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Brisbane’s Cru Bar + Cellar crowned Australia’s Wine List of the Year for 2022

24 Sep 2022

Record number of entries show signs of the return of the restaurant.

Celebrated Brisbane venue Cru Bar + Cellar has been named Australia’s Wine List of the Year at the 29th edition of the major industry ceremony. Signalling the return of the restaurant following the difficult lockdowns of COVID-19, the awards returned to an in-person event at Sydney’s 12-Micron in Barangaroo following two years of virtual ceremonies.

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Celebrating an outstanding 20 years in operation in 2022, in addition to taking out the major award, Cru Bar + Cellar also took the titles of Australia’s Best Wine Bar List and Australia’s Best Champagne List. At the same time, the venue’s sommelier Chris Walker received the prestigious Judy Hirst Award for the Sommelier responsible for the winning List. Other finalists for the main Australia’s Wine List of the Year Award in 2022 included Sydney’s Bennelong and Melbourne’s Cutler & Co.

This year’s program saw a record number of entries, even compared to pre-COVID event years, a statistic that Chairman of Judges Peter Forrestal is pleased to see for the wider industry.

“We’ve seen the resilience of the hospitality industry in incredibly difficult times during the pandemic. Although many are still doing it tough, Australia’s Wine List of the Year in 2022 suggests that the industry is hitting back,” Forrestal said.

“Entries in the Awards are at an all-time high. The number of restaurants achieving a three-star rating exceeded 200 for the first time, and there is similar strength in the two glass ratings. Judging by the quality of the lists, sommeliers have never been better trained. If stocks were drained during the pandemic, they are back to normal now.

“Brisbane’s Cru Bar + Cellar has finally won Australia’s Wine List of the Year after 20 years at the top of its game. Cru first drew our attention as the winner of the Best List in Queensland in 2004. Since then, it has just about won every award on offer (but not Best Small List). Possibly Cru’s three wins of Australia’s Best List of Wines by the Glass signalled its intentions, and more recently, a complete revamp of the design of their list reinforced their claims to be among the nation’s elite. Their support of the fledgling Queensland wine industry is noteworthy. Chris Walker has Cru humming like never before: it’s a place to taste (around 80 wines) by the glass, to shop, and to dine with some divine Champagne and a lovingly cellared red. It’s deservedly Australia’s Wine List of the Year in 2022.”

In describing the wine list at Cru Bar + Cellar, Deputy Chair of Judges Toni Paterson MW said: “Are words enough to describe this fabulous list? Simply put, no. One must go to Cru, the ultimate ‘destination wine bar’, to absorb all of its vinous brilliance. There are 80 wines by the glass (80!) served using the Coravin system. And this includes Champagne. Not only is the list utterly stunning, but there’s also a description for every wine, so you can learn about the producer and use the tasting note to see if the wine is right for you.”

Kirsten Galliott, Editor-in-Chief of Major Awards Partner Qantas Magazine | Travel Insider said of this year’s awards: “It’s a wonderful opportunity to turn the spotlight on Australia’s sommeliers and restaurateurs. It has been another challenging year for the hospitality industry, but I am so cheered by the pursuit of excellence, the attention to detail and the championing of the wine industry.”

“It is wonderful to see the popularity of these awards grow and grow, especially as we emerge from the challenges of the past two years. I acknowledge all the venues that submitted entries this year. Having weathered the storm of the past two years and to now be back pairing your menus with the best Australian and international wines is no small feat. We love what you do,” Georgia Lennon, CEO of the Drinks Association, also a Major Partner in the awards, said.

Outstanding performers recognised on the night include Bennelong, which took home the title for Best Wine List NSW and Australia’s Best City Restaurant Wine List, Canberra’s Brunello (first opened in December 2021), which took home the Best Wine List ACT, Best Listing of ACT Wines and Australia’s Best New List awards, and Shangri-La Sydney’s Altitude Restaurant receiving the nation’s Best Hotel Restaurant Wine List in addition to tying with Bennelong for the nation’s Best Listing of Australian Wines.

