Australia’s best wine bar of 2023

Eat & Drink

In a cozy corner spot off Gilbert Street in the Adelaide suburb of Goodwood, you’ll find a three-year-old wine bar called Good Gilbert. So far, so ordinary.

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But Wilson Shawyer’s part-bar-part-diner was recently named Australia’s wine bar of the year at the Gourmet Traveller Awards up against the likes of Sydney’s Bar Copains on Albion Street and Melbourne’s five-star Clover bar on Swan Street. The bar achieved this status with a $40,000 fit-out, 14 staff and a 30-page wine list. How?

“I have no idea,” Shawyer says. Though, really, he does.

The wine list, he says, brings something for everyone – there are reds, whites, sparklings and rosés at every price point imaginable, from all nooks and crannies of the wine world. There’s a $500 bottle of Alkina Polygon Grenache from the Barossa Valley – or a $65 bottle of Château Beauséjour Fronsac from Bordeaux.

“It’s wine without the pretentiousness,” he says. And Shawyer embodies that. As we speak, he’s spread out across three dining tables in the restaurant section of the venue, with a laptop on one chair and his dog, Harry, on the other.

Shawyer, an ex-Deloitte-cadet-turned-sommelier, used to trial the wines himself – until he had a brain injury that caused him to lose all sense of taste and smell. “I can sometimes taste sweetness or acidity. Some days are better than others,” he says of the injury. But nowadays, the wine list is a collaborative effort between Shawyer, his wife Isabelle and the Good Gilbert staff, who Shawyer says are encouraged to go out and source new wines to feature.

“We try to bring our staff on the journey. Wine is subjective, and egos can get involved. We’re not here to judge. We’re just here to look after you,” he says.

Shawyer is set to open three new venues in the next year: a burger bar called Good Burger, a fine dining, 34-seater restaurant and an American-style sports bar. “I love this industry,” he says.

Wilson Shawyer’s top 5 wine picks
  • Good Gilbert and Ada Wine Co, Blimey Charlie Grenache Shiraz
  • Sabi Wabi, Nomu Syrah 2023.
  • Wangolina, Seasons Malvasia Istriana, 2023.
  • Praeter, Langhe Nebbiolo, 2019.
  • Gentle Folk, Scary Gully Chardonnay, 2022

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