne.

These guys have an enormous depth of stock, often including wines long sold out at other retailers, and they ship to most parts of Australia for for free (over $200) or a flat $10 (under $200). They offer sharp prices and personal service, and they have 2 retail outlets in Melbourne. More details HERE. Some examples of their best deals:

Hoddles Creek Estate Chardonnay 2013 – $19. Super bargain from boutique Yarra Valley maker.

Mountadam High Eden Chardonnay 2012 – $26. More refined and elegant than the superb 2010 but just as good. 96 points from JH

Evans Tate Metricup Road Cabernet Merlot 2012 – $16. Great reviews, including 96 points from James Halliday. We rate it closer to 92, but it’s still good buying for the money.

Bress Heathcote Bendigo Shiraz 2012 – $20. Boutique red of great flavour and style, made along traditional lines.

Forest Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 – $20. Great Southern winery making superb wines. This one is 6 years old.



MyCellars is the online only wine store of Gary Priest and Trent Fahey, who have well over 40 years experience in the wine trade between them. The guys find some interesting wines for us. If you look at our new page that lists Australia’s Best Boutique wines under $20, you’ll see that almost half the links go to MyCellars. That’s because the guys specialise in offering great small maker wines at competitive prices.

They also give you a lot of information on each wine – what other reviewers are saying, medals won and so on. Our only gripe is the white on black lettering and the eye-watering font size – guys, please have mercy on those of us whose eye sight isn’t what it used to be.

PLEASE NOTE: The prices here are the same for one bottle or 6 or 12. Freight is the same too at $10, but free for orders > $250, and free for BWU$20 subscribers for any quantity (promo code BWU20). Makes buying wine really easy, especially if you just want to grab a few bottles to try. And they tend to turn up on your doorstep within 48 hours of ordering. In addition, service is terrific and personal – Gary’s mobile number is on the website.

Please check the Specials Page

West Cape Howe Riesling 2013 -$17. Trophies and golds, and accolades. Haven’t tried it but WCH in the Great Southern makes good wines so it’s well worth a look

Brockenchack Mackenzie William Riesling 2013 – $17. MC finds boutique wines like these for us at attractive prices. Great Riesling, austere and built for the long haul.

Seville Estate The Barber Chardonnay 2013 – $20. The basic Chardy from a highly regarded boutique – Yarra Valley finesse and elegance here 

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2013 – $23. Benchmark Savvy, made by Kevin Judd of Cloudy bay fame.

Mojo Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 – $13. Not exactly classic Coonawarra but a very good red for the money. 

Thorn Clarke Terra Shiraz Cabernet Petit Verdot 2010 – $16. This won the under $20 group at the Great Aussie red shootout 2012, and it’s still around?

Riposte the Dagger Pinot Noir 2013 – $17. JH rates this 95% and says it’s outrageous value.

Sons of Eden ‘Kennedy’ GSM 2012 – $20. Made by Corey Ryan, this is one of the best GSMs you can buy for $20

Lois by The Lane Blanc de Blancs – $18. Zippy bubbles made from Chardonnay, great style.



These guys have been operating as a local wine merchant in Keilor (Melbourne) since 1975. They set up an online service in 1997, which makes this one of the internet’s longest serving wine retailers. Winestar now has national distribution channels as well and ships to parts of Asia. The Directors of WineStar are brothers Pierre and Bert Werden.

The website is well-sorted (except for glitches after an upgrade late August 2014), the wines are interesting, you get heaps of information on each wine including reviews and medals, the prices are pretty sharp and freight is free to 97% of the country. The weekly mailer is full of useful info but tends to sell a bit hard, so use some caution here. Again, the service is personal and there’s phone number on the website.

Check the home page for Specials, and sign up for an informative but hard-selling newsletter.

Evans & Tate Metricup Road Margaret River Chardonnay 2013 – $16. Haven’t tried the 2013 – the big and generous 2012 is still in most of the shops – but this has been a strong performer in the value stakes.

Yealands Land made Sauvignon Blanc 2013 – $14. Tangy, savoury gooseberry style, best of the cheaper Kiwis by far, great value.

Greywacke Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 – $22. Great style and varietal expression in a delicate package, made by Kevin Judd of Cloudy bay fame.

