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Archie Cox

Archie Cox of Carafe Wines at Double Barrel Kitchen & Bar (image supplied)
Archie Cox of Carafe Wines at Double Barrel Kitchen & Bar (image supplied)

Is it just us, or does drinking your wine from a carafe just add that little bit of pizzazz? Some associate a carafe with dinner parties, but what if we told you that it benefits a lot more than just complimenting your ‘exquisite taste’ and being a talking point over dinner? Think sustainable wine consumption like you’ve never imagined. Enter Carafe Wines, based on the Gold Coast. We got to know the mastermind behind the business, Archie Cox, and found a bit more about how Carafe Wine’s is wine without waste.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I grew up on the GC and spent my days around Southport. I attended Keebra Park High and am a member of the Southport Surf Club, so you could say the GC is my true stomping ground! My favourite places around our glorious Coast are certainly within the fabulous food/wine/events scene and blending this with our sea life is absolutely intoxicating.

Tell us a bit about you.
I grew up on the Gold Coast and I’m one of four boys to hardworking, professional parents. Many locals would have been taught by at least one of these consciously and thoughtful teachers and or principals! My parents broke the mould by taking us kids around Australia to truly allow us to see the genuine culture of our long-standing country, spending time in central Australia learning our indigenous ways.

Land of The Sun - Carafe Wines at Double Barrel Kitchen & Bar (image supplied)
Land of The Sun - Carafe Wines at Double Barrel Kitchen & Bar (image supplied)

During my youth, I began my love of the ocean at Southport Surf Club – rowing boats, until the burning boat life called me to complete my marine mechanics apprenticeship. I was offered an opportunity for the prized boat mechanic of the Australian ‘Formula One boat series’. I traveled the world, securing winning performances for my team, tweaking each boat, including for one of the female drivers – Kay Marshall (iconic at this time). After a few years, I returned to see a niche business opportunity in the elite’s private business security. My ‘large format’ status is not hidden, and it had become a benefit on the Formula One circuit as the drivers required security support, and I seamlessly bounced into another new role. This then lead me to take an imperative role in the daily runnings of ‘The Playroom – Tallebudgera.’ I was managing there when I was presented with the opportunity to take over this local music establishment. I was the frontman of ‘The Playroom’ and wanted to turn it into the most iconic Gold Coast music venue for all the famous bands worldwide to showcase their talents. The tunes that bounced from the wall and carpet weekly included The Living End, INXS, Run DMC, the Ramones, Powderfinger, Mighty Mighty Bostones, and the local likes of Pete Murray. But one icon I truly enjoyed was Henry Rollins, even heading to gym sessions with the boss man himself. Sadly, in 1999 the land where ‘the playroom’ stood was taken into submission.

After reflection and redirection, I turned my hand to another passion in the wine trade, from grape farming to marketing and sales. I travelled the Australian coastline making marks in every town, learning the fine talent of a wine connoisseur. My experience and love developed further over the last 15 years as I helped many well-known brands to create food and wine menus with my, some may say, prestigious palette. My most recent role was almost a decade of popping corks for the beloved Moet Hennessy. I am eternally proud of this time with the LVMH team, and I’ve been lucky enough to experience a dream life for many. I have seen the world sipping bubbles, tasting luscious liquors, and reading my own place card in the most delectable dining rooms. My most pinch-worthy moments were: being seated in Madam Cliquot’s quarters upon her prized possessions and clearing dust from the bottles in the cellar of Krug as well as initiating an insurmountable success at music festivals and high-profile events. Some of my happiest days are meeting the story-worthy people in my customers from our coastal locals to others around the glorious globe.

Carafe Wine brands on tap at Double Barrel Kitchen & Bar (image supplied)
Carafe Wine brands on tap at Double Barrel Kitchen & Bar (image supplied)

Explain to us what Carafe Wine is.
I took a more conscientious turn to ensure what I’d experienced in Australia within wine needed to be passed on. Through my learnings in the luxury wine trade, I hoped to offer a better way to consume. A sustainable wine without waste is served from tap to carafe to table. Carafe Wines maintain their centuries-old stylish European origin by replacing bottles. The global impact of wine bottles for venues and restaurants is hugely impactful, being 460kg of glass wastage per plate and a high cost to venue owners, councils and our environment. I wanted to change this for our future.

