Awards

Entering the awards offers the opportunity for recognition and exposure in key publications Gourmet Traveller WINE and Drinks Trade and other national media following the annual presentation. Winning Glass Ratings, positive reviews and Awards will attract more customers to experience your list, reinforcing your standing as one of the best wine lists in Australia.

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It's been really good for business. We've always been known as a destination for wine lovers and the award has now cemented that position for us. We've had customers come in and see the wine list and drink the wines because they've heard about the award and that definitely adds something special to the place.

Nick Hildebrandt - Bentley
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Winning the Wine List of the Year Award has legitimised a less-than-conventional, narrative-based approach to listing and selling delicious wine. I'm sure that other sommeliers with a song in their heart and a fierce yearning to tell stories will be heartened by our success and feel more confident in submitting their offering.

Grant Dickson - fermentAsian

Enter the Awards

Entering the awards annually is essential to retain your glass rating and listing in Australia's Wine List of the Year Award Best Lists. You can enter your list under different Categories each year. Choose your category, and you are automatically entered for Best List for your Type of Venue, Best State List and the main award, Best Wine list of the Year. You can only win the main award once. The following year you secure your place in history with entry into the prestigious Hall of Fame. Achieving a listing in the Hall of Fame can also be done by winning best in a Category, State or Venue Type three times.

Make sure you are part of this important annual event, showcasing your list to some of the world's most respected local and international expert judges, including Master Sommeliers, Master of Wine, Sommeliers and Wine Communicators.

1

See Award Categories

There are several categories that offer you a chance to win an award. While you can only enter your list for a single choice of category each year, you can change the category in following years to showcase your list's strengths in alternate areas.

2

What you need to provide

You will need to supply PDFs of your wine list and your menu to see how your list compliments your cuisine. We will also require two high-resolution images of your venue. These should be attached with your submission.

3

Complete your submission

'Sign up' to register, or 'Sign in' to complete your submission.
A cost of $165 (including GST) is payable upon registration.

Enter the 2017 Awards

Entries for the 2017 Australia's Wine List of the Year Awards are now closed and judging has commenced. The winners will be announced on Monday 31st July in Sydney.

Main Awards

Wine List of the Year Award

This is awarded annually to the list considered by the International Jury (30 judges from Australia and around the world) to be the finest in the country. It may only be won once. The winner is then eligible for the Hall of Fame of Australia's Wine List of the Year Awards provided they maintain the high standard of their Wine List.

Judy Hirst Award

This award is presented annually to the sommelier(s) responsible for Australia's Wine List of the Year - the Award is named in memory of the late Judy Hirst who, with Tucker Seabrook, established and managed the awards for the first decade following their inception in 1994.

Best Wine List State or Territory

All entering establishments are automatically entered in their applicable State or Territory.

Best Wine List: ACT

Best Wine List: NSW

Best Wine List: NT

Best Wine List: QLD

Best Wine List: SA

Best Wine List: TAS

Best Wine List: VIC

Best Wine List: WA

Best Wine List Venue Type

Best City Restaurant Wine List

This award recognises the best wine list from restaurants located in metropolitan and suburban areas of Australian capital cities.

Best Country Restaurant Wine List

This award recognises the best wine list from restaurants located in regional and rural Australia.

Best Hotel Restaurant Wine List

Formerly ‘Best International Hotel Restaurant Wine List’, this award is open to boutique and major hotels alike with an accommodation rating of 3 stars or more.

Best Pub Restaurant Wine List

This award covers casual hotel venues such as pubs and bars.

Best Club Restaurant Wine List

This award is for wine lists from licensed club restaurants only.

Best Wine Bar Wine List

Lists from specialist wine bars are eligible for this award.

Best Wine List Category Awards

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 Small 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 Small 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 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 Listing of a 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.

Gourmet Traveller Wine Readers Choice Award

Each year Gourmet Traveller WINE readers are given the opportunity to nominate their choice of Australia’s best wine list. Each year one lucky reader receives a Magnum of Bollinger Champagne for their participation.

Hall of Fame

Past Main Award Winners

Establishments can only win Australia’s Wine List of the Year Award once, but are still eligible to win any of the other Awards at least three times.

Three Time Award Winners: State/Territory, Class of Trade or Category Award

 

Once an establishment wins the same State/Territory, Class of Trade or Category Award three times, they will then be eligible for entry to the Hall of Fame and be ineligible for that award in the future, but eligible for any other award.

In all of the above cases, the successful establishments will each year be recognised and listed in the Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards – Hall of Fame, providing they enter and maintain their Glass Rating each year.

Individual Awards

This prestigious award is presented periodically to recognise an outstanding individual and their contribution to education and the service of fine wine within the Australian Hospitality and Tourism Industries over recent times – With a major beneficiary of this contribution being the standard of wine lists of Australia.

 

Judging the Awards

The Judging Process

 

Our total judging panel comprises an accomplished group of over 30 wine industry professional wine communicators, sommeliers, winemakers, Master Sommeliers and Masters of Wine. It is their mission to recognise and reward wine lists that elevate the dining experience, scoring on content, balance, suitability to venue, presentation and pricing.

Impartiality is a key consideration in the judging process, which is completed in two stages. Firstly, all lists are allocated to our local Judging Panel, made up of wine writers and other experts who work or have worked as sommeliers, chefs and winemakers.

Two judges from this panel rates every wine list independently. They are not usually allocated lists from home states, however, once every five years, they are asked to rate local lists to maintain awareness of local dining. Judges raw scores are added to determine ratings, however, these can be moderated by the Chairman of Judges working with the Deputy Chairs.

Each entering establishment is given a rating:

 Three glasses (outstanding)

Two glasses (excellent)

One glass (recommended)

The national winners of each of the awards are decided by a rigorous and fair system. Raw scores determine the top lists in each category. To ensure no restaurant is disadvantaged by tougher marking, these highest scoring lists are moderated by the Chairman of Judges working with the Deputy Chairs in determining finalists and winners for each award.

The final stage of judging calls on the International Jury, a distinguished group of Australian and International wine personalities including Master Sommeliers, Masters of Wine, expert sommeliers, wine judges, and food and wine writers. They are given information about the restaurant, the wine list, and the menu for each of the top six or seven rated Australian lists. Their task is to rate each of these submissions so the winner of Australia’s Wine List of the Year can be chosen.

Once a restaurant has achieved the top accolade of winning Australia’s Wine List of the Year, they are inducted into the Hall of Fame for the following year. Winners of the major award are eligible to enter another category and win additional key awards.

Restaurants that win any award category three times also achieve Hall of Fame status.

To retain Glass Ratings all restaurants must enter each year.

What are the Judges looking for?

  • Content
  • Balance
  • Suitability
  • Presentation
  • Pricing

Download Judging Criteria

Who are the judges?

The hard work of judging Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards is the responsibility of an extraordinary selection of Master Sommeliers and Master of Wine together with additional expert sommeliers, chefs, wine makers, wine judges and wine and food writers from Australia and around the World. Led by Chairman of Judges, Peter Forrestal and Deputy Chairs, Toni Paterson MW and Jeni Port, this selection is further divided into two groups – the Judging Panel and the International Jury.

MORE ABOUT THE JUDGES

Enter the 2017 Awards

Entries for the 2017 Australia's Wine List of the Year Awards are now closed and judging has commenced. The winners will be announced on Monday 31st July in Sydney.
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