A seat at the table: Graze Wine Bar

On Sunday, we walked up to Kelburn to visit Graze Wine Bar, housed in what used to be a butcher’s shop in the village. The place was on our radar as somewhere to go since it opened earlier this year. The long holiday weekend seemed like a good time to try it, so I booked a table for drinks and snacks as a sort of pre-dinner treat.

The place is small, seating up to 22 people, and is full of lovely details like the patchwork denim covered bench, the old butcher’s sign on the wall and an eclectic mix of objects above the bar. The food is ‘pescatarian’, the wine from New Zealand and owners Max Gordy (who can be seen behind the bar in the picture below) and Stina Person are focussed on keeping their business low-waste and sustainable.

Wine from Halcyon Days was being featured, so we tried the 2022 pinot noir rosé, which was this lovely pinkish-orange colour and a pinot noir from the same vineyard.

The food at Graze is based around small plates, so perfect if like us you just want a bit of something to have with your wine. We ordered these soft pretzels, which were honestly one of the best things I have tasted in ages. The glaze was a mix of several different things (I think hibiscus was in there?) and honey, and the taste was incredible. The beer cheese that came with it was a perfect match and topped with seasonal and locally foraged onion weed.

One of my favourite foods of all time is pierogi. My father would take over the kitchen on the occasional Sunday afternoon and make a batch, and while my own attempt (once, drinking wine with a cousin) left a lot to be desired, other family members, like my aunts, have made some wonderful ones. So we had to try the pierogi at Graze, which were filled with potato and cheese, and came with a sauce sprinkled with onion weed flowers. These were also excellent, full of fresh flavours and beautifully served: a win all round.

In the recent Wellington hospitality sector Felix Awards, Graze was a finalist in the best regional restaurant category and Max Gordy was a finalist for outstanding chef of the year. I can see why.

We stopped by just for drinks and snacks, but obviously you can go for dinner too. Graze can be found at 95 Upland Road, Kelburn, Wellington. And yes…that is me taking the picture in the featured image at the top of the post…

And of course it was one of this week’s small pleasures.

Thistles and Kiwis is a Wellington, New Zealand based blog written by Barbara, who likes cats, summer, good food and pretends to garden.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram @thistlesandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on thistlesandkiwis@gmail.com


  1. Pierogies are one of my absolute favourite foods! Whenever I had a really bad day at work my husband and son would automatically know because they could find me in the kitchen making pierogies from scratch. They are such a brilliant comfort food!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I don’t know pierogi either, but it sure looks like comfort food! The wine and food seem very innovative at Graze, no wonder they won the best regional restaurants award. Wellington certainly has a range of restaurants/wine bars.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am savoring the taste of the pretzel — I appreciate your surprise that something so humble can taste incredible. I also like the shout-out to pierogi. I had my first taste at a Polish-American festival I attended a few years ago. I need to seek them out more often!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you for your weekend coffee share. The food and wine look wonderful. Pierogies are one of my favourite foods. Lucky for me, we have a Polish community in Toronto so pierogies are readily available.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Funny think I just had beer cheese for the first time last week. Yummy. I’m totally full from lunch right now or I’d be begging my husband to go out to find something similar. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That wine bar is super cute. I love pierogi too. I’d love to try and make them. I made a “cheat” version one time by putting the potato filling into manicotti shells. It was actually really good, but I do want to try the real thing.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.