What are the benefits of ‘on tap’ wine?
Wine on tap offers a fresher and higher quality wine as it has not been bottled, meaning limited exposure to oxygen. The grapes juice is prime. Many believe that it is “terrible” or “cheap” because it comes on a tap, but it is the opposite. Every European winemaker and drinker agrees. Wine actually maintains its freshness due to less time to oxide, thus providing the consumer with the ultimate drop every time. Carafe Wines is the new chic-conscious way to drink wine for a better future.

Why is reducing our carbon footprint so important?
Reducing our carbon footprint is key to a sustainable life, and currently, the overuse of glass and its inability to properly be recycled is concerning. Here in Australia, we need to consume wine like the Europeans do. We can do this by using a carafe to serve delectable wines direct from barrels or taps and removing the unnecessary wastage (glass) in the process.

Carafe Wine tasting at Double Barrel Kitchen & Bar (image supplied)
Carafe Wine tasting at Double Barrel Kitchen & Bar (image supplied)

What is in store for Carafe Wines over the next 5 years?
Over the next five years, I plan to work with restaurants and bars to find a better alternative to their alcohol consumption lists. Ensuring we all work together to provide a premium to our wine lovers without hurting our environment. The future is bright, and I look forward to truly making a difference while sharing that carafes are chic and the way of tomorrow as ‘what was old is now new again and considerate to us all’.

Where can people enjoy Carafe Wines?
Carafe Wines is on tap at – QT Bazaar, Miami Marketta; Double Barrel Kitchen & Bar Benowa, Omeros Bros Fish Bar, Edgewater and Cafe Le Monde Noosa. Check out the Carafe Wine website for all venues.

What are your Gold Coast favourites…
Café: My favourite coffee spot is Double Barrel Kitchen Mermaid Beach
Coffee spot: My favourite coffee is from home in Miami but second on the list would definitely be Cruize Espresso Chirn Park
Restaurant: I can’t go past the Spanner Crab Dumplings at Mamasan Broadbeach but not to outdo the Lemons Butter Snapper at Omeros Bros Marina Mirage.
Bar or pub for a drink: If I’m going to grungy music grassroots then it’s definitely – Last Night On Earth in Southport
How do you choose to spend your weekends? My weekend (if the weather is right) are spent on the water in my boat. Either fishing or crabbing. I am a hunter/gatherer and enjoy finding the freshest possible produce and creating beautiful food for family and friends to combine with our premium wines, quality champagne, or thirst-quenching beer.

SOMM is your new partner in wine

SOMM Wine Store interior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
SOMM Wine Store interior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

The world of wine and the talks around it can sometimes come off as a little showy and confusing for the everyday Australian. Yet our admiration for this fermented grape juice remains unaffected; enjoying a slurp of Shiraz over the BBQ or a slosh of Chardonnay by the beach are, by far, still some of our favourite pastimes. And this is where the real opportunity lies —bridging the gap from incredible wine and the people who make it to our thirsty glasses whilst sidestepping any swanky behaviour along the way.

Taking this ideal and running with it full steam ahead is the Gold Coast’s newly opened SOMM Wine Store in Nobby Beach.

Husband and wife duo Joe and Natalie are the masterminds behind SOMM, and both extend from families with long Italian Heritage. Joe, in particular, has worked in wine distribution for just shy of two decades, and although he has extensively travelled throughout Europe tasting all of the delectable wines — as you do when one is in Europe — he still knows and appreciates the good producers and emerging styles we have right here in our very own backyard.

SOMM Wine Store (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
SOMM Wine Store (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Stepping inside the sustainably built shop space, you’ll discover sophisticated and minimalistic styling punctuated by rows of perfectly lined and colourful wine labels presenting boundless opportunities to escort your tastebuds far, far away. Browse a while, and you’ll find your favourite grape varieties — but with the likelihood of seeing some winemakers and regions you aren’t familiar with. And this is where it gets fun.

SOMM offers you the chance to discuss your tastes with their in-store experts; somebody will always be on hand to give you the low down. Expect conversations including “this producer’s winemaking style is like…”, or “this region makes fantastic wine because of their prevailing weather.” Really, these are some of the best conversations if you ask us!

The team want you to leave the store with a bottle — or two — of something you are going to love, and whether it’s something you’re familiar with or never even heard of before, it doesn’t matter one inch. The emphasis is to proudly showcase family-owned Australian winemakers with distinct styles, wines that you will genuinely enjoy drinking.

