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Glou Sustainable Wine Dispensary

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by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
Published January 15th 2021
Melbourne’s newest wine store with a sustainable difference
Glou owners, Glou Sustainable Wine Dispensary
Glou's owners. Newly married couple Rahel Goldmann and Ron Davis. Photo credit Facebook Glou

People had some great ideas during lockdown and we are now starting to see some of these come to fruition. Glou a sustainable wine dispensary in Collingwood, opened six weeks ago, but the thinking behind it came out of this period of deep thought. Thinking about what would make the world a better place in the industry you work in.

Glou Sustainable Wine Dispensary
Photo @nadinecresswellmyatt

Ron Davis has managed wine stores such as Samuel Pepy's, Le Pont Wine Store, alongside his wife Rahel​ Goldmann (ex-Hell of the North, IDES), but during lockdown, they dreamt about opening a wine store that was also environmentally conscious. They wanted one where patrons could bring in a supplied refillable bottle and then return it for a refill next time they came into the store. Or be offered a rebate if they wished to return them.

They also wanted these wines to be from smaller more sustainable producers who emphasise minimal intervention in the winemaking process.

As Davis explains it, "we know the huge effort some winemakers go to produce sustainable wine. But then it ends up in single-use bottles that create carbon dioxide emissions when manufactured, labelled, transported and disposed of."

"We save the winemakers transport costs by collecting the wine.We transfer it into sustainable KeyKegs, which are recyclable, lightweight kegs that dispense liquid with air pressure instead of gas. The reduced weight dramatically reduces the carbon footprint normally associated with transporting goods."

All this cutting of emissions also leads to cutting costs for customers. Glou sells some incredible wines at 30 per cent less than regular retail prices. But as well as sustainability, the couple wanted a different concept for their wine store - a Berlin-inspired venue (Rahel is from Germany) where the boundaries are blurred between retail store and tasting room.

You sense this as soon as you approach the sparkling new store, which is smack in the middle of Smith Street's famous strip of enticing restaurant and bar options. Entering Glou, feels like ducking off the street for a relaxing drink in a bar.

Glou is an attractive cutting-edge space designed by cult Berlin artist, Matthias George Koerner, and Timmy Bourke of Timmy Bourke Designs. Velvet chairs and modern seating juxtaposed against bare floors. It is a long, deep space but one divided into welcoming smaller areas for groups of different sizes.

Watching the customers come and go was interesting. Quite a few couples wandering in for a drink. Some people came on their own to get their refills and try a new wine for the week but ended up chatting to Ron and Rahel, who are congenial hosts.

Glou Sustainable Wine Dispensary
A growler of wine. Photo supplied

Ron has undertaken sommelier training and what he doesn't know about wine isn't worth knowing. He'll run you through the tastings with passion and understanding. And you'll walk out all the wiser with a bottle and everything you now know about its contents tucked under your arm.

The name Glou comes from a French term meaning glug and there's nothing pretentious about the wine chats here, or the decor or atmosphere. It's wine and wine people at an approachable level, even though Ron and Rahel have spent 30 years working in fine-dining restaurants and up-market wine stores and really know all about, well, pretty much everything.

As well as a great chat about wine, Ron gave me some fascinating insights into an English writer when the author came up in our (or should that be his) wide-ranging conversation.

Glou, for enjoying great wine. Food delivered in. Photo credit Glou Facebook

Glasses of wine can also be enjoyed over food. The owners have a special relationship with Japanese-inspired eatery, MONO XO and can order in Japanese style tapas that pairs well with your wine. Dishes such as royal Miyagi oysters with an aged wine emulsion and whipped Plu mullet with ginger shallot relish.

Glou Sustainable Wine Dispensary
Photo credit Glou Facebook

Food is fetched on the shop's pushbike and doesn't come in normal throw-away packaging but in sustainable silver bento boxes.

Japanese-inspired eatery, MONO XO.
Japanese-inspired eatery, MONO XO menu Nadine Cresswell-Myatt

While a great place to enjoy wine onsite, the joy is in taking a bottle home with you. Refills come in three sizes: 500mL, 1000mL or 2000mL growlers.

Glou Sustainable Wine Dispensary
Photo @nadinecresswellmyatt

You pay $8 the first time, whatever the size of the bottle, and then when you bring it back empty, it's swapped for another one which you then get refilled at the cost of the wine. "A bit like a gas bottle swap-and-go," Ron explained.

The carefully chosen wines represent a new wave of Australia's winemakers those creating wines those stretching the limits of stylistic conventions and using sustainable production methods.

Glou Sustainable Wine Dispensary
Glou's present menu

Wineries include Ari's Natural Wine Co, a boutique winery in the Southern Highlands of NSW who specialise in producing unfiltered natural wine with no additives -vegan-friendly with no sulphites and Rasa Wines are small-batch, handcrafted wines from the Barossa Valley. One of the star attractions are wines by Charlotte Dalton, the unofficial "Queen of the Adelaide Hills" with her attention to detail and unmatched level of care in her winemaking process of pure, expressive wines. She has had over 20 years experience in the industry and worked in regions like the world-famous Bordeaux, all of which is reflected in her range of amazing crafted wines.

Dirty Black Denim is a Victorian winery offering alternate styles, with little to no chemical intervention. Phil Lobley Wines, from the Yea Valley, are about sustainability and ethical values with handcrafted wines that undergo wild yeast fermentation and are not filtered or fined giving a unique character.

Ben Haines has the philosophy that "Provenance is the heart and soul of all great things – family, culture, food, art…" and is one of Victoria's most sought after winemakers. Now with his own wine label, he crafts small batches of impeccable wines.

Noisy Ritual is is on home ground as an urban winery. It started in a suburban basement and is now a full-scale winery making premium wine in Brunswick East with grapes sourced from Victorian vineyards.

Not a drinker? Glou also serves up Monceau Fuji Kombucha made from organic ingredients. It's refreshing, like biting into a Granny Smith apple, plus makes for a great palate cleanser. Glou's interior has also been purposefully created to be a welcoming and inviting community space.

Rahel has been heavily involved in project management in her past roles, so expect great events. Follow the Glou Facebook to find out about forthcoming vegan cheese and wine pairing nights, collaborations with Brunswick's CERES and the Sustainable Living Foundation plus chances to meet environmentally-aware winemakers and viticulturists.

As Ron explains, "wine is about enjoyment... that will always be its purpose and why we're drawn to it. But it also holds a magnificent possibility to make a positive change in the world. If you're in a position to be able to make conscious choices about where your wine comes from and how it came to be, then utilise that and know that you've truly helped to make a difference. If we can harness that potential and be merry whilst doing so then we all win."

A business worth supporting as we have all seen the light of making the world a better place after lockdown.
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Why? Sustainable wines at great prices - you have to love Glou
When: Tuesday - Sunday, 12-9pm
Phone: (03) 8529 4439
Where: 310 Smith St, Collingwood VIC 3066
Cost: Let's start with the $8 refillable bottle then refilling it with wines often 30% off normal bottled wine prices.
Your Comment
A great idea Nadine. The old is now the new. Reusing glass bottles instead of throwing them away.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|1655) 41 days ago
Nadine, I have heard of quite a few new businesses that have been created out of COVID. I guess people had time to think, design and fulfill desires of doing something different.
by Susan J Bowes (score: 3|1903) 41 days ago
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