Bella Riva King Valley Sangiovese 2012 – $12.50. Yet another label from de Bortoli. Sharp price but you have to buy a dozen. 95 points from the Halliday team but it’s really just a nice pizza / pasta red, juicy and tasty with a clean finish. Good buying at this price.

Evans & Tate Metricup Road Margaret River Cabernet Merlot 2011 – $16. Great year over in the West. 96 points from James Halliday. Bit big and obvious but lots going for it.

Woodlands Cabernet Merlot 2012 – $22. Superb Cab Merlot, more refined than the E & T but lots going on, really impressive style.

Hoddles Creek Pinot Noir 2013 – $19. Great style, leaning more to the herbal/leafy than the fruity side.

Turkey Flat Butchers Block GSM 2012 – $19. One of the best GSMs made in the valley.



This is an Adelaide-based store that stocks South Australian wines which may be hard to get hold of elsewhere. ‘At we are enthusiastic, well-informed, approachable and seldom thirsty,’ says the About Page. ‘We have a love and knowledge of wine that, like a Dutch bike, should be shared – so we put this site together to share the love. Get on!’

Geoff Barker, one of the principals, sent us a note saying ‘ Our staff live, eat and breathe wine … we even drink it … lots of it. We also write about it in magazines and judge it at wine shows. We don’t own wineries, relabel wines and pass them off as unbelievable deals – we simply taste what is currently available and let our customers know about the good stuff. We are REAL people who love drinking REAL wine.

We’ve now run a couple of promos with Darryl Pratt at Winedirect, and feedback from our subscribers has been excellent on all aspects of service.

Some of the goodies:

2007 Tim Adams Clare Riesling – $15

2012 Leconfield Old Vine Riesling – $16

Pirramimma French Oak Chardonnay 2013 – $18. Serious Chardy from a very underrated winery in McLaren Vale. 

Tyrrell’s Pokolbin Hills Semillon 2008  – $20. A one-off, gets good reviews, looks like good value.

Richard Hamilton Shiraz 2012 – $15. More refined, fragrant and elegant than McLaren Vale Shiraz usually is. Stylish, and good value.

2011 Chalk Hill Sidetrack Shiraz Grenache – $15

2012 Chalk Hill Procrastinator Cabernet Franc – $15

2007 Tim Adams Cabernet Malbec – $20

NV Leconfield Syn Cuvee Blanc – $14


Wine Sellers Direct at Greythorn is owned by the Di Pietro family, which also runs Winelistaustralia.

Please note: the live links I post for this merchant aren’t always stable – if the link doesn’t take you directly to the wine, please just search for it on the website. Delivery is pretty much free to most parts of the country for dozen buys.

West Cape Howe Old School Chardonnay 2013 – $16. sounds like our kind of Chardy – rich, buttery, nutty  and oaky.

Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling 2013  – $16. Great Riesling, as always, and great value.

Hoddles Creek Estate Chardonnay 2013 – $19. The last three vintages have been great, and this one should continue the fine form of this winery

Mountadam High Eden Chardonnay 2012 – $26. Not unlike a classy white Burgundy, fine and elegant, terrific value.

Brown Brothers Pinot Chardonnay Meunier NV –  $18. One of the finest bubblies anywhere near $20.

Wynns Coonawarra The Siding Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 – $15. Lovely wine, rich and ripe cassis with a lick of oak, and all in good balance.  Bargain.

Forester Cabernet Merlot 2010 – $15. Easy drinking Cab Merlot from a good winery in Margaret River. Gets 95 points from Halliday. About 92 from but still good value.

Mitchell Peppertree Shiraz – $20. Big, rich Clare Valley Shiraz with aging potential. Sharp price.

This merchant also stocks wines that have disappeared from the shelves of other retailers. Some examples:

Leconfield Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 $30. Stunning Cabernet from a top year, big but balanced.

Wynns Coonawarra Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 – $27. Better than the 2010 in this case. Lovely clean wine with pristine fruit, balance and length. These wine age deceptively well.

Ross_Hill_Different Drop 

An online wine merchant that focuses on ‘awesome, unique Australian craft wines. remarkable wines made by real people that you won’t find in your average wine store.’ Brett, Tom and Tim love what they do, and their passion shines through their website. They deliver for $9, for FREE on orders over $150, and they offer free returns if you’re not 100% satisfied with your purchase.

