Walking along Richmond St, I’m standing in front of two towering wooden doors. Unassuming and a contrast to the rest of the street, we were at the right location. Launched in June, The Wine Academy offers something unique in Canada, a not-so-average hideaway from the bustling city streets, especially in the downtown core where space is limited. Being part of the member’s club provides a place to enjoy wine, network, socialize and the ability to store your wine.
The space is 6,000 square ft. tucked 17.5 ft. underground, where members can access the club 24-7 via a thumb biometric scanner. The open space is gorgeous with its industrial-chic design, a great spot for events and tastings. Inside, they have access to the lounge, tasting library, boardroom, business centre and bar. Memberships are $1,000 annually. Members can pay an additional $150 monthly for a personal locker to store up to 92 bottles of wine.
Wine Academy means business, with the two-storey private cellar which can hold up to 105,000 wines safely and securely. The cellar has state-of-the-art fully integrated HVAC system that controls temperature and humidity uniformly at 55 Fahrenheit vibration-free. While the club is mostly BYOB, there is a few esoteric bottles available by the glass. Natalie Pope is the head sommelier, leading the program with her expertise and hosting tastings and seminars such as wine classes, open-house galas, etc.
In addition to wine, the Academy offers continental cuisine that is local and sourced from small purveyors. The confit tuna is served with jardiniere, zucchini and espelette. As we sipped our wine, we especially enjoyed the beef tartare, served with crispy crostini, tomato, caper and cornichon and the delicious charcuterie board including pickles, apple mustard and greens.
Though you can’t drop-in on a whim as you’ll need a membership, it’s a great escape from the bustling while you sit and enjoy your wine.
The Wine Academy
67 Richmond St. W.
Photos by Nick Lee