Best New Wine List – Tony Hitchin Award
Inaugurated in 2001, this award is named in memory of founding judge and respected wine writer, the late Tony Hitchin. Any licensed on-premise establishment that has been operating for 12 months or less is eligible for this award.
Best Wine List – Maximum 50 wines
For establishments that list no more than 50 wines, this award focuses on carefully thought-out, impeccably balanced, compact lists.
Best Wine List – Maximum 100 wines
For establishments that list no more than 100 wines, this award also focuses on carefully thought-out, impeccably balanced, slightly larger lists.
Best Wine List – Maximum 200 wines
As the average of most award winning wine lists entered in the Awards is over 200 wines, this award caters for the change that has taken place in businesses due to COVID-19 and the trimmed-down nature of wine lists and cellars of the future. The Awards will now recognise those venues listing less than 50, 100 and 200 wines.
Best Food & Wine Matching List
An important part of being a sommelier is working with the chef to create food and wine matches that tantalise diners, transforming both the chosen wine and the dish in ways that make for a memorable dining experience. This award allows wine lists which dare to match food and wine to be rewarded. The judges expect that entrants will focus attention on a degustation menu where each dish is matched with an appropriate wine.
Best Non-Alcoholic List
The award covers still and sparkling waters, mocktails, soft drinks, teas and increasingly juices and infusions. Judge, Mike Bennie, comments that, in many places, juices, kombuchas and bespoke soft drinks are created by the sommeliers, in close alliance with the kitchen. They steep, juice, pickle, cure and squeeze to get their final results which can add an almost precise texture, flavour and aroma to dishes.
Best Listing of Wines by the Glass
The judges are looking for the establishment with the most imaginative and thoughtful collection of wines by the glass. A list that offers depth and breadth as well as an insight into the quality of the restaurant’s overall offering. Size of pour also plays an integral part in this award.
Best Champagne List
A great Champagne list will be appropriate to the style and size of the restaurant which it serves. The various categories of Champagnes need to be considered – vintage, non-vintage and deluxe; rosé, blanc de blancs, blanc de noirs, sans dosage; Champagnes from the Grand Marque houses and from growers. The key is balancing these categories as well as what is available by the glass and by the bottle; youthful and aged bubblies; well-known houses and cutting edge producers.
Best Sparkling List
The judges are looking for the list which offers the most interesting array of sparkling wines from Australia and around the world. The winner is likely to offer depth in its presentation of local bubblies – including vintage, non-vintage and roses and sparkling wines that have spent considerable time on lees. The best lists will showcase a breadth of bubblies from around the world.
Best Aperitif List
There’s a wide-range of alcoholic beverages that are designed to whet the appetite: Champagnes and sparkling wines, cocktails and beers. Sherries (especially fino, manzanilla,and amontillado), vermouths, pastis and herb-flavoured liqueurs.
Best Digestif List
Digestif are served after the meal to aid digestion. The possibilities are wide-ranging and include brandy, eaux de vie, bitter or sweet liqueurs and other distilled liquors, fortified wines such as port, and madeiras and spirits such as gin, vodka, tequila, cognac, bourbon, whisky, whiskey, rum, cachaça, armagnac, grappa, pisco and calvados.
Best Beer List
Whether on tap or available by the glass, every good restaurant will carry a good range of local beers as well as a clever selection of imported beers.
Best Sake List
Sake can fit all the different stages of the meal, and good lists will have varied styles such as sparkling, low and high polishing rates, kimoto and yamahai methods, unpasteurised (nama), cloudy (nigori), alcohol-added, flavoured (umeshu, yuzushu etc) and aged (koshu). Different size formats, guidance on what to expect, and a spread of familiar and little-known brands all add to the appeal.
Best Listing of a Single Region’s Wine
There is interest, like never before, in regionality. Much work has been done over the past decade to define and market the distinctive wine styles from particular wine regions, both Australian and international. Here the judges are looking for wine lists, or sections of wine lists, that provide a comprehensive insight into a wine region. The classiest regional lists will focus predominantly on the varieties that the region does best and will offer some of the finest vintages.
Best Listing of Australian Wines
This award places local wines in an international context; showcasing our finest varietals, varietal blends; single site, regional and multi-regional blends; highlighting our finest young wines as well as offering more mature vintages to show how well these can age as well as presenting wines that offer excellent value for money at a range of prices.
Best Listing of ACT Wines
Similar to the Best Listing of Australian wines, this award recognises the wines from regions of the Australian Capital Territory.
Best Listing of NSW Wines
Similar to the Best Listing of Australian wines, this award recognises the wines from regions of New South Wales.
Best Listing of SA Wines
Similar to the Best Listing of Australian wines, this award recognises the wines from regions of South Australia.
Best Listing of QLD Wines
Similar to the Best Listing of Australian wines, this award recognises the wines from regions of Queensland.
Best Listing of TAS Wines
Similar to the Best Listing of Australian wines, this award recognises the wines from regions of Tasmania.
Best Listing of VIC Wines
Similar to the Best Listing of Australian wines, this award recognises the wines from regions of Victoria.
Best Listing of WA Wines
Similar to the Best Listing of Australian wines, this award recognises the wines from regions of Western Australia.
Australia’s Choice Award
This award is being introduced as an opportunity for Australia’s consumers to express their recognition and gratitude for their favourite sommeliers and venues. So many venues have been overwhelmed by the support they have continued to receive from their customers.