Glou: Melbourne’s Newest Wine Store with a Sustainable Difference

Posted by Media Release Agency on 19th January 2021

When thinking of wine-on-tap, what comes to mind is cheap, poor quality rubbish. Collingwood’s latest wine store, Glou, is determined to change this perception by pouring some of Australia’s best sustainable wine – and at a damn good price. Blurring the boundaries between retail store and tasting room, the Berlin-inspired venue, which exclusively sells wine-on-tap, is here to be a pioneering force to change the way we sell and consume wine, and bring a new environmental consciousness to the industry.

Glou is the latest venture from Rahel Goldmann (IDES, Hell of the North) and Ron Davis (Samuel Pepy’s, Le Pont Wine Store), who have collectively spent 30 years working in fine-dining restaurants and up-market wine stores across the world. Derived from the French expression ‘glou, glou’, translated as ‘glug, glug’, the phrase serves as an onomatopoeia and stylistic reference to the more gluggable, moreish wines that make for easy drinking – exactly what you will find at Glou. Unlike in Europe, where sustainable practices both in the production and consumption of wine are heavily promoted and practiced, the pair saw a glaring disconnect when it came to the Australian wine industry. In an era where there is a strong community of grape growers and winemakers pushing to produce quality wines in the least environmentally-destructive way possible, Goldmann explains that the disconnect is realised when the wine goes to market. “It finds itself in single use glass, under single use closures, and wrapped up in single use labels. As much as these things can go into our recycling bins, unfortunately in Australia that system is just not where it needs to be”. As such, Glou was created as a means to invite greater transparency, advocate for more environmentally sustainable practices, and bring positive change to our wine industry.

Whilst wine-on-tap may not be anything new, what is remarkable is Glou’s commitment to the idea. Goldmann and Davis work directly with winemakers to take wine straight from the barrel into Key Kegs created by One Circle in the Netherlands, which is then poured by tap into reusable bottles when sold. Bottles are available in three sizes: 500mL, 1000mL or 2000mL growlers. Customers are invited to bring their bottles back into the store to be refilled, or alternatively, are provided with a rebate if they wish to return them. Not only does this avoid the need for single-use bottles and plastic labels – a huge problem in the wine industry – but this innovative move also drastically reduces Glou’s carbon footprint by reducing the weight of wines being transported by nearly half. It must be noted that whilst it is all well and good to make a product more sustainable, the benefits may not be fully realised if they are not easily accessible to a broad demographic. Placed at the intersection of retail and hospitality, Glou’s approach to kegged wine has allowed the team to bring the same quality wines to market at a far more affordable price point, bringing down the end cost to consumers by 30%.

The wine selection at Glou is built off prosperous relationships with Australian producers, who emphasise minimal intervention and sustainable winemaking. On the list includes the likes of Ari’s Natural Wine Co, an innovator in the natural wine space who has finessed the art of creating clean, resonating wines that are full of life. Also included are Rasa Wines, leaders on the frontier of redefining wines from the Barossa Valley, whose wines highlight the diversity of Australia’s most famous wine region. For those who are well-versed in the finer, more technical aspects of wine, Charlotte Dalton is one to note. Crowned “the Queen of the Adelaide Hills”, her attention to detail and unmatched level of care in her winemaking make for pure, expressive wines. Victorian winemakers are well represented too, with Dirty Black Denim, Phil Lobley, Ben Haines, and Noisy Ritual all showcasing some of the most flavoursome and integral expressions in the state. These carefully selected winemakers represent a new wave in Australia’s wine scene, creating wines that stretch the limits of stylistic convention and sustainable production methods. 

However, Glou is not simply a wine store; their tasting room plays a huge part in their efforts to bind the disconnect between how we currently make, sell and drink wine. Designed in collaboration with cult Berlin artist, Matthias George Koerner, and Timmy Bourke of Timmy Bourke Designs, Glou’s interior has been purposefully created to be an inviting, comfortable community space. Here, customers can connect face-to-face with winemakers, viticulturalists and industry players to have open conversations on the shared visions and goals of both wine producers and consumers. To encourage visitors to feel at home, those who take part in a tasting or enjoy a glass of wine in-venue will also be treated to a selection of snacks and tapas-style dishes from Japanese-inspired eatery, MONO XO. With industry tastings from winemakers and reps, masterclasses and winemaking events are all on the agenda, Goldmann comments that “our tasting room is about community, and the more we communicate as a community, the stronger we become.” This community development is an essential priority, and the team plans to continue to emphasise conversations and education about a more sustainable future, not solely the wine industry, but for the broader community.

Whilst Glou may be serious about their goals for transforming the Australian wine industry, the team also emphasise that, despite an industry that is known to take itself too seriously at times, wine should be a joyful experience – no snobbery found here! Davis 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 positive change in the world around us. 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’re all winning.”

Motivated by their philosophy and promotion of greater transparency and sustainability practices in the industry, Glou hopes to become a trail-blazing force in the Australian wine scene. Yet, if you’re simply a wine lover, looking for an unpretentious place to learn, enjoy and share your passion with like-minded individuals, or just want to have a glass of wine and a chat, Glou is definitely the community for you.