You will, however, find an array of European classics weaved throughout, alongside new-age orange wines and Pétillant Naturel (AKA Pét-Nat’s). If you’ve longed to give one of these a go, a little something left of centre, then this is your very chance to do so. Albeit with some friendly advice and guidance thrown in for good measure.

SOMM Wine Store Exterior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
SOMM Wine Store Exterior (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Dynamic and welcoming, whether you’re popping in on a weeknight for a little something to accompany dinner or looking for some stellar wines to go alongside a large family lunch: SOMM will cater for all tastes.

And for those with a curious outlook, you’ll be pleased to learn from 4pm on Saturdays the guys will be holding weekly tastings, where they’ll discuss and give you the chance to taste a selection of wines. Possibly the best ‘try before you buy’ we’ve ever heard of!

Where: 2245 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach
When: Sunday – Tuesday, 10am — 7pm
Wednesday – Saturday, 10am — 9pm

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

SOMM Wine Store Selection (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
SOMM Wine Store Selection (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Michael Pyrgos

Michael Pyrgos

Michael Pyrgos is the familiar face you may have seen around town while making the agonsising decision of what wine to match your meal. For the uninitiated, it’s always best just to leave it to Michael. He’s a Sommelier who has graced several of the Gold Coast’s finest dining establishments including The Fish House, Hellenika (Gold Coast), Fins, Videre at Royal Pines and Vanitas at Palazzo Versace.

In his wine career to date, Michael has also won 3 ‘glasses’ (the prestigious awards for a wine list, the equivalent of chef hats for food) as a sommelier in three different venues. Only the best wine lists in the country receive 3 glasses, so yeah, you could say Michael knows a thing or two about the delightful grape juice we all love. We caught up with Michael to give us the low-down on all things wine, but most importantly, how to match it to cheese….

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I moved from Cyprus to Australia in 2000, lived in Canberra for a while, then moved up to the Gold Coast in 2001 after a mate showed me photos and told me he was moving up. I knew then that the GC would be my new home.

What do you love most about living here?
The thing I love the most about living here is the laid-back lifestyle and of course, the weather.

Tell us about your career thus far?
I grew up from a young age in restaurants – being Greek, someone in the family always owns a restaurant! There was never a dull moment working in this industry from Greek taverns, to hotels, to fine dining restaurants, I have always had fun. The greatest part about a career in hospitality is that you learn something new everyday and you meet so many different people from all walks of life.

Tell us about the role of being a sommelier.
There was always wine on the table growing up and we were allowed to have a dash at lunchtime. I knew it as only white wine or red wine (never named by the grape). My wine journey started when I arrived here in Australia. I very quickly fell in love with the Canberra Riesling, Hunter Semillon and of course, the Barossa Shiraz. It was all about different varieties, vintages, terroir and labels. There was so much to learn about wine and the only way to learn was to drink the wine. I started buying wine each week from the bottle shops and every week it was a different grape and different area. It was educational and at the same time a lot of fun. I attended every tasting I could and loved listening to others talk about wine. My first Sommeliers role was at the Palazzo Versace Hotel. Their policy back then was that the Sommelier had to taste every bottle that was opened, as you would never serve anything you wouldn’t drink to a customer. I loved that policy…

What is it that intrigues you about the wine industry?
Good question. Years ago, it was all about putting well known, big name wines on a list and almost to try to include as many as possible, to make a list look “great”. Nowadays, things have changed for the better. Chefs are more involved and provide their input on wine lists, as there is nothing better than choosing the perfect wine to compliment and enhance an amazing dish, rather than just having a wine chosen purely for its name. This means that restaurant wine lists are much smaller however, a lot more interesting. Wine lists are also ever-evolving, for example ten years ago the organic wine selection would have been at the very end of the list, whereas now they’re much more popular and likely to be at the beginning of a list. How things change.

What restaurants on the Gold Coast do you think have a great wine list?
Nineteen at The Star, Miss Moneypenny’s, The North Room, Jimmy Wahs, Gemelli, just to mention a few.

For the uneducated (us), what type of wines would you never buy a cheaper version of?
A common question I’m asked is what should I and what shouldn’t I be buying. My answer to this is ‘Drink what you like and like what you drink’. Everyone’s palate is different, as is everyone’s budget.

Thoughts on organic wines…
Organic wines are the way of the future. Don’t let the term ‘organic’ scare you though, especially when it comes to wine making. Wineries have adapted to sustainable farming methods which means they aren’t using artificial chemical fertilisers and pesticides like they used to. Not only is this better for us as humans, it’s great for the environment, thus nowadays we are given a choice for organic, biodynamic, preservative-free and vegan friendly wines.

