“We sell great wines that are approachable. You don’t have to understand it or identify the subtle flavours. We want you to just drink it and enjoy it.”
Zac Potier is no stranger to hospitality, having worked in bars and restaurants since he was sixteen years old. West Footscray Wines is his third hospitality business, after owning a cocktail bar Caz Reitop’s Dirty Secrets in Collingwood and Tin Pan Alley, a woodfired pizza restaurant in Seddon.
“My partner Clare and I both have a broad interest in all things booze, especially wine.” Zac laughs. “We wanted an avenue to explore all these great wines, beers and spirits and then pairing them with local produce. And what better way to do it than a wine store and bar?”
Zac and Clare renovated and opened the doors to their wine store and bar in West Footscray last year.
“We live in Footscray and we've always loved Barkly Street; it just feels so friendly and homely,” he smiles. “But we felt that it was missing a place for wine enthusiasts and we had a good opportunity to fill that gap.”
As you walk into the store, you first notice the shelves packed with 200 unique drops, all carefully selected.
How do they choose their vast selection? With a whole lot of wine drinking. “We have to make sure we try them,” Zac smiles, wryly. “Make sure they fit into our ethos – fun, interesting and easy to drink.”
They love to stock local drops, with ninety per cent of their wine selections from Australia and with a heavy focus on Victorian winemakers and producers.
Their cheese, smallgoods and charcuterie are also locally sourced, with all of their salami from Puopolo in Laverton and their oysters from a wholesaler in Sunshine.
The retail side of the shop encourages customers to create their own pairings of high-quality, local products, or people can also choose to drink and snack in store for a classic wine bar experience.
While the business is still new, Zac already has big plans. Monthly wine education workshops are on the cards, as well as wine subscriptions and a wine club membership.
“At the end of this year, leading into summer, we’re hoping to renovate the back courtyard,” he explains eagerly, “The front room will be the shop and the back our courtyard bar. The best of both worlds.”
His more immediate goal is to just keep the good vibes going. “I love the local feel of the area,” he smiles. “Everyone seems to know each other when they come in, giving West Footscray Wines such a friendly, easygoing vibe. That’s what I want to foster.”