Melbourne’s acclaimed Attica wins 2020 Australia’s Wine List of the Year Award

November 30, 2020
By Ioni Doherty

No restaurant has done more to maintain the highest standards in wine and wine list creativity than the winner of this year’s Australia’s Wine List of the Year, Melbourne’s acclaimed Attica restaurant.

A regular on the rollcall of the World’s Best 50 Restaurants, Attica celebrates boundary-pushing cuisine. Likewise, its wine list is daring and challenging while keeping the closest eye on quality.

Attica sommeliers Dom Robinson (pictured above) and Jane Lopes are joint winners of the Judy Hirst Award as the sommeliers responsible for the winning list. Lopes returned to the US due to the COVID-19 lockdown but is recognised for her exceptional work in curating the wine list over the past three years and working with current head sommelier Dom Robinson on the winning list.

Chair of Judges Peter Forrestal said that the restaurant had been on the judges’ radar for several years as one of Australia’s top wine programs. A finalist in Wine List of the Year in 2019, their 2020 their list – submitted before the pandemic – was chosen by the international jury as the leading wine list in Australia.

“Attica owner and chef, Ben Shewry, has worked tirelessly finding innovative ways to keep his staff working productively in the darkest days of 2020. At present they offer an experience called ‘Attica In Between’. As their website says, ‘it isn’t necessarily the future, but it is Attica now.’

While the wine list won’t be operating as it did when it was judged, we understand Attica’s customers will again be able to enjoy an outstanding wine offer true to the Attica philosophy,” Forrestal said.

Attica also takes out Best City Restaurant List, Best Victorian List and Best Non-Alcoholic List.

Ironically given the long lockdowns in Melbourne, three of six finalists considered for the major award – Attica, Cutler & Co. and Masani -were Melbourne based.

In a year when the Australian hospitality industry was tested to the limit, the 2020 Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards, announced this afternoon, have highlighted the depth of talent and dedication of many sommeliers around the country.

Awards Founder Rob Hirst said it was cruel that in a year when Australia’s wine lists achieved the highest ever average level in the 27-year history of the Awards (2.2 Glasses) that COVID-19 should hit the industry.

“157 outlets achieved the prestigious 3 Glass level (Outstanding) compared with 9 in 1994,” he said.

“Obviously, a number of lists will be different today to what was submitted for judging earlier in the year. I’m sure the public will understand and join us in celebrating the extraordinary passion and commitment of sommeliers and business owners who have achieved glass rating and award success in these 2020 Awards. This is recognition that is theirs forever” Hirst added.

Forrestal believes that ongoing education and training is at the heart of this ever-growing professionalism. “Across the board, 2020 lists were better organised and presented…in a year when Victoria has suffered so much at the hand of the pandemic, it is delightful to report the regional success for the Mornington Peninsula that glitters with more great and imaginative lists than ever before.

“Other regional stars include Harbourside Bar & Kitchen, Cairns in Far North Queensland, while Charred Kitchen in Orange, as a finalist in five of our awards, showed that its country location has little influence on quality.

Bennelong pays tribute to its iconic location with an all-Australian list of incomparable quality, while the elegant space occupied by Reign in the Queen Victoria Building, is matched by the veuve and panache of its bubblies. Taken all in all, this is a celebration of the hospitality industry and those who work in it,” Forrestal said.

The judging panel of 34 respected Australian and international judges includes Master Sommeliers, Masters of Wine, wine judges, educators, wine media and previous award winners.

ALL WINNERS – AUSTRALIA’S WINE LIST OF THE YEAR AWARDS 2020

NATIONAL AWARD WINNERS

2020 Wine List of the Year – Attica, Melbourne

Judy Hirst Award – Joint Winners – Dom Robinson / Jane Lopes , Sommeliers – Attica

STATE/TERRITORY WINNERS

Best Wine List ACT – Italian and Sons, Canberra

Best Wine List NSW – Sixpenny, Sydney

Best Wine List QLD – Blackbird, Brisbane

Best Wine List SA – Hardy’s Verandah, Adelaide Hills

Best Wine List TAS – Black Cow Bistro, Launceston

Best Wine List VIC – Attica, Melbourne

Best Wine List WA – Il Lido, Perth

NATIONAL CLASS OF TRADE OR CATEGORY

Best City Restaurant Wine List – Attica, Melbourne

Best Country Restaurant Wine List – Laura at Point Leo Estate, Merricks, Victoria