The most popular category entered this year was the Best List of Wines by The Glass, showcasing that more and more venues are allowing diners to experiment, learn and spend on quality wines and expanding the options for food and wine matching throughout the meal. This award went to last year’s Wine List of the Year Winner Ten Minutes by Tractor, in addition to being inducted to the 2022 Hall of Fame, joining previous winners such as Attica (2020), Jonah’s (2017), Bentley Restaurant + Bar (2015), and Aria (2003).

Other awards recognised on the night include the consumer’s Australia’s Choice Award run in partnership with Qantas Magazine | Travel Insider. Cottesloe, WA venue Il Lido captured readers’ hearts by winning the publicly voted prize.

This year, the judges ushered in a new recognition as part of the judging process – the Wine List Service Award. Over recent years, there has been feedback from industry professionals for an award that recognises and rewards those venues and sommeliers who demonstrate that they understand the critical importance of cellar storage, ‘by the glass’ preservation, and service of wines in exceptional quality glassware. Therefore, venues that have invested in temperature-controlled refrigeration or infrastructure, preservation systems for ‘by the glass’ service, and premium glassware are given additional recognition to symbolise their attention to detail when it comes to wine care and service.

In its inaugural year, 138 venues entered this award, with 51 venues ranked as being at the ‘Three Glass’ level and therefore receiving the 2022 Wine List Service Award Seal.

“Exceptional service of wine is becoming increasingly important to the overall dining experience. Diners’ expectations have increased to the level where they anticipate a wine to be served at the right temperature and in the correct glassware. Even further, there is a growing demand to experience icon or aged wines without investing in an entire bottle. Venues have responded ahead of the trend – building the necessary tools in their venues to cater to increased demands from diners. This new Wine List Service Award recognises that,” Australia’s Wine List of the Year Founder Rob Hirst said.

Established in 1993 by Rob, his late wife Judy and Tucker Seabrook, Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards celebrate the depth of talent, dedication and sheer commitment of sommeliers and venue owners across Australia to build and maintain great wine lists and the cellars behind them.

The Awards judging panel is made up of 30 of some of the world’s most respected wine talent. The panel is coordinated by Forrestal, alongside Deputy Chairs Jeni Port and Toni Paterson MW. Founder of the Court of Master Sommeliers Bryan Julyan MS is the International Chair, with 23 judges from Australia, and the balance from New Zealand, Germany, United States, France, Hong Kong, and Great Britain representing the international jury.

“The Awards remain as respected as they are due in large part to the calibre of excellent judges brought together by Peter Forrestal, Jeni Port and Toni Paterson MW. The global experience of these highly qualified wine writers, expert show judges, and leading sommeliers gives entrants a unique opportunity for some of the best and brightest to evaluate their wine lists,” Hirst said.

“Finally, huge congratulations to all venues that have entered lists this year and have won Glass Awards. The passion and professionalism demonstrated in this year’s entries is a true sign that Australia’s hospitality sector is resilient in the face of challenging times and delivering a beyond world-class offering for diners to experience.”


Australia’s Wine List of the Year Cru Bar + Cellar
Judy Hirst Award Chris Walker
Best Wine List ACT Brunello
Best Wine List NSW Bennelong
Best Wine List QLD Bella Venezia
Best Wine List SA Fishbank
Best Wines List TAS Fico
Best Wine List VIC Cutler & Co.
Best Wine List WA Shorehouse
Best City Restaurant Wine List Bennelong
Best Club Restaurant Wine List Chu by China Doll
Best Country Restaurant Wine List Settlers Tavern
Best Hotel Restaurant Wine List Altitude
Best Pub Restaurant Wine List Lamaro’s
Best Wine Bar List Cru Bar + Cellar
The Tony Hitchin Award (Best New List) Brunello
Best Wine List (50 Wines) Congress
Best Wine List (100 Wines) Firedoor
Best Wine List (200 Wines) China Doll
Best List of Wines by The Glass Ten Minutes by Tractor
Best Food & Wine Matching List Pendolino
Best Champagne List Cru Bar + Cellar
Best Sparkling List Shorehouse
Best Non-Alcoholic List Bistro Sociale
Best Aperitif List de Vine Food & Wine
Best Digestif List Charred Kitchen & Bar
Best Sake List Tsunami
Best Beer List Cookie
Best Listing of a Region’s Wines Stillwater
Best Listing of Australian Wines Altitude & Bennelong
Best Listing of ACT Wines Brunello
Best Listing of NSW Wines Charred Kitchen & Bar
Best Listing of SA Wines The Salopian Inn
Best Listing of TAS Wines Stillwater
Best Listing of VIC Wines Pt Leo Estate
Best Listing of WA Wines Mojo’s Kitchen
Best Wine List – Sommelier’s Choice Le Rebelle (Sarah Atkinson) & Where’s Nick (Bridget Raffal)
Best Wine List – Australia’s Choice Il Lido
Presented by Qantas Magazine | Travel Insider



