The Di Pietro family is an enterprising bunch when it comes to creating charming, well stocked bottleshops. For more than 30 years, the Di Pietros have been running Diamond Creek’s Nillumbik Cellars, which specialises in fine wine, small batch spirits and craft beer.
Later, in 2012, Daniel and Trish Di Pietro opened Greythorn Cellars in Balwyn North when they felt the area could use a bottleshop that operated in the same vein as Nillumbik. Located in the Greythorn Shopping Centre, the store is very much cut from the same cloth and from the day it opened, the focus has been on fine wines, excellent spirits and craft beer.
It might look like an unassuming bottlo but anyone walking down the quiet shopping strip where Greythorn Cellars resides will quickly realise just how seriously the spot takes beer. Its front window is practically overflowing with a plethora of choices when it comes to craft beer, both from Australia and abroad. Walk in and not only will you be greeted by can after can of craft beer but the impressive Chandelier Room is a delightful space filled with rare and hard-to-find bottles of wine.
For a small store, Greythorn Cellars has an impressive range by any standard but, while the fridges are well-stocked, what’s more impressive is how careful the curation is. No matter what type of alcohol you’re seeking, it’s a bottleshop run by people with astute knowledge of their wares and a willingness to go above and beyond to get the best beer, wine and spirits they can find for their customers. When it comes to beer, Matthew Penrod leads the charge, with the American as passionate an advocate of Australian craft beer as you'll find.
Walk in and you’ll find the fridges filled with local lagers, fresh hazies, high-octane stouts and just about everything a modern craft drinker sets their sights on. Alongside a lineup that features many of Australia’s finest brewers, there are also interesting releases from New Zealand, America, Canada or classics from Belgium.
Balwyn North is a family suburb and a place where locals tend to be more eager to support a small business over a major retail chain – as the neighbouring butcher and fruit and veg shop show. When choosing what to stock, key to the team’s thinking is what’s good and what will excite locals.
It means Greythorn Cellars might not stock every new beer from any brewery but what they do sell, has been thoughtfully chosen because it either excites staff or they think it’ll suit their customers. Fortunately, it’s a store with a lot of regulars and so those staff certainly know who walks through their doors and which hazy might have that perfect mix of hops, or big smoothie sour from One Drop will disappear from shelves.
Like the shopping strip it calls home, Greythorn Cellars is less of a hidden gem and more a community diamond. A place locals know well, visit often and where shopping is less of a chore and more of a pleasure.
So while you could be forgiven for not spotting Greythorn if you’re new to the area or passing through, you’d also be forgiven for not wanting to leave too quickly once you discover it. After all, there’s always something new to discover, a fresh can to grab and thanks to Greythorn Cellars, this pocket of suburbia has never felt finer.