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For the Love of Wine

Written by Vanessa Vastag

They say - In vino veritas - in wine there is truth. And so we set out to uncover the truth about the local wine bar scene and what it has to offer… As it turns out, it was a purely wine-derful experience!

What are the elements that make a good wine bar? We came up with a few key components to look for - the location, the ambiance of the venue, the overall service, the experience of the sommeliers and of course, an impeccable wine list! And with these things in mind we sipped, we dined and we joyfully composed a short list of the best wine bars not to be missed on the GC.

Starting in Bundall we discovered the funky vibe of Bar Leo. Already crowned ‘the hidden gem of Sorrento’ here is a fabulous, fully thought through, indoor/outdoor space that simply does not disappoint. With its open kitchen and modern design Bar Leo will have your senses heightened from entry. Run by local husband and wife team Alana and Jai (Jai also happens to be the chef), with fabulously attentive staff, and an international wine list and menu curated in thoughtful complementary union. On recommendation we enjoyed a glass of the Australian Valentine Pinot Noir, which paired perfectly with our Duck liver pate off the share plate menu. Come on a Sunday afternoon and you’ll enjoy the chill sounds of live music in the background, what’s not to love? Bar Leo is a sheer delight. Hats off to the small team that have ticked all our 'must have' boxes already.

Next, we head to Burleigh Heads and find Paloma. Situated in the heart of town, this is the not so hidden gem of James Street; so well recognised in fact, Paloma was named by Gourmet Traveller as 2023’s Wine bar of the year just 10 months after opening their doors. Brought to you by the team behind award-winning restaurant Labart (also in Burleigh), Paloma has a seasonal menu that changes based on the high-quality and daily availability of produce as well as a specially crafted wine selection, so you simply won’t leave without having your palate enriched. We sampled the Italian Margò, Regio Bianco which is a must try for all orange wine lovers.

Just three minutes up the road we found ourselves in the immersive and intimate surroundings of La Bella Cellar. So much more than a wine bar, after newly changing hands, this exclusive fresh space delivers an elevated culinary experience that is not to be missed if you’re looking for the Gold Coast’s finest boutique wine and food destination. Boasting an exquisite selection of wines from around the world, both (food and wine) menus have been curated to give you the ultimate pairing experience and it absolutely doesn’t disappoint. We decided to keep it in the country and went with an absolutely cracking Barossa Valley Shiraz, Utopos, paired with a mouth-watering lamb tagine. Prepare to have your tastebuds blown by the experience.

Heading back up the coastline and into the heart of Broadbeach we are spoilt for choice. Firstly, we explore the multi-award-winning Moo Moo The Wine bar + Grill. If enjoying a juicy tender cut of aged beef and a delicious hearty red is your jam, then this is the place for you. Diving into the ocean-sized international wine list is all a part of the experience, so just prop yourself up on one of the high tables inside, around the bar or alfresco style with a group of friends, and your cup will runneth over with a plethora of exceptional beverages to choose from. We managed to land on the smooth Catena ‘High Mountain’ - a knock your socks off Argentinian Malbec which is definitely a crowd pleaser.  Moo Moo’s is a well-known, long-standing institution in Broadbeach and, with its consistent reputation for style, quality produce and high calibre staff, satisfaction is guaranteed all year round.

Not far down the road, and one of the newer kids on the block, is the fabulous Vivo On Broadbeach. A Mediterranean inspired mixed grill and seafood cuisine by the culinary legend Danny Cecchi, this beautifully designed space offers a relaxed elegance for entertainment of all kinds. Whether its private dining or just people watching, wine in hand on the beautiful Broadbeach strip, this new contender has won our hearts for its chic style and satisfaction.

Finally, we take our tastebuds a little further north to the impressive Carafe Wine in Southport, which delivers premium wine on tap from a selection of Australia’s leading wine regions. Reintroducing the European style of decanting wine from a tap into elegant carafes, means wine not only maintains its freshness, but reduces the carbon footprint by a whopping 90%. Carafe Wine also works with Australian grape producers to maintain a sustainable winery process - so you get to enjoy award-winning wines whilst doing your bit for the planet. ‘Wine without waste’ – it works for us!

The truth is, we have only just scratched the surface on our wine bar tour. The Gold Coast is full to the brim with fantastic wine experiences - so book an uber, grab your mates and head off on your own adventure.


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