20 November 2022

The 'Drinks Professor' brings class to Baylis Street with Wagga's newest venue

| Chris Roe
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Wine bar

DJ Pieroway brings 30 years’ experience to The Bidgee & Vine Urban Cellar Door. Photo: Chris Roe.

DJ Pieroway is well known around the Riverina’s food and wine scene.

As the ‘Drinks Professor’, she has hosted tastings and dinners at venues across the region and has shared her knowledge of fine wines through the CSU cellar door.

Now, she’s decided to bring her decades of experience to Wagga’s CBD with The Bidgee & Vine Urban Cellar Door.

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“‘I’ve always wanted to bring all of that into the centre of town but with a variety of different producers that you can’t really find elsewhere and showcasing what they’re offering,” she says.

“Whereas before, I’d have to go around the different venues around town and do it, now I can do it in one room and I can have more versatility.”

Bidgee and Vine

The Bidgee and Vine brings the cellar door to Baylis Street. Photo: Chris Roe.

Originally from Canada, DJ has worked all over the world and is a certified sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers.

She hopes to bring something new to the region and will share her knowledge through regular tastings and events and an evolving range of unique beverages.

“I’ve been looking for about three years for a place to do this, and with COVID, it was actually a positive in the sense that they started to relax some of the licensing laws for small business,” she explains.

“It’s unique in that we have two liquor licenses in the one building.”

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The venue is divided by a white picket fence that separates the bar and lounge from the takeaway side of the business.

“The idea is that you can come in for a taste, stay for a glass and leave with a bottle,” DJ says with a smile.

“We don’t have anything that is mass-produced, it’s all basically small producers with interesting stories and we’ll showcase their wines and their story.”

DJ and Tim

DJ Pieroway and Tim Bailey are looking forward to building a community through the new cellar door. Photo: Chris Roe.

By way of an example, DJ shares the story behind a wine and a gin supplied by a Melbourne-based producer.

“He fled Iraq back in 2013 and he had spent seven and a half years on Manus Island and then in detention in Melbourne before he got out,” she says.

“In his land, he would have been put to jail for making wine.”

With help from prominent refugee advocates and fellow winemakers, he was released and loaned a portion of land on a vineyard.

“So we have his wine and his Kurdish gin here, he actually has botanicals that he got from Iraq for his Kurdish gin that is made in Australia,” she says.

“It’s an amazing story but he is still fighting for his freedom even now.”


Tim Bailey pops a cork for the first tasting of the afternoon. Photo: Chris Roe.

DJ is busy planning events for the coming months and hopes to build a community that is keen to learn and try something new.

“I’ve got a gin tasting coming up, so we will feature all sorts of Australian gins,” she says.

“I’m putting together tasting menus, so every month we’ll feature a new producer or a new style.

“We’ll have Bridge Road Breweries coming up soon to do the afternoon tasting, I’ll do a whiskey tasting and then going into Christmas probably a sparkling.”

While there’s still plenty to do, DJ says she and husband Mark are looking forward to the challenge.

“We’re just excited to finally have this come into reality and to actually just introduce different producers to people and different styles.”

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