2021 Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards are back on

May 3, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

Entries now open for Australia’s best wine lists

Creators and owners of Australia’s leading wine and beverage lists are invited to enter one of Australia’s most prestigious awards – Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards. Entries are now open, and sommeliers and business owners have until Friday, 11 June 2021 to submit their lists to the judges.

In a first for the awards, Qantas and Travel Insider have come on board as partners this year. Not only will Australia’s best wine and beverage list creators – and the outstanding cellars behind them – receive the recognition they so richly deserve through this partnership, but for the first time, a destination guide will be created to inform tourists and consumers of the best wine lists across the country.

Kirsten Galliott, Editor-in-Chief, Qantas magazine and Travel Insider, said:

“I have been a long–time admirer of the awards and feel now is the perfect time to celebrate the achievements of our restaurant industry in what has been a challenging year. There is always opportunity in adversity and we want to showcase how Australia’s top sommeliers have continued to champion excellence and try new things. Qantas magazine readers are always on the lookout for incredible experiences and it is our role to keep them informed of the best around the country.”

With the 30-strong independent judging panel including highly respected local and international Master Sommeliers, Masters of Wine, wine judges and communicators, previous national Wine List Award winners and Sommeliers Australia representatives assessing each year’s lists, Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards – launched 28 years ago this year – are now renowned by the industry as the most prestigious national awards program for sommeliers and owners – be they restaurateurs, hoteliers, pub, club or wine bar managers – large and small.

Lists are ranked from one to three glasses and those with three glasses are then in contention for the highly prized Category awards and of course, the ultimate: Australia’s Best Wine List. In addition to competing on a national, state-wide and regional scale, entrants can also submit their lists according to geography, venue type and other special categories including Best Listing of Wines by the Glass, Best Food and Wine Matching, beverage specialities.

Establishment in 1994 by Tucker Seabrook and Rob and his late wife Judy Hirst, the awards are a platform to recognise, reward and celebrate the very best Australia has to offer in the way of wine lists – that critical ‘other half’ of the perfect dining experience, and the outstanding individuals behind them.

Since then, the quality of Australia’s wine lists has grown in line with the quality of the exceptional cuisine offered across Australia’s restaurants, hotels, clubs, pubs and wine bars. This unprecedented growth in the quality of Australia’s wine lists from 9 x 3 Glass Lists in 1994 to 157 x 3 Glass Lists in 2020. Pictured is winner of last year’s Best Wine List of the Year,  Dom Robinson who with Jane Lopes designed the list for Melbourne’s Attica.

The most popular award category in 2020 remained Best Wine by the Glass, with preservation technology such as Coravin making this a perfect vehicle for offering premium wines to consumers. This was followed by Best Matching of Food and Wine – reflecting the close partnership between sommeliers and chefs. A renewed focus on Australian wines has also seen Best Listing of Australian Wines and Best Listing of a Region’s Wines rise in popularity showing the desire to showcase the exciting work of local producers alongside imported wines and spirits.

2021 New Awards

To recognise the impact the pandemic has had on the Australian hospitality and tourism industries, two new awards have been introduced in 2021:

  1. Australia’s Best Wine List – 200 Wines
  2. Australia’s Wine List of the Year – Australia’s Choice Award

To see the complete list of all 2020 winners, visit here.   

2021 Awards Partners:

The Drinks Association is a long-standing partner of the awards. CEO, Georgia Lennon said, “At the Drinks Association, we strive to inform, strengthen and connect the Australian drinks industry. There has never been a more important time to support our hospitality partners and the people who service them. We look forward to celebrating the achievements of sommeliers and venues throughout Australia again this year. Come September, we’ll be toasting the winners and sharing their stories in our Drinks Trade magazine and via our digital media platforms.”

Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards will be hosted in Sydney on Monday, 27 September. For inquiries, email here.

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