Auckland’s First Waterfront Urban Cellar Door Opens on Princes Wharf

Auckland’s first urban cellar door and wine bar on the waterfront has opened its doors, representing a stable of iconic wineries alongside a food menu that is both regional and seasonal.

Somm, located on Princes Wharf in the CBD, invites guests to discover some of New Zealand’s best wines on their terms through a glass after work, a wine flight on the weekend or a bottle between friends, without even leaving Auckland.

Drawing its name from Sommelier (a wine steward), Somm represents wineries including Church Road, Martinborough Vineyard, Te Kairanga, Vavasour and Mt Difficulty. In Hawke’s Bay, Martinborough, Marlborough and Central Otago, the brands encompass New Zealand’s most acclaimed wine regions, which will now have a home in Tāmaki Makaurau.

Perfect for visitors on a timeframe or locals alike, this connection between the vineyard and the city offers a unique wine flight menu, making it easy to match and compare regions, varietals and wineries with the help of tasting notes.

Beyond that, the drinks list features an extensive catalogue of library wines by the bottle and large format wines, with guest wineries from other regions, such as Waiheke Island and North Canterbury, adding to the premium experience.

There are also local beers on tap, a refined selection of cocktails and champagne for
toast-worthy occasions available.

The accompanying food menu, created by Executive Chef Gavin Doyle (the acclaimed chef behind Somm’s sister restaurant SOUL Bar & Bistro), features irresistible snacks, pizzas and sharing plates.

Described to complement rather than out-stage, Doyle said nothing on the menu is overcomplicated and encapsulates everything guests might crave with a good glass of wine.

“I wanted to create a menu of simple snacks designed for sharing,” Doyle said. “It’s not stuffy. Each dish has many flavours, and everything is presented in its simplest form.”

Items include antipasti, charcuterie, regional cheeses, burrata, market fish crudo, crab apple and goat cheese salad, crispy fried chicken, duck liver toast, Wagyu rump with caviar and a range of pizzas made with dough proved for 72 hours.

“Just like the winemakers are showcasing their craft from all different regions of the country, we wanted to represent that on the food menu as well,” said Boyle.

Boyle later mentioned, “There’s olive oil from Martinborough, the sheep’s milk cheese is from Masterton, and Carol from Hawke’s Bay makes the quince paste by sourcing crab apples straight from the orchard.”

The fit-out, designed by award-winning Nott Architects, transforms the interior into an open yet intimate space with warm lighting, natural materials and rich textures. There’s a variety of seating, including high leaners, banquettes and communal tasting tables, while an impressive butcher block showcases the charcuterie as it’s sliced.

The interior is punctuated with materials traditionally found in New Zealand’s prestigious winery regions, including timber in walnut and oak, earthy stone and clay tiles. At the same time, a lush curtain allows the communal tasting area to transform from open to semi-private.

Doyle said Somm is set to become Auckland’s home of wine, capturing the ceremony of a regional cellar door with the comfort of a local wine bar.

“We saw an opportunity to bring the beloved experience of a cellar door to the city, and Princes Wharf provided the perfect location. The waterfront celebrates how we talk about wine — its viscosity, intensity, complexity – and the outlook complements Somm so well,” Doyle said.

Somm is located at Shed 22, Princes Wharf, Auckland. The wine bar is now open, with the cellar door experiences set to start at the end of May.