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Ten Minutes by Tractor wins 2021 Australia's Wine List of the Year Awards – Surviving Lockdowns and Celebrating Success

21 Nov 2021

Marking the 28th year since the Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards were launched in 1994, the winners of the 2021 Awards were announced online on Monday 29th November.

In yet another year in which the Australian hospitality industry was tested to the limit, the Awards again highlighted the depth of talent, dedication, and the sheer commitment and tenacity, of so many sommeliers and owners around the country.

The winner of the 2021 Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards is – Ten Minutes by Tractor who also take out the 2021 Best Country Restaurant List, and Best Victorian List.

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According to Chair of Judges Peter Forrestal “It’s a story for the ages: a great restaurant and an astounding wine list that have evolved from the ashes of a 2018 fire which closed the venue for 18 months. Owners Martin and Karen Spedding, chef Adam Sanderson and sommelier Xavier Vigier all deserve credit for their part in the resurrection, recreating and revitalisation of Ten Minutes by Tractor. In its wine list, they have reconceptualised the notion of the winery restaurant; given clearer definition to the idea of evoking a sense of place; offered a unique exploration of the wines of Mornington, placing them alongside the great wines of Australia and the world. All this has made for a fascinating list. Xavier Vigier takes his place alongside Australia’s finest sommeliers as the latest winner of the Judy Hirst Award, given annually to the sommelier responsible for the winning list”.

Deputy Chair of Judges, Jeni Port, declared of Ten Minutes by Tractor‘ A love letter to wine if ever there was one, this list takes absolute joy in the people, the regions, and the ever-changing moods of wine whether it be on the Mornington Peninsula, the rest of the country, or the world.

Of the overall Awards, Peter Forrestal, continued – ‘While the Pandemic and its associated lockdowns made this arguably the most trying year ever for the hospitality industry, one of its signature trademarks – the wine lists – show a resilience and professionalism that flies in the face of such adversity. It continues a trend that we noted last year and reflects particularly well on the quality of education and training which is now widely available”.

Commenting on their new partnership with Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards, Kirsten Galliott, Editor in Chief, QANTAS Magazine and Travel Insider said– “It’s a privilege to partner with the Australian Wine List of the Year Awards and celebrate the achievements of Australia’s sommeliers and restaurants. It has obviously been an incredibly challenging couple of years for the industry but despite everything, we’ve seen innovation and new ways of thinking, as well as just a sheer tenacity to hang on and come back bigger and better.”

The numbers of entrants in 2021 is an all-time high and the stratospheric quality is reflected in the record number of 176 lists awarded three glasses. This compares favourably to 157 last year and only nine in 1994.

Finalists for the top Award in 2021 are – in one of the toughest fields ever, – Bennelong, Bert’s Bar & Brasserie, Cirrus, all from Sydney, Cru Bar + Cellar Brisbane and Florentino, Melbourne.

The Awards judging panel of 35 respected Australian and international judges – coordinated by Chair, Peter Forrestal, and Deputy Chairs, Jeni Port and Toni Paterson MW, includes Brian Julyan MS, Founder of the Court of Master Sommeliers, as International Chair; plus, five Master Sommeliers and seven Masters of Wine, wine judges, educators, wine media and previous award winners. “It is the nature and calibre of these independent judges as well as their global recognition and the respect in which they are held that sets these awards apart,” acknowledged Australia’s Wine List of the Year Founder Rob Hirst.

A further international perspective was provided by International Chair Brian Julyan MS– “Another year and another excellent set of Wine Lists which made the judging ever more difficult.  Some imaginative Wine and Food matching has become an excellent vehicle to recommend some of the less well-known wines as well as traditional favourites and an opportunity to introduce some emerging stars. The continued extension of the wines by the glass section is offering the customer an ever-increasing number of choices and experiences.  A number of lists now include indications of wines which are classified as Organic, Biodynamic and Vegan and this will be welcomed by an ever-growing number of customers.  In a difficult year for the Industry, the Sommelier and management teams have shown there has been no let-up in the pursuit of quality”. 

