Dheeraj Bhatia: "Adelaide is a city that has always moved at its own pace"

Bhatia Dheeraj.
Andreas Grube
Published 08-September-2022
Interview / Australia

Sommelier Dheeraj Bhatia, the Wine Director for arkhé restaurant in Adelaide, is Star Wine List's new ambassador for Adelaide and South Australia. Dheeraj is taking over after Liinaa Berry who has moved to Melbourne.

"I feel privileged and delighted to be a part of such an incredible organisation with the right ethos spreading the liquid love all over the globe," says Bhatia about his new ambassador role.

Dheeraj Bhatiais adding eight wine bars and restaurants to our Adelaide guide.

"I look forward to contributing to the vision of Star Wine List and continue introducing new venues on this great platform so that patrons from all walks of life – locals, interstate and international – are well versed. There are many hidden gems out there, and I'd love them to be noticed."

Dheeraj Bhatia was born in Bombay and raised in Dubai, where his parents were based for 35 years. His journey in wine has since then taken him to many places around the world, and since 2015 he has been based in Australia.

He has an impressive record as a sommelier at many international fine dining restaurants, including The Peninsula in Hong Kong, Robuchon au Dôme in Macau, Raffles in Singapore and Penfolds Magill Estate in Adelaide. In 2011 he was also named Best Sommelier at the Gourmet Summit in Singapore, and in 2017 he won the Ruinart Sommelier Challenge in Australia – and the list goes on.

"Wine happened to me because I just loved to learn and discover more about it, and guess also coming from a non-wine drinking culture made me even more inquisitive," he says.

Bhatia describes the wine scene in Adelaide as "buzzing" and that it has happened a lot in wine offerings and concepts over the last few years.

"Adelaide is a city that has always moved at its own pace, and it still is. Apart from the local heroes, it's been scoring some really talented chefs from interstate and overseas that are attracted to this beautiful city."

Adelaide's local pub scene is epic and historic, and it would be nice if standalone neighbourhood pubs diversified their wine offering

Any specific trends when it comes to wine venues in Adelaide right now?
"Native Italian varietals are playing well. And, bearing in mind that South Australia is the largest wine contributing wine region in Australia, there have been more venues offering wines by the glass from other states and other parts of the world."

Anything you would like to see more of when it comes to wine places in Adelaide?
"More diversity in the traditional pubs, I'd say. Adelaide's local pub scene is epic and historic, and it would be nice if standalone neighbourhood pubs diversified their wine offering. It doesn't have to be big lists at all, but just adding some exciting wines from other states of Australia and a bit of international will attract more suburban wine lovers."

Anything you would like to see less of?
"That's a tricky one, but I'd say serving reds off the shelf with the perception that it should be served room temperature is something I want to see less of."

Finally: What is the definition of a great wine list, in your opinion?
"I always say balance in the sense of knowing the clientele, location and food offering. Ultimately there should always be something for everyone."

Check out Bhatia's selection below, as well as all the Adelaide and surrounding listings.

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