While we caught wind of the news some time ago, Auckland has finally welcomed its very first urban cellar door and wine bar on the waterfront this week — and it is just as delicious as we anticipated. Now finally open, we can attest it is a must-visit for wine and food lovers alike. Somm Cellar Door & Bar, located at the iconic Princes Wharf in the heart of the City, offers a stellar lineup of iconic wines and a food menu that is both regional and seasonal. From the clever culinary minds behind some of Auckland’s favourite restaurants, Somm represents some of New Zealand’s best wineries, like Church Road, Martinborough Vineyard, Te Kairanga, Vavasour and Mt Difficulty, with the destination promising a sophisticated and chic gastronomic experience.
Drawing its name from the French ‘sommelier’ or wine steward, Somm is set to become the new local authority on wine, where visitors can indulge in New Zealand’s finest wines without ever leaving the CBD. The unique wine flight menu, for example, allows patrons to match and compare regions, varietals and wineries with the help of tasting notes. And the burgeoning drinks list is something at which to marvel, featuring an extensive collection of library wines by the bottle, large format wines, local beers on tap, cocktails and Champagne for those toast-worthy occasions.
Guided by the expertise of Executive Chef Gavin Doyle (best known for helming the kitchen at nearby Soul Bar & Bistro), the food menu at Somm complements the wines perfectly, offering irresistible bites, pizzas and sharing plates. From antipasti, charcuterie and regional cheeses to crab apple and goat cheese salad, crispy fried chicken and duck liver toast, the simple menu offers a masterclass in flavour. The pizzas, for example, are made with dough proven for 72 hours and offer the perfect accompaniment to a glass of fine wine.
The fit-out, designed by award-winning Nott Architects, also offers a feast for the design palette, with warm lighting, natural materials and rich textures. The space is open and sociable yet still intimate, with areas suited to every kind of occasion. The butcher block, where the charcuterie is sliced, is an impressive interior centrepiece. Quite cleverly, the decor pays homage to New Zealand’s prestigious winery regions, with walnut and oak timber, earthy stone and clay tiles, and a lush curtain that can transform the communal tasting area from open to semi-private.
The perfect blend of a regional cellar door and a local wine bar, Somm captures the essence of a beloved wine-tasting experience within the city limits. According to Doyle, Princes Wharf was the perfect location to bring this idea to life. Its stunning waterfront location celebrates the qualities of New Zealand wine that make it so remarkable — where viscosity, intensity and complexity collide.
Now officially open off the back of its soft launch, Somm has all the makings of a new City stalwart. An absolute gem, with some of the country’s best wines on offer (and cellar door experiences set to start at the end of May), we’d recommend paying it a visit as soon as possible. Once the news gets out, we anticipate that a table here will be the hottest ticket in town.
Monday — Thursday, 3pm until late.
Friday — Sunday, 12pm until late.
Somm Cellar Door & Bar
Shed 22, Princes Wharf,