We couldn’t spend a week on The Parade and not check in with the soon-to-open La Vigne - the wine bar sister to French patisserie and café La Madeleine.
Main Street Week: La Vigne
It wasn’t so long ago that we got word from Guillaume Blanc that his café, La Madeleine, would soon be paired with a French wine bar, La Vigne, right next door.
CityMag is spending the next five days on The Parade Norwood. These profiles are part of a new series called Mainstreet Week, where we look into the past, present and future of Adelaide’s highest profile strips.
La Vigne will be opening to the public at 2pm this Friday (December 16).
Since hearing the news, CityMag has kept an eager eye on Norwood, stopping by regularly to check in on the progress of the space (and to take home all of the almond croissants).
Our patience is soon to be rewarded, with La Vigne’s official public opening happening 2pm this Friday.
We thought now would be a great time to check in and see what we can expect.
For the finer details, Guillaume introduced us to Owen Colin, the hospitality veteran enlisted to bring La Vigne together, who showed us around the still-forming venue.
“The way I came upon this place is, living locally, I fell in love with the pear tarts from next door,” Owen says.
“I’d seen previously in CityMag how Guillaume was going to turn this into a wine bar, but I was doing some more study, which reinvigorated my love of wine, and just out of the blue emailed La Madeleine saying ‘if you’re doing something, I’d love to be involved.’”
La Vigne will be Owen’s eighth bar opening, and this one he’s particularly excited about.
“I reckon there’s a want for good wine in Norwood,” he says.
“There are a couple of venues on The Parade where you can get a nice glass of wine, but some of them are larger pubs, this will maybe be more intimate with a wine list that is unique.”
In the beginning, the wine list will be 100 per cent French, with the potential to expand depending on how locals respond, but it’s introducing the undiscovered that Owen feels a particular passion for.
“I’m basically a spirits and wine nerd, love to know everything about it, and enjoy getting people to try new things and showing them things they’d never seen before,” he says.
“There are so many different products out there that people have never seen, never even heard about, and I like being able to get a hold of those and, you know, turn it onto someone that has never tried or thought about trying something, and then they fall in love with it and they drink it for the rest of their lives.”
Wine will be the major focus, but it won’t be all that’s on offer, with a dedicated La Vigne food menu coming from the kitchen, serving “some really cool traditional French fare… tapenade, terrines, things like that,” and some French spirits to keep things interesting.
“My favourite one we’re doing at the moment is an Armagnac old fashioned, which is pre-batched and it’s stored in a bottle which is lined with beeswax, so you get a wax texture infusing with your drink –also it’s freakin’ delicious,” Owen says.
Most importantly, the feeling that Owen and Guillaume want to create in the space is one of warmth and invitation, where locals will feel comfortable stopping by once or twice a week.
“We want it to kind of be a comfortable neighbourhood type bar where people can, if they live in the area, get off at the bus stop across the road, walk across and have a glass of wine before they go home,” he says.
“I don’t want this to be a one time a week place, or a special place to go for special occasions, it’s an every day, drop in for a nice glass of wine, bit of cheese, just a bit of relaxing in Norwood kind of thing.
“I want people to be able to hang out the front with their dogs, my son can walk around the area.”
As for how the bar will fit into The Parade, Owen sees Norwood’s preference for quality as working to La Vigne’s advantage.
“You’ve got Feast, you’ve got Parade Cellars, which is a fantastic bottle shop, Chicken Made Easy, the guy behind there, he’s just fantastic… the fruit and veg you can get on the street is just [amazing],” he says.
“The quality of the produce you can get on The Parade really reflects people’s eating habits around here.
“[And] I think it’ll fit into the neighbourhood feel really well. I think it’s going to appeal to locals that haven’t had a place to go out, they’ve been wanting a place to go out, they’ve normally felt the need to go into town.”
La Vigne’s timing couldn’t be better; with new developments popping up in the area, it’s likely that the growing number of local residents will be looking for similar spaces to haunt.
Owen doesn’t necessarily want to bring change to the area, just broaden the offering.
“I like the way The Parade is, I’d just like the feel at the centre of it to extend out to the edges as well, to encourage more small businesses and more unique choices.”