Sam Rogers left Adelaide in 2009 to embark on a music career in Europe. But after settling in Melbourne a few years later, he discovered a love of wine that would eventually land him at Public Wine Shop, one of the city’s best wine bars. It’s also where he met Amber Kennedy, a fellow sommelier who moved to Melbourne from the UK in 2022. All the while, he still held a candle for SA.
“South Australia is really at the fore of organic, preservative-free winemaking in Australia,” says Rogers. “We’ve been working with so many South Australian producers [in Melbourne]. And every time I’d go back [to SA] over Christmas and go down to the beach I’d be like, ‘Wow, there’s nowhere you can get these wines’ … particularly on that stretch of coastline.
“We thought it would be really cool to be working in South Australia with all of these South Australian producers. Travis Tausend was one of my very early mentors in wine – he was the first person to show me the wines that I now love to work with.”
Now, Rogers and Kennedy are bringing their wine and hospo knowledge to Port Elliot, where they’re opening a pop-up organic wine bar, Jetty Wine, in time for summer.
“We wanted to live by the beach, and it was a nice chance to be closer to family and for Amber to see more of the country as well,” says Rogers. “There’s such a great energy down at the Fleurieu, and amazing produce.”
The couple are setting up shop out the back of Jetty Food Store – an organic grocer championing small-scale farmers and producers – on the town’s main strip, a few doors down from the ever-popular Port Elliot Bakery.
“They’ve got this gorgeous courtyard out the back, which they’re very kindly leasing to us – it ties in so perfectly with the sort of wines we love and the produce we love,” says Rogers.
It mightn’t be the first place that comes to mind for a natural-wine bar, but with city slickers flocking to Port Elliot during the warmer months, a growing number of young people moving out to SA’s coastal regions, and The Joinery Wine Room – a homey cellar door for Charlotte Dalton and Cooke Brothers wines – a few streets away, the beachside town is all but guaranteed to become a destination for local wine lovers this summer.
Rogers and Kennedy are still writing the wine list when we speak, but you can expect preservative-free drops made from organically farmed fruit by local vintners such as Manon, Gemini, Tom Shobbrook, Jauma and Borachio – “lots of the main South Australian figureheads making wines that are carefully thought about”, says Kennedy. “And things that are quite accessible as well, whether you’re familiar with this kind of winemaking or not at all.”
The drinks list is rounded out with a few beers and spritzes. And there’ll be a tight list of classic wine-bar snacks, including tinned fish, preservative-free salami and a couple of cheeses. “It’s just gonna be the two of us, so we want to keep it quite small and very relaxed,” says Kennedy.
As for this evolving into something more long-term – well, that’ll all depend on how this first pop-up goes. “Of course we’ve talked at length about ideas for the future,” says Kennedy. “But we’re really focusing on this and hoping it goes well … that we make people feel good and they have a good time, and then we’ll see what the future holds.”
Jetty Wine will operate out the back of Jetty Food Store (at 42 North Terrace, Port Elliot) from mid-November till February.