There is a new member’s only social club in town, and this time it’s for wine enthusiasts. Say hello to the Wine Academy, the brainchild of partners Michael Slattery and Emil Velev.
Taking up over 6,000 square feet of space, The Wine Academy is blink-and-you-miss-it from the outside – perfect for those who have a membership. With a discreet entrance, the private member’s club is just that – private. But once you find the door (hint: it’s made from old wine barrels) and make your way into the space, it’s fairly expansive and well… glorious.
Going down one set of stairs (which takes you nearly 20 feet underground), the space is cool and cavernous, however, it does not look this way at all. Inside The Wine Academy, a former gym, it’s been updated and given a modern yet industrial, classic feel. Besides a lounge, the space boasts a library, boardroom, business centre and you guessed it – a wine bar.
With members able to gain 24/7 access to the space (thanks to a futuristic biometrics scanner), the cellar can hold upwards of 100,000 bottles of wine with thousands of individual and separately keyed personal storage lockers ($150 per month). Currently, memberships are going for $1,000 per year, with their target demographic being Bay St. high rollers and serious wine drinkers looking to expand their collections and knowledge.
On the menu, executive chef Aaron Joseph Bear Robe (Keriwa) and chef de cuisine Roger Murchie (Earth Rosedale) have focused on providing shareable plates to their clientele that will match well with tutored tastings or provide sophisticated snacks while having a glass or two amongst friends. Some notable dishes include the confit albacore tuna ($19) that’s cooked in olive oil and served alongside zucchini, mushrooms, and fennel. It’s fresh and pairs wonderfully alongside the crisp white we’re served. But should you be looking for something a bit heavier, then I would suggest focusing your attention on the steak tartare ($22), served alongside crisps. Finely chopped with the perfect amount of seasoning, it’s truly a delight. But if neither of those sound up your alley, the menu also is offering a mixture of charcuterie boards, oysters, cheese boards and more. Simple, locally inspired bites.
As mentioned, this is a member’s only club so the point is to ahem, bring you own bottles. However, Natalie Pope has just been appointed as the executive sommelier and they are hoping to keep a few bottles on hand to have exclusive tastings for members, private events and introducing certain wine distributors to members.
Unless you know a member, don’t plan to drop in unexpectedly. But if you’ve always wanted to get serious about your wine drinking and have some extra money to spare, then perhaps The Wine Academy should be your next investment. Besides, there are so many benefits to becoming a member then just the wine.
Will you get a membership to the Wine Academy? Leave us your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.