Are organic wines healthier?
The answer is yes.

Tell us how you would match wine to cheese?
Let’s keep things simple with this one.

  • Cheese and wine from the same region will typically go well together
  • Pair sparkling wines with softer cheese
  • Pair Chardonnay with nutty cheese
  • Pair red wine with stronger flavoured cheese
  • Pair sweet wines with smelly cheese

These are a few basic wine and cheese rules, however it is important not to stress about getting the pairings exactly right, instead go with what you enjoy.

Let us in on a secret, what are your best wine and cheese matches?
Sweeter style wines work wonderfully with ‘stinky’ cheese. The sweetness in the wine helps balance the funk in the cheese and makes it taste creamier, so next time you are eating a washed-rind or blue-veined cheese, try a late harvest dessert wine or a port and enjoy the magic. These are my favourite cheese and wine matches.

Are there any other food additions I should add to my cheese platter that match with wine well?
There are so many additions that go well with cheese: fruit (fresh or dry), apples, pears, grapes, peaches, bread or crackers, olives, mustards, honey or jams, nuts and of course, cured meats. My favourites are fresh figs and honey – you can’t go wrong.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Restaurant for dinner: Flavours on Charcoal
Bar or pub for a drink: Cambus Wallace
Café for breakfast: Blackboard
Coffee spot: The Lott
How does your weekend usually look: Sunday is usually a family day at home, a Cypriot BBQ, ouzo and a good bottle of wine is how we get through our day…

13 Gold Coast venues with exceptional wine offerings

La Bella Cellar interior (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)
La Bella Cellar interior (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

When it comes to wine growing and producing, whether you know it or not, Australia is up there in the world with some of the best. And although we might not have the legacy and history of our European cousins, we still knock out some fantastic drops!

Whether you’re a fan of Euro classics or enjoying wines from our very own Terra Australis, we think a well-rounded wine list, and therefore drinking experience, should be celebrated. So next time you feel like the wine selection should be just as good as the food, we’ve gone to great lengths to find the Gold Coast venues with great wine lists and cellars where you can sip to your heart’s content.

La Bella Cellar
If you haven’t come across this humble ode to all things Italian and delicious, then we suggest you go about booking yourself a table pronto. One sentiment many people share through gastronomy is to match a country’s food with their wine. Here at La Bella Cellar, you have countless opportunities to do so with a carefully curated list displaying hard-to-find Italian regions and varietals. But if you feel like Australian wine is just as good — and it is — they have a clever section where you can experience the same grapes and styles but from good ol’ Straya.
Where: 9/3 Deodar Drive, Burleigh Heads

Nineteen at The Star (image supplied)
Nineteen at The Star (image supplied)

Nineteen at The Star
A five-star venue overlooking the ocean and 19 floors up is the perfect place to enjoy an exceptional wine, and Nineteen at The Star is precisely that. Not to mention they have a walk-in, glass window wine room filled with hundreds of bottles of the very finest wines from across the world. Of course, the team at Nineteen are absolute stars when it comes to wine knowledge, not to mention pairing said wines with their dishes. Treat yourself to a delicious time at Nineteen; it’s pure magic.
Where: The Star Gold Coast, Casino Drive, Broadbeach

Palette
Combining art and food in a brand-new opulent setting, HOTA’s Palette restaurant hinges its menu closely on what is featured within the current exhibition in the adjacent gallery, meaning you’ll be eating with your eyes as well as your mouth. Executive Chef Dayan Hartill-Law believes strongly in freshness and seasonality, mirrored by their Australian/New Zealand dominant wine list, showcasing some fantastic producers in our own backyard. If you feel the need to keep things as close to home as possible, you’ll just adore their ‘local list’ with wines exclusively from nearby Granite Belt and Mount Tamborine regions.
Where: Ground Floor, HOTA Gallery, HOTA, 135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise

Social Eating House + Bar
A casual, fine dining venue in the heart of Broadbeach, Social Eating House + Bar is the perfect place for an-award winning feast plus a glass of wine or two to match. The wine menu is broken down into easy-to-choose sections, including light and aromatic whites, light to medium body reds and bigger shiraz, to name a few. The team are highly knowledgeable and can certainly help you find something to suit your tastes.
Where: Shop 137-138, 3 Oracle Boulevard, Broadbeach

The Glenelg Public House (image supplied)
The Glenelg Public House (image supplied)

