Drinking Geelong BTG

June 28, 2024 BY

Noble Rot in Point Lonsdale has been a beacon of vinous light in Geelong and surrounds for well over 10 years.


BTG is hospitality shorthand for By the Glass, referring to the option at a restaurant or bar that allows guests to drink a single glass of particular wines, rather than commit to an entire bottle.

It’s a concept that makes complete sense to many, as it allows for multiple tastes from different styles, makers, regions etc across any given eating/drinking setting. In terms of wine lists and drinks menus, though, this sensible method of choice didn’t really exist until roughly the early ’90s here in Australia, with BTG offerings limited to one or two simple historic, and now outdated, terms like Hock or Claret (old names for Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon, respectively).

What’s my point in all this? Well, by the glass wine options are what I love most about visiting bars and restaurants, new or old: they give an insight into the thoughtfulness and care that each establishment gives to their wine program and how it wants patrons to drink. Here’s a trip around Geelong, our Peninsula and Surf Coast, with who and what you’ll find on pour right now (and why it’s worth a visit!)

Starting far along the coast, Totti’s in Lorne is sometimes rather notorious for their pricing (not excluding their wine offering here either), however a $14 glass of Blind Corner’s Sauvignon/Chenin Blanc Orange* that seems pretty reasonable, given the fancy setting, overheads and hype. It’s a semi-natural wine (i.e. time on grape skins, natural ferments etc) which provides freshness, great mouthfeel and natural tannin tang. Drink this and spend more on your food bill!

Head up the road, and probably the Coast’s most well equipped and knowledgeable wine destination, Torquay Wine Store is a wine bar, wine store and wine education spot rolled into one. After years in the Melbourne wine sales rat race, owner Mick Dowling happily chose a coastal relocation only a few summers ago, and the smiling folk of Torquay (and the entire region for that matter) are all the better for this. A glass of Pinot Meunier (a close relation to Pinot Noir) from Otway producer, Heroes (under their Anti label) is charmingly fruit forward and light. TWS are hosting a fortified wine masterclass too next week for who anyone who’s keen? That’ll aid your cool winter thirst!

Drinking by the glass allows for multiple tastes from different styles, makers and regions. 


Although it sounds like you should be on the LA coastline (not the Geelong foreshore, but whatever) but if you ever found yourself in a venue named Caledonia Shores, surely you should probably drink Rosé, naturally. Yes, we are indeed in Geelong, and yes, there is a need to drink Rosé. Thankfully they are serving a deliciously dry, interesting Rosé by the glass called Minnow, made from Grenache and a little Cinsault (both varieties hailing from the south of France). The label is from the Shadowfax stable, so you’re in good hands in terms of both winemaking and reputation here. At $13 a glass, it’s good summer drinking in winter.

Moving into the CBD, restaurant Emerge have a brilliant glass of McLaren Vale Shiraz from Yangarra available at moment. Vibrant and juicy, yet soft, tasty and food-friendly; it’s certainly a glass you can enjoy with food (i.e. steak) here, or simply before (or after) your dinner comes out. Shame you can’t you call past for just this glass alone? Or so I think.

A personal fav, Noble Rot in Point Lonsdale has been a beacon of vinous light in Geelong and surrounds for well over 10 years. If enjoying a series of wine is your thing, their current by the glass line up is highly worth a trip. Needing to not break the bank? They have crisp, dry whites of interest and characters, through to medium-to-full bodied reds of all descriptions ($18 glass of Torre a Cona Chianti, anyone?), but for a real treat, there’s quality Chablis, Bordeaux and Burgundy all by the pour (and all priced between $23-$36) depending on your taste.

And what about a restaurant’s good ol’ house-wine by the glass? Well, think about the following: if the house-wine is meant to be the cheapest (with the biggest margin) on a venue’s wine list AND is good (or fairly drinkable) then this actually says a hell of a lot, really. If this is indeed the case, does the house-wine not make a statement of who they are and what attention they place on even the most basic of offerings? Much BTG consideration to ponder next time you’re out dining.