There’s a wine club as well, which offers special wines and deals for members. Here are a few of the wines they have on offer:

Belgravia Pinot Gris 2012 – $9. From a quality boutique, probably at its best now.

Bleasdale Pinot Gris 2013 – $14. Seriously good PG, multi-gold winner. Dry style, Adelaide Hills.

Galli Tempranillo Grenache Shiraz 2012 – $18. A different red from Heathcote, Victoria.

Harewood H-Block Pinot Noir 2012 – $19 at Different DropGreat Little Pinot from a JH red 5-star boutique in Denmark (Great Southern WA)

The Alchemists Merlot 2011 – $21. Superb Merlot from a tiny boutique in Margaret River.

Ross Hill Isabelle and Jack Cabernet Franc Merlot 2012 – $22 Bordeaux blend from Orange, NSW.


United Cellars  

Another independent wine merchant with a range of interesting wines from Australia and Europe. ‘We believe in delivering to you top quality products, at market lowest prices with a high level of personalized service all the way from choosing the right wine through to ensuring its safe delivery to you.’ UC offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee with all wines purchased and a Guaranteed Value Promise to price-match wines offered elsewhere. Once again, you’re dealing with real people here: email or phone in on 1300 226 835. Some of their wines:

Delatite Dead Mans Hill Gewuerz 2013 – $20. One of our best but always hard to find

Bress Silver Chook Chardonnay 2013 – $24. Same here. Handmade from Macedon fruit

Pyren Vineyard Broken Quarz abernet Sauvignon 2012 – $19. Cool climate Cabernet from the Pyrerees

Willunga 100 McLaren Vale Grenache 2013 – $20. Made from 50-year-old vines.

McLaren Vale

Wine Online

These guys used to have a 10 or 15% sale on every month, but not lately. They do have some interesting boutique wines here as well.

Ninth Island Pinot Grigio 2013  – $15. In the rich and ripe mould, beautifully done. Have with rich pork dishes. Don’t keep for too long.

Seresin Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2012  $22. One of the best Kiwi savvies, handmade from grapes grown in biodynamic vineyards.

Snake & Herring ‘Tough Love’ Chardonnay 2012 – $20. Don’t know this wine. J.Pringle and Winefront give it 91 and 90 points and say it’s a good wine.

Mountadam High Eden estate Chandonnay 2012 – $27. My two companions thought this was even better than the great 2010, but I thought it was a close call. Brilliant Chardy either way. Good price.

Fraser Gallop Estate Cabernet Merlot 2012 – $16. These are fine and classy wines from Margaret River, the whites are subtle and restrained and the reds typical of this area, elegant and smooth and full of flavour.

Bress Silver Chook La Gallina Heathcote bendigo Red NV – $20 clever blend of Shiraz, Sangiovese and Merlot.

Leconfield Merlot 2012 – $20. One of Australia’s best Merlots. Great year, great wine, great price.

Mollydooker ‘Two Left Feet’ Shiraz Cabernet Merlot 2012 – $22. A red for those of you who like ‘em over the top and overripe. 15.5.

Fraser G


A year ago I introduced GLUG as a source of quality wines at bargain prices – wines blended by David Farmer and partner Ben Parker at the Rolf Binder winery in the Barossa. We continue to support them despite their complete lack of manners, because subscribers like the wines, the value and the service.

Some good whites here, but the main focus is on big reds from South Australia – most of all those made from Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz

Salem Valley Estates Vine Vale Barossa Valley Viognier 2012 -$5. Bargain says David

Mount Eagle Eden Valley Riesling 2013– $9. Decent Eden Valley Riesling for under $1o.

Donnybrook Clare Valley Riesling 2012 – $9. Quality Clare Riesling from a great vintage at a silly price, and it got better and better over several days. Real depth and length, and will improve for years.

Harem ‘Layla’ Barossa Valley Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2012 – $12. The standout red. Wonderful, yes: almost sinful. Sumptuous, soft, sweet and gorgeous.

Langdorf Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2010 – $15. I really liked this red, which has a little more elegance than the Layla, and is just under 14%

Stockwell Creek ‘Basket Pressed’ Barossa Valley Grenache 2012 – $15, authentic example of what Grenache can do in the Barossa

There are lots more bargains on the List of Specials but be quick because the quantities are small.