*New Inductee* Ten Minutes by Tractor (2021)

Attica (2020)

Jonah’s (2017)

Bentley Restaurant + Bar (2015)

Rockpool Bar & Grill, Perth (2014)

Wickens at Royal Mail (2012) [as Royal Mail]

Pilu at Freshwater (2011)

Rockpool Bar & Grill, Melbourne (2010)

Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sydney (2009)

Aria (2003)


David Lawler (2018)

Franck Moreau MS (2014)


Apoteca (Best SA) 2004, 2011, 2012 (as Apothecary 1878)

Attica (Best Victoria) 2013, 2015, 2020

Appellation (Best SA) 2008, 2009, 2010

Blackbird (Best Queensland) 2017, 2018, 2020

Char (Best NT) 2012, 2013, 2014

*New Inductee* Cru Bar + Cellar (Best Queensland) 2004, 2009, 2015, 2021

Rockpool Bar & Grill, Perth (Best WA) 2011, 2012, 2014

Stillwater (Best Tasmanian) 2016, 2017, 2018

Terrace, Launceston, (Best Tasmanian) 2008, 2009, 2019


Bert’s (Best Hotel) 2018, 2019, 2020

The Botanical (Best Pub) 2012, 2013, 2014

Glass Brasserie (Best International Hotel) 2008, 2009, 2010

Jonah’s (Best Hotel) 2015, 2016, 2017

Love, Tilly Devine (Best Wine Bar) 2013, 2016, 2017

Members Dining Room (Best Club) 2013, 2014, 2015 [as RACV City Club]

*New Inductee* Newcastle Club (Best Club) 2018, 2019, 2021

Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron (Best Club) 2003, 2004, 2008

Settlers Tavern (Best Pub) 2009, 2010, 2011

Wickens at Royal Mail (Best Country Restaurant) 2009, 2011, 2012 [as Royal Mail]


*New Inductee* Aria (Best Sparkling) 2017, 2018, 2021

Attica (Best Non-Alcoholic) 2018, 2019, 2020

Avoca Hotel (Best Beer) 2018, 2019, 2020

Chiswick, Woollahra (Best Small List: 100) 2015, 2017, 2018

*New Inductee* Cru Bar + Cellar (Best Wine List By The Glass) 2017, 2020, 2021

“New Inductee* Ishizuka (Best Wine List (50 Wines) 2019, 2020, 2021

Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sydney (Best Aperitif) 2011, 2012, 2017

Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sydney (Best Digestif) 2012, 2015, 2020

Settlers Tavern (Best Listing of Western Australian Wines) 2017, 2018, 2019

Aria (Reader’s Choice Award) 2011, 2012, 2013

**All Award Winners will be published in the October issue of QANTAS Magazine | Travel Insider as well as in Drinks Trade Magazine and Drinks Trade online after 6:00pm AEST on Monday 26 September 2022. All Award Winners and all Glass Award recipients will also be listed on Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards Website at after 6:00pm AEST on Monday, 26 September.

For interviews, further information and images, please contact:

Brian Chase Olson | Blend Public Relations | | m. 0435 403 608

Elaine Millar | | 0414 258 633

Rob Hirst | Australia’s Wine List of the Year | | 0416 011 838

A special thanks to this year’s Awards Partners and Supporters

on behalf of the Awards and the Industry


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