The Glenelg Public House
Long loved by Gold Coasters as the place for sophisticated home-style cooking and consistently excellent service. And it isn’t just the wine list you should be excited about; start things off with one of their superbly made house cocktails, and you’ll peruse the sizeable collection of select wines a little easier. If you’re a fan of red wine and matching it up to a melt-in-your-mouth steak, this is the place where all your dreams can — and will — come true.
Where: 2460 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach

The Wine Barrel
As you might expect, a restaurant called The Wine Barrel has quite a selection of wine for your tasting pleasure. The Mudgeeraba gem boasts one of the very best wine lists around, and the gurus behind the bar will ensure, yours is an experience to remember. From Margaret River to Tuscany and sparkling to sherry, there’s sure to be a tipple that’ll tickle your tastebuds (and the food is the goods too). We love this place!
Where: 8/59 Railway Street, Mudgeeraba

Glass Dining & Lounge Bar
The shimmering waters and reflective hulls of nearby superyachts hopefully won’t dazzle your eyes too much when you open the drinks menu at Main Beach’s Glass Dining & Lounge Bar. Take in the extensive collection of worldly drops, and you’ll realise there is great emphasis on stellar Champagne and Australian Shiraz. So, how does starting with freshly shucked oysters and finishing off with free-range grass-fed steak sound to you — because from where we’re sitting, it sounds marvellous.
Where: Marina Mirage, 74 Seaworld Drive, Main Beach

Orzo (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)
Orzo (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

Orzo
Firmly settled as a prime lunching spot, Orzo can be found at The Oracle Boulevard Broadbeach, serving up exquisite modern seafood dishes and, of course, a wine list to match. As you might expect, the wines are of the Italian variability from various regions, and each is stunning. Whites, reds, rosés and sparklings, anything you could want to sip, and each paired perfectly with the impressive menu. Ask the team for their recommendation and prepare to be dazzled by the goodness.
Where: 1N-02, The Oracle, 12 Charles Avenue, Broadbeach

Jafa
Up Southport way is the stunning little space Jafa – a wine and pizza bar boasting quite the unique array of vinos that pair perfectly with the menu. Have you ever tried an orange wine? There’s some on the menu here; trust us, it’s amazing. Not to mention an impressive array of reds from Syrah to Nebbiolo and some we’ve never encountered.
Where: 7/253 Ferry Road, Southport 

Destino
Suppose your heart misses the Mediterranean Sea, as ours does. Might we suggest you take a visit to Sanctuary Cove and drop anchor at this perfect, white-washed afternoon grazing spot? Enjoy the dappled light and spoil yourself with cocktails, select dips, and imported cheeses — but make sure you have selected a suitable glass of wine to go alongside these morsels. Choose something delectable and European like French Provencal Rosé or Spanish Tempranillo, and imagine you’re on the Amalfi, even just for a short while!
Where: 38C Masthead Way, Sanctuary Cove

Gemellini (image supplied)
Gemellini (image supplied)

Gemellini
An institution adored by a league of perpetually hungry fans out there on our coastline. Gemellini (and the OG Gemelli) has been bringing classy Italian mealtimes to Nobby Beach for a little over five years now and shows no sign of slowing up. For wine lovers out there, you’re in for a treat. If you go by the glass, you can match great examples of European classics with their drool-worthy handmade pasta dishes. If you feel like delving into their hefty bottle selection, you can sip away and sample the best pizzas this side of Naples: sure to take you straight to Italian cuisine nirvana!
Where: 2247 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach

Jimmy Wah’s
The Burleigh Heads gem has a carefully crafted wine list of some of the most iconic producers around, along with small and innovative winemakers making their own unique type of magic. Most of the list is available by the glass, so you’re invited to sample something unique from around the world. Each tipple is a perfect match to the exceptional modern Vietnamese food menu. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of spending time at Jimmy Wah’s, they simply must be next on your list.
Where: 1724 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads

Moo Moos
Often touted as the best steak restaurant on the Gold Coast, if you’re in need to satisfy the carnivore within you, then look no further. Indulge your thirst for something more refined and work your way through their vast vintage and non-vintage Champagne collection and start a lunch/dinner you won’t forget in a hurry. And if you need a follow up, their list is extensive and informs the reader on styles and grapes with a handy little introduction to each section.
Where: 2685 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Jimmy Wah's (image supplied)
Jimmy Wah's (image supplied)
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