Meet Frances Summers, who has been steadily ticking off our HerCanberra foodie bucket list, or,…
Please forgive our little headline pun.
When you check out Campbell’s newest wine destination, it is the least spooky place in town and more of a slightly industrial, quite glamorous and extremely spacious wine bar and shop. And when we talk about supernatural it is actually a reference to the huge range of organic and natural wines on offer.
The brainchild of Kiwi-born hospitality guru Max Walker and his Canberra-born arts administrator partner Georgia Hobbs, Paranormal is more a reference to experimenting beyond the safe grounds of wine, and being open to new tastes and methods.
Paranormal Wines opens today, promising to be both a place to pop in for a glass of wine and charcuterie platter after work, or a place to grab a bottle to go with dinner—thanks to the 15 years of wine expertise amassed by Max.
Having worked in both Sydney and Melbourne—at places including LP’s Quality Meats in Chippendale and MoVida in Melbourne—Max fell in love with Canberra and its collaborative and collegiate food scene after he met Georgia.
Eventually, he relocated and began working for friend Nick Smith at Bar Rochford.
While he had always dreamed of starting his own wine bar, COVID made the decision for him as not only was he ineligible for JobKeeper (being a Kiwi and all) but he realised that wine sales were strong and only getting stronger.
“We took the plunge and set up here in Campbell, which is a great part of the city that combines both residential and retail interests.”
Located next to Intra on Provan Street, Max said he wanted Paranormal to be a very relaxed destination to either pop in, or perhaps stay a while, all in the name of enjoying a good drop.
“I want the place to be welcoming and friendly. I never want wine to be intimidating and I believe it is always a very individual experience, so I want to help guide people on a journey to find out what they love and to maybe try some different things that they will enjoy.”
With about one-third of his stock coming from Australia, Max is also keen to promote Canberra region drops—in particular Ravensworth, MADA and Mallaluka.
He and the Mallaluka crew have developed Paranormal Rose, a natural wine which he is keen to share with people open to experimentation.
“We will be featuring wines by the glass so people can taste something and then maybe take a bottle home for later.”
The menu meanwhile contains some quality bites to enhance the wine experience—think sourdough and butter, marinated olives, burrata, marinated peppers and goats cheese, a selection of meats including smoked mortadella, prosciutto and salami, or a selection of cheeses, including goats, gorgonzola or comte.
As the shop settles into the neighbourhood, Max is keen to expand his selection of gourmet staples which currently includes Ortiz anchovies, Olsson salt, Alto olive oil, Nonna Maria’s pasta sauce, Wellington Apiary honey, Moon Mart condiments and the like. It means you can take wine home and a little snack to make yourself.
“The idea is that this is a place to come pre-dinner or late afternoon and our hours (11 am-8 pm) reflect that.”
With ample seating at the bar, communal table or outside beside the park, it promises to be an inviting place to sit and experiment. Nothing scary about that at all.
What: Paranormal Wines
Where: 27/6 Provan Street, Campbell
When: 11 am-8 pm Wednesday-Sunday