Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards (AWLYA) has announced two new awards and a new partner for this year’s awards to be presented on Monday, 27 September.
The two new awards are being introduced in response to the impact of the pandemic on Australian venues:
Australia’s Best Wine List – 200 Wines
Habitually, entrants to the Wine List of the Year Awards have included wine lists with an average in excess of 200 wines. During the pandemic, AWLYA observed a downward trend as numerous venues trimmed down their lists. This award recognises that shift in business and the new maximum 200 wines category which will sit alongside the Best Wine List – 50 Wines and Best Wine List – 100 Wines.
Australia’s Wine List of the Year – Australia’s Choice Award
Many venues have been overwhelmed by the support they have continued to receive from their customers. This award is being introduced in response to that generosity and as an opportunity for Australia’s consumers to express their recognition and gratitude to their favourite sommeliers and venues.
Established in 1994 by Tucker Seabrook, Rob and his late wife Judy Hirst, the AWLYA 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.
The awards are considered the most prestigious award program for sommeliers and owners of restaurants, hoteliers, clubs and wine bar managers be they large or small.
This year, QANTAS Magazine and its corresponding website, Travel Insider, have joined as partners, along with the Drinks Association: the continuing official Trade Communications Partner.
Rob Hirst said: “At a time when the hospitality and tourism industries are suffering so significantly, this exciting new partnership represents an opportunity for the talented creators of Australia’s leading wine and beverage lists – and the outstanding cellars behind them – to receive an extraordinary boost to the recognition they so richly deserve for their continued pursuit of excellence.
“The new partnership with Qantas will allow them to connect with a broader base of consumers as people begin to travel and cross borders again.”
Kirsten Galliott, Editor-in-Chief, QANTAS magazine and Travel Insider, said: “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.”
Georgia Lennon, CEO of the Drinks Association agrees: “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.”
In 2021, the Awards’ 30+ strong judging panel continues to include highly respected local and international wine judges, Master Sommeliers, Masters of Wine, wine communicators, previous award winners and Sommeliers Australia representatives who assess each year’s entries.
The Awards to date:
Over the years, the quality of Australia’s wine lists has grown in line with the quality of the exceptional cuisine offered across Australia’s restaurants, wine bars, hotels, clubs and pubs.
This unprecedented growth in the quality of Australia’s wine lists is reflected in the results now being achieved by the Awards entrants:
- 1994: 9 x 3 Glass Lists (Outstanding)
- 2020: 157 x 3 Glass Lists
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 partnership between sommeliers and chefs.
A renewed focus on Australian wines on wine lists has seen Best Listing of Australian Wines and Best Listing of a Region’s Wines rise in popularity.
To see the complete list of all 2020 winners, visit here. Pictured above is one of last year’s winners, sommelier Dom Robinson who designed the 2020 Wine List of the Year with Jane Lopes for Melbourne’s Attica Restaurant.
Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards Key Dates:
- Entries open: Monday, 3 May
- Entries close: Friday, 11 June
- Awards Presentation: Monday, 27 September