What’s on the menu at the Wine Academy, the city’s new underground wine club
Name: The Wine Academy
Neighbourhood: Financial District
Contact: 67 Richmond St. W., 416-840-3385, wineacademy.ca
Owners: Aaron Joseph Bear Robe, Michael Slattery, Emil Velev (Keriwa)
Chefs: Executive chef Aaron Joseph Bear Robe (Keriwa) and chef de cuisine Roger Murchie (Earth Rosedale)
Executive sommelier: Natalie Pope
Sharing plates including beef tartare, charcuterie boards and duck rillettes served with brioche. There are small dishes for high(er) rollers, too, like caviar blini and lobster toast. And for casual business lunches, expect sandwiches (roast beef, smoked trout with whipped ricotta) and a selection of roasts (chicken, porchetta, prime rib).
Wine, of course. Although the whole point of the club is to BYOB, there will also be a few esoteric bottles available by the glass (kept permanently fresh thanks to an Enomatic system). Included in the $1,000 annual fee is admittance to portfolio tastings, vintage premiers and social galas, and for an extra $150 a month, members can rent storage units that hold up to 92 bottles each. At capacity, the temperature-controlled cellar has room for 105,000 bottles. Natalie Pope, a sommelier for the Chase, has been brought on to lead the Academy’s programming, which will include tastings and seminars.
This 6,000-square-foot space is tucked almost 20 feet underground. Guests can access the subterranean spot through a nondescript wooden door: members simply press their thumbs onto the biometrics scanner to gain access to the 24-7 establishment. Once inside, they have access to a lounge, a library, a boardroom and business centre and, of course, a bar.