The National Wine Centre of Australi

Josh Di Stefano & Florence Diffey

of Vera Wine, Newcastle, NSW

After cutting their teeth at some of Melbourne’s best-known wine haunts like Prince Wine Store, Marion, and Blackhearts & Sparrows, Josh Di Stefano and Florence Diffey headed north to open Vera Wine in what might seem an unlikely location – Newcastle.  

“We decided that retail was the way to go and that Newcastle was more than ready to drink some of the delicious things we’d been exposed to in Melbourne over the years,” says the duo. Now with three kids in tow, Di Stefano and Diffey have crafted a stellar offering of Australian and international wines at Vera, with their focus on sustainability, organics and providing wines of value for every customer.

Florence Diffey & Josh Di Stefano.

“The main thing for us is making sure there’s a bottle for everyone who walks through the door,” they say. “Wines of all styles, regions and price points are so important in making sure everyone is included. If we could find a great bottle to sit on the shelf at $5, we’d do it! As long as it represents great value.”

For Di Stefano and Diffey, the nearby Hunter Valley has really caught their attention. “We’ve been blown away by the incredible things coming out of the Hunter,” they say. “Unfortunately down in Melbourne, it isn’t well represented at all. Our misconceptions of the Hunter Valley are now gone and we are loving finding smaller producers doing incredible work.” They suggest checking out Tim Ward’s I’ll Fly Away range, Dirt Candy, Mercer Wines, Grandis Wines, Sabi Wabi, Vinden Estate and Usher Tinkler.

Keep your eyes peeled on their website (, with Di Stefano and Diffey hinting at some larger wine events in the future.