The Judging Process
Our total International judging panel comprises an accomplished group of over 30 wine industry professionals, wine communicators and sommeliers. These include several Master Sommeliers and Masters of Wine from Australia and around the world.
They are all experienced professionals who approach their work with a sense of responsibility and professionalism thus ensuring that impartiality is a key consideration in the judging process.
Their mission is to reward wine lists that elevate the dining experience.
During the first stage of the judging process, lists are allocated to the Australian Judging Panel: wine writers, sommeliers, wine judges and other experienced professionals who work in the hospitality industry.
Each list is rated on its content, balance, suitability to the venue, presentation and pricing.
Judges are not allocated lists from their home states.
Each list is judged by a pair of judges; both assess independently and confidentially, without being aware of the identity of the other judge.
Judges raw scores are added to determine ratings; however, these can be moderated by the Chairman of Judges working with the Deputy Chairs if the gap between the two independent judges’ judgements is significant.
Each entering establishment is given a rating:
- Three glasses (outstanding)
- Two glasses (excellent)
- One glass (recommended)
There are a small number of establishments which do not meet our basic standards and these are not given a glass rating.
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, sommeliers, wine judges, and food and wine writers; plus all members of the Judging Panel.
They are given information about the restaurant, the wine list, and menu for each of the top six Australian lists and are asked to rank these. The winner becomes Australia's Wine List of the Year.
The national winners of each of the other Major 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.
Once a restaurant has achieved the top accolade of winning Australia's Wine List of the Year, they are unable to win the top award again however are inducted into the Hall of Fame the following year where they are able to remain – provided their list retains its high standard and continues to enter the Awards.
Winners of this major award are however eligible to enter other categories and win additional key awards.
Restaurants that win any Major Award category three times are also precluded from winning that category Award a fourth time however they then achieve Hall of Fame status as well – provided they maintain their standard and enter the Awards.
To retain Glass Ratings all restaurants must enter each year.
What are the Judges looking for?
- Quality is key to choice of wines
- Having an original and innovative choice, with some mature wines from good vintages, avoiding poor vintages
- Carefully matching varieties and regions
- Having an appropriate variety of wines by the glass
- Adequate list of aperitifs, beers, spirits, liqueurs and waters/non-alcoholic
- Balance of pricing relevant to your establishment
- Domestic and imported wines, regions and wine styles
- To cuisine, style and image of establishment
- Includes vintages
- Accurate and consistent presentation of information
- Clear design for easy navigation