The other great strength of Australia’s Wine List of the Year can be seen by the calibre of the lists which vied for the 35 individual awards on offer. These highlight the talents of sommeliers and the commitment of owners to offering a diverse and challenging restaurant experience.

The outstanding performer here was Brisbane’s Cru Bar + Cellar, already a Hall of Famer as Queensland winner three times. In 2021, it won Best Wine Bar List, Best Listing of Queensland Wines, Best List of Wines by the Glass and Best Champagne List.

Charred Kitchen & Bar continues to punch above its weight and shines the light on what is possible in a vibrant country town such as Orange with wins in Best Listing of NSW Wines and Best Beer List.

David and Sarah Lawler’s tiny list at Ishizuka won Best Small List (50 Wines) for the third time as well as Best Non-Alcoholic List, an increasingly eagerly sought-after award.

Almost twenty years after it won Australia’s Wine List of the Year, Aria continues to feature among the awards. In 2021, it has won the Best Sparkling Wine Listand because of the attention to detail and rigour of its sommeliers is placed in three other awards including runner-up in the fiercely contested Best Listing of Australian Wines.

Continuing the theme of Golden Oldies, Giovanni Pilu and his team has won the prestigious Best Wine and Food Matching Award, ten years after Pilu at Freshwater won the top award.

Our most popular awards continue to be Best Wine by the Glass with the innovative technology of Coravin transforming that category as the perfect vehicle for offering premium wines to customers. Best Matching of Food & Wine continues to reflect the ever-closer liaison between sommeliers and chefs while consumer interest and sommelier desire ensures the showcasing of local wines: hence the continued support for Best Listing of Australian Wines and Best Listing of a Region’s Wines.

The new award, Best Wine List (200 Wines), which was introduced to cater for the trimmed-down nature of post Covid wine lists, was well-supported as were Best Wine List (100 Wines) and Best Wine List (50 Wines).

The other new award in 2021 was our consumers’ – ‘Australia’s Choice Award’, run with QANTAS / Travel Insiderand to quote the Editor in Chief Kirsten Galliott – “It’s also been great to see the public get behind these awards with a huge number of people voting for their favourite wine list in our inaugural Australia’s Choice Award. There is a lot of goodwill for the hospitality industry and my great hope is that 2022 is going to be the year of fun. Thankfully, fun is what our great restaurants specialise in.”

Rob Hirst commented that although for many, 2021 was harder in hospitality than it had been during the previous year, it was extraordinary to see the response translate into record entries in the Awards.

It was reassuring to receive the overwhelming feedback from the industry which was  –  ‘Thanks for going ahead with the Awards again this year – they are really important to us as whatever happens, they firstly, give us recognition for what we have achieved – which stays with us forever’, and secondly,  ‘these Awards are public and peer recognition for our venue and our team that we can use as a key part of our recovery plan to help us rebuild our business.

Once again, because of the Pandemic, not all lists will be as we judged them earlier in the year. However, we are sure that the public will understand and join us in celebrating the extraordinary passion and commitment of sommeliers and business owners who have achieved success in these Awards.

ALL WINNERS – AUSTRALIA’S WINE LIST OF THE YEAR AWARDS 2021

 

NATIONAL AWARD WINNERS

2021 Wine List of the Year – Ten Minutes by Tractor

Judy Hirst Award – Xavier Vigier

STATE/TERRITORY WINNERS

Best Wine List ACT – The Boat House

Best Wine List NSW – Cirrus

Best Wine List QLD – Otto, Brisbane

Best Wine List SA – Hardy’s Verandah

Best Wine List TAS – Fico

Best Wine List VIC – Ten Minutes by Tractor

Best Wine List WA – Settlers Tavern

TYPE OF TRADE AWARD WINNERS       

Best City Restaurant Wine List – Cirrus

Best Club Restaurant Wine List – Newcastle Club

Best Country Restaurant Wine List – Ten Minutes by Tractor

Best Hotel Restaurant Wine List – Black Bar & Grill

Best Pub Restaurant Wine List – Watervale Hotel

Best Wine Bar List – Cru Bar + Cellar

 

