Marion – 53 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, Victoria

Penny Vine runs the list at Marion, the wine-focussed little cousin of Cutler and Co. Being able to utilise the cellar space of the sister restaurant is a great boon, but Penny makes the Marion list her own, through passion and determination.

Describe your wine list in a few short sentences.

We are particularly lucky at Marion as we get to share a cellar with our next door neighbour. Initially, Liam O’Brien’s list at Cutler & Co acted as a kind of ‘department store’ that we could pick and choose the wines we thought best suited the Marion Short List. We then purchase a number of more eclectic, alternative-style wines that are more Marion specific. The beauty of having two lists is that whatever it is a guest is looking for, chances are we are able to find it for them!

What do you love most about being a sommelier?

I’m still pretty new at this, and the more I learn, the more I learn how much more there is to learn! I really think that’s what I love about it the most – there’s always new wines to taste, new places to learn about and new people to meet. The joy of the never-ending world of wine…

What is your favourite wine you’ve ever drunk and why?

2008 Agrapart ‘Avizoise’ Champagne. Gifted to me as a surprise for my 30th birthday. It was a wonderful gesture that made me understand why Champagne holds the special place it does for so many. It still remains the best gift I have ever received.

What’s the most exciting wine region in Australia right now and why?

I think the developments of Tasmanian wine are pretty exciting right now. Of course there’s a lot of hype, and a lot of talk about climate change and what may or may not effect growth on the mainland. Regardless of that conversation I think that the potential for expansion in Tasmania, and the resources being utilized there not just by smaller growers and winemakers but also larger administrative bodies means that there are going to be some changes, and that’s exciting.

Any funny stories from service involving wine?

I had a guest once tell me that he would “love to meet the man” that took care of the short list. I told him I couldn’t introduce him to the man, but “Hi, my name’s Penny, and I’m the woman that takes care of the short list”.
The look on his his face was priceless.

What’s your wine glass of choice?

Relative newcomer Gabriel Glas – love it, can’t fault it.

Made in Austria, great all-round shape, can use it for plenty of different wine styles.

How can I get the best out of my sommelier in a restaurant?

It sounds simple, but the best advice I have is just to be honest. If there’s something you love, let us know.

If you don’t like something, tell us. We like to think we’re mind readers, but it’s good to be reminded that actually….we’re not. So have a chat with your sommelier and reap the rewards of their knowledge.

Have a go at our fun palate profile quiz here and we’ll recommend three bottles that we think you'll love according to your results!