Best Hotel Restaurant Wine List – Bert’s Bar & Brasserie, Newport, NSW

Best Pub Restaurant Wine List – Mayfair Lane Pub & Dining Room, Perth

Best Club Restaurant Wine List – Terrace Kitchen, Launceston, Tasmania

Best Wine Bar List – Saga Bar, Sydney

Tony Hitchin Award (Best New List) – mimi’s, Sydney

Best Small List (50 Wines) – Joint Winners – Cott & Co Fish Bar, Perth and Ishizuka, Melbourne

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

Best Food & Wine Matching List – Aria, Sydney

Best List of Wine by The Glass – Cru Bar + Cellar, Brisbane

Best Champagne List – Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sydney

Best Sparkling Wine List – Reign at the QVB, Sydney

Best Non-Alcoholic List – Attica, Melbourne

Best Aperitif List – Banksii Vermouth Bar & Bistro, Sydney

Best Digestif List – Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sydney

Best Beer List – The Avoca Hotel, Avoca, Victoria

Best Sake List – Harbourside Bar & Kitchen, Cairns

Best Listing of a Region’s Wines – The Boat House, Canberra

Best Listing of Australian Wines – Bennelong, Sydney

Best Listing of ACT Wines – The Boat House, Canberra

Best Listing of NSW Wines – The Newcastle Club, Newcastle

Best Listing of QLD Wines – Cru Bar + Cellar, Brisbane

Best Listing of SA Wines – 2KW Bar & Restaurant, Adelaide

Best Listing of TAS Wines – Terrace Kitchen, Launceston

Best Listing of VIC Wines – Point Leo Estate, Merricks, Victoria

Best Listing of WA Wines – Shorehouse, Perth

Gourmet Traveller Wine Readers’ Choice – Mitchell Harris Wines, Ballarat

Sommeliers’ Choice Award – bibo Wine Bar, Sydney

HALL OF FAME 2020:  The Hall of Fame is a prestigious list of establishments who have achieved the ultimate status – either by winning the Main Award once or the same State/Territory, Class of Trade or Category award three times.

NATIONAL WINNERS

Jonah’s, Whale Beach (2017)

Bentley Restaurant & Bar, Sydney (2015)

Lake House, Daylesford (2014)

Rockpool Bar & Grill, Perth (2014)

Pilu at Freshwater (2011)

Rockpool Bar & Grill, Melbourne (2010)

Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sydney (2009)

Aria, Sydney (2003)

INDIVIDUAL AWARD

David Lawler (2018)

Frank Moreau (2014)

STATE AND CATEGORY AWARDS

Apothecary 1878 – now Apoteca (Best SA) 2004, 2011, 2012

Barn Steakhouse (Best SA) 2013, 2017, 2019

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

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

Stillwater (Best TAS) 2016, 2017, 2018

Stone House (Best NT) 2017, 2018, 2019

Terrace Kitchen (Best TAS) 2008, 2009, 2019

Aria (Gourmet Traveller Wine Readers’ Choice) 2011, 2012, 2013

Botanical (Best Pub Restaurant List) 2012, 2013, 2014

Chiswick (Best Small List) 2015, 2017, 2018

Glass Brasserie (Best International Hotel List) 2008, 2009, 2010

Jonah’s (Best Hotel Restaurant List) 2015, 2016, 2017

Lake House (Best Country Restaurant List) 2008, 2010, 2013

Love, Tilly Devine (Best Wine Bar List) 2013, 2016, 2017

RACV City Club – now Members’ Dining Room (Best Club Restaurant List) 2013, 2014, 2015

Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sydney (Best Aperitif List) 2011, 2012, 2017

Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron (Best Club Restaurant List) 2003, 2004, 2008

Settlers Tavern (Best Listing of WA Wines) 2017, 2018, 2019

Settlers Tavern (Best Pub Restaurant List) 2009, 2010, 2011

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