CATEGORY AWARD WINNERS  

The Tony Hitchin Award (Best New List) – a’Mare

Best Wine List (50 Wines) – Ishizuka

Best Wine List (100 Wines) – Spice Temple, Sydney

Best Wine List (200 Wines) – Fix Wine Bar + Restaurant

Best List of Wines by The Glass – Cru Bar + Cellar

Best Food & Wine Matching List – Pilu at Freshwater

Best Champagne List – Cru Bar + Cellar

Best Sparkling Wine List – Aria, Sydney

Best Non-Alcoholic List – Ishizuka

Best Aperitif List – One Penny Red

Best Digestif List – Bistecca

Best Sake List – Sokyo

Best Beer List – Charred Kitchen & Bar

Best Listing of a Region’s Wines – Settlers Tavern

Best Listing of Australian Wines – Bennelong

Best Listing of ACT Wines – The Boat House

Best Listing of NSW Wines – Charred Kitchen & Bar

Best Listing of Queensland Wines – Cru Bar + Cellar

Best Listing of South Australian Wines – Hardy’s Verandah

Best Listing of Tasmanian Wines – Terrace Kitchen

Best Listing of Victorian Wines – Pt Leo Estate

Best Listing of Western Australian Wines – Wildflower

Best Wine List – Sommeliers’ Choice Award – Quay Restaurant

Best Wine List – Australia’s Choice Award – Il Lido

 

HALL OF FAME 2021

 

NATIONAL AWARD WINNERS – HALL OF FAME – 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)

INDIVIDUAL AWARD WINNERS – HALL OF FAME – 2021

David Lawler (2018)

Franck Moreau MS (2014)

GEOGRAPHIC AWARD WINNERS – HALL OF FAME – 2021

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

Cru Bar + Cellar (Best Queensland) 2004, 2009, 2015

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

Stillwater (Best Tasmanian) 2016, 2017, 2018

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

TYPE OF TRADE AWARD WINNERS – HALL OF FAME – 2021

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]

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]

CATEGORY AWARD WINNERS – HALL OF FAME – 2021

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

Avoca Hotel (Best Beer) 2018, 2019, 2020

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

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 December issues of QANTAS Magazine / Travel Insider and Drinks Trade Magazine and Drinks Trade online after 5:00pm AEDT on Monday 29 November 2021. All Award Winners and all Glass Award recipients will also be listed at winelistoftheyear.com.au after 5:00pm AEDST on Monday 29 November.

 

FOR INTERVIEWS, FURTHER INFORMATION AND IMAGES:

Elaine Millar, M: 0414 258 E: Elaine Millar elaine@elainemillar.com

Rob Hirst, M: 0416 011 838 E: Rob Hirst rob.hirst@tuckerseabrook.com

 

EDITOR NOTES

The Australian hospitality industry has continued to suffer in 2021 due to COVID-19 and subsequent restrictions on movement and trade. The wine lists for the 2021 awards were submitted before lockdowns were reintroduced again and the full realisation of the impact and consequences of COVID-19 were felt by the industry. Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards recognises that a number of the lists submitted in 2021 may now look different today as a consequence of COVID-19.

In another extraordinarily tough year for the Industry, Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards team stands strong in its commitment to highlighting the craft and achievements of Australia’s sommeliers. This is support that, in many ways is needed now more than ever before.

Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards was founded in 1994 by Rob and the late Judy Hirst, and Tucker Seabrook to recognise and reward the commitment, craft and talent of Australia’s sommeliers, as well as the investment by business owners, in building and maintaining great wine lists and the cellars behind them.

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