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Red White & Amber Liquor Merchants

Graedon White remembers exactly when his love for wine started – around the dinner table, enjoying a Sunday roast with his family. As he came of age, he was allowed a small glass of wine over roast lunch and that appreciation for the ceremonial act of cracking open a bottle of wine and sharing it with his family and friends has carried through to his business.

Graedon owns and operates Red White & Amber Liquor Merchants, specialising in wine, beer and spirits in the heart of the Glenferrie precinct.

Graedon grew up in Balwyn and still lives there now with his family. His first experience in liquor retail was at Harry’s Liquor in Forest Hill, where he worked while he studied Commerce at Melbourne University. After completing his degree, he soon found work managing marketing events and continued in various marketing positions for around ten years, until he decided that it was time for a change – and started the store.

Working alongside his father-in-law, who had a background and experience in wholesale and retail, he started looking for an appropriate location. He only ever had two in mind – Hawthorn or Fitzroy. Only these suburbs suited the feel he was looking for and had the demographic of customers he wanted to appeal. He started searching for sites and in 2002, he took over and opened as Red White & Amber Liquor Merchants for the first time.

The shop itself has been a liquor store for more than 50 years, and it’s likely the ghost sign on the outside of the store was advertising – Just Liquor.

But he didn’t just bring a new name, Graedon brought a new outlook to the store as well. He dramatically expanded the range, giving Hawthorn residents more options.

“If there’s a $20 bottle of wine, we’re not going to sell it for $30… if we don’t think the wine is worth the price, we just won’t stock it, unless the customer requests” he says.

He’s not always just behind the counter though – Graedon always loves going out to wineries, meeting the grape growers, wine makers and representatives. Understanding that “connection to the land” and the local vineyard is a vital aspect to knowing what to bring to his customers here in Hawthorn.

When he is not working and wine tasting, Graedon tends to spend his time with his family, watching films and “cooking all different kinds of things, with a nice vino or beer at hand.” He watches a wide mixture of movies, but always makes sure he gets to the cinema to see new action flicks on the big screen. In between his time at the shop, he makes time every week to go down the street to do the banking, and more importantly, head into Schnitz for a nice Friday lunch.

Ultimately, Graedon’s passion for a good drop is clear, that passion is extended to all who walk in and he is ready to help anyone find that perfect bottle to crack open and share surrounded by family and friends.

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