Fairfield RSL celebrates 2017 Wine List of the Year Awards win
Fairfield RSL is celebrating receiving a One-Glass Rating in the 2017 Australia's Wine List of the Year Awards. drinks trade's Hannah Sparks reports
While 2017 Wine List of the Year went to Jonah's on Sydney's northern beaches, a growing number of clubs and pubs have joined the ranks of venues receiving recognition in the Awards.
drinks trade - the drinks association's trade publication - was proud to be the Trade Communications Partner of the Awards, which are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the achievements of sommeliers and venues as they enhance appreciation among diners of the amazing wines our country produces.
Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards once again assembled an extraordinary selection of outstanding local and international judges to maintain the integrity and independence of the Awards. The judging panel was headed by leading wine commentator Peter Forrestal as Chairman of Judges, with Deputy Chairs Toni Paterson MW and Jeni Port, and a long-term panel of 30 global industry figures.
The panel reviewed the wine lists for many qualities, including user friendliness, the quality of the wines and how well the list fits the style of the venue.
Fairfield RSL, located in the south west of Sydney, and is far from your ordinary club. Its five-star fit-out encompasses six restaurants, several conference and event rooms and a shopping centre, with no expense spared on any level to ensure its members get a unique experience in every way, particularly when it comes to fine dining. Its Italian restaurant, La Tratt, has been recognised with an outstanding one-glass rating nine times, while its French restaurant, Montagne, has received the same accolade for the past three years.
The club’s wine lists are managed by seasoned food and beverage professional and CEO Anthony Sobb, who has more than 37 years of experience at international hotels, with his earliest responsibility of a serious wine list at the former famous hatted restaurant Simpson’s.
Sobb doesn’t consider himself a sommelier, not technically anyway, but more as someone with a little knowledge, a lot of passion and a great love of wine.
drinks trade asked Sobb what having a One-Glass rating means to Fairfield RSL
RSLs are not generally well known for their wine list. Why has it been important to Fairfield RSL to diversify its offering for its members with high-quality restaurants and wine lists?
"The strategy behind this when I first commenced at the club approximately 17 years ago was to create a point of difference. My early background was in food and beverage and five-star hotels and restaurants, so utilising my knowledge in this area seemed a natural progression to creating a point of difference amongst our competitors."
What value has winning the one-glass ratings for Montagne and La Tratt added to the club?
"It certainly has given us credibility. Historically, there has been a stigma attached to the quality of food and beverage in registered clubs. Being the recipient of awards such as these informed the discerning diner that we have met the benchmark and criteria set by the panel of industry experts."
How important do you think it is that other clubs consider the quality of their wine list?
"There is certainly a buzz among the club industry, where that leads to I’m not sure. One would assume that being in the hospitality industry means we need to constantly evolve and audit the quality and standards of gastronomy offered at respective properties."
Have your wine lists been skewed to your members in terms of offering best value or access to unique wines?
"I believe we offer excellent value, thus giving the customer an opportunity to experience wines they possibly couldn’t afford at other dining venues. As for access to unique wines, the La Tratt wine list for example, while offering some superb Italian wines, is broad enough to also give some excellent wines from various countries such as Greece, Slovenia, France, Germany, Spain, the US and a wonderful chardonnay from Japan."
Click here to read interviews with Jonah's and 2017 Best Pub Restaurant Wine List winner The Lord Nelson.