About Us

 Mrs. Nick Chlebnikowski c.1960
Nicks Wine Merchants is an independent family business, established in 1958. It began as 'Nicks Groceries' amongst the orchards and cows of East Doncaster, Victoria, in a 'shopping centre' with no made roads and only three other shops.

'Mrs.Nick' was the founder, and when she proudly opened the doors for the first time she was met by appreciative and supportive locals. She soon discovered they were surprised by her rows and rows of spaghetti and noodles. Her customers were of English origin and at the time, this sort of food wasn't a part of their diet. Mrs. Nick's family spent the rest of the year eating pasta. That was the first lesson learnt: "Know what your customers want".

Her second lesson came shortly after. A young boy was sent to the shop to by some 'spuds'. Mrs. Nick politely told him, "Sorry, tell your mother we have no spuds". Half an hour later, the boy's mother came into the store, looked around and said crossly, "You said you had no spuds! What are these?" "Potatoes", Mrs. Nick replied. So the second lesson learnt was "Know the jargon of the area".

If any family found that they had run 'short' one week, Mrs. Nick would write the unpaid bill in a book and they paid when they could. Credit cards did not exist then. No signature was required and the debts were always honoured. And so the third lesson was trust.

Above: Nick's Supermarket in Jackson Court, East Doncaster 1963.
The shop exists on the same site today though it's been considerably expanded.

As more and more families moved to the area, the business grew and so did the building.
Mr. Nick and Grandpa Nick came to help out. The children, Vic and Nick, soon followed. 'Nicks Groceries' soon became 'Nicks Supermarket' (the first in the area). However the young boys were naturally ambitious. One weekend, while the parents were away, the small liquor section in the corner of the shop was doubled. Mrs. Nick was not happy, but the increasing demand for Australian wine led to the decision to gradually phase out the groceries and vegetables. As they were moved to the back of the shop, the retail wine sector continued to grow. The business was renamed 'Nicks Wine Merchants', and by 1978 the family had become full time wine merchants.

Today, Nicks Wine Merchants are proud to be one of the leaders in the retail wine industry, with its pioneering website, innovative marketing approach and incredible selection of wines and spirits from around the world. Nicks Wine Merchants mail order business, 'Vintage Direct', is now global, shipping Australian wines internationally as well as importing products from the world's great wine regions, dealing directly with producers whenever possible.

Despite these developments, the early lessons have not been forgotten - honesty, trust, integrity, respect and good service, all at a fair price are still the family's main values. The continual search for new and exciting products and the development of a transparent wine rating system (www.winespider.com), combined with the vast amount of information offered to the public free of charge via the web site and newsletters is testimony to Nicks Wine Merchant's ongoing commitment.
The business remains family owned and run with one retail store in Melbourne, which is well worth a visit. 
It is no mere run-of-the-mill bottle shop, rather, as one journalist put it, "...Nicks Wine Merchants is a cornucopia of hard to find wines and spirits, more like an alcohol museum where you're allowed to taste and buy many of the exhibits".  

In 2013, Nicks Wine Merchants was voted Australia's Best Independent Wine Store by consumers in a competition organised by The Wine Rules Blog in association with Wine Busines Monthly Magazine.