Ten Minutes by Tractor emerges from the ashes to be awarded Australia’s Best Wine List

November 29, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

Ten Minutes by Tractor’s wine list has been awarded the 2021 Australia’s Wine List of the Year Award. The restaurant is also the recipient of the 2021 Best Country Restaurant List, and Best Victorian List with sommelier Xavier Vigier awarded the Judy Hirst Award.     

It is a true renaissance for the restaurant which was destroyed by fire in 2018. 

Owner Martin Spedding explained that the re-build and re-imagining of Ten Minutes by Tractor was a considered approach over two years with great support from suppliers and distributors. It is not a list made with a huge amount of money. Rather, said Mr Vigier, it is a list that is something special; that sits outside the boundaries and outside the cities.

He said, “We had a vision to create something unique; a unique experience. This award is the result of many, many years of work. I promise to keep pushing. It’s been a helluva ride.”

Chair of Judges Peter Forrestal said, “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 agreed: “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.”

Finalists for the top Award in 2021 were Bennelong, Bert’s Bar & Brasserie, Cirrus, all from Sydney, Cru Bar + Cellar Brisbane and Florentino, Melbourne.

In its 28th year, the winners of the 2021 Awards were announced online on Monday on the back of another year in which the Australian hospitality industry was tested to the limit.

Organisers say that the awards highlight the depth of talent, dedication, and the sheer commitment and tenacity, of so many sommeliers and owners around the country.

Peter Forrestal said, “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”.

The ‘Australia’s Choice Award’ was one of the new awards this year and run in association with QANTAS / Travel Insider. The winner for this year is Il Lido located on Cottesloe Beach in Perth.

Editor in Chief Kirsten Galliott said “It’s 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.”

Best Wine List (200 Wines) was also new to the presentation this year and was introduced to cater for the trimmed-down nature of post Covid wine lists. It was well-supported as were Best Wine List (100 Wines) and Best Wine List (50 Wines).

The numbers of entrants in 2021 was at an all-time high and a record number of 176 lists were awarded three glasses, up from just 157 last year.

Other highlights:

Queensland: 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.

David Lawler

New South Wales: 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.

Ishizuka: 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.

Aria: 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 List and 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.

Pilu: 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.

The Awards are chosen by a 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. International Chair Brian Julyan MS brough an international perspective to the awards.

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.

He said, “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.'”

____________________________________________________________

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

NATIONAL WINNER

  • Australia’s Wine List of The Year             Ten Minutes by Tractor
  • Judy Hirst Award                                       Xavier Vigier

STATE/TERRITORY WINNERS

  • Best Wine List NSW       Cirrus
  • Best Wine List VIC         Ten Minutes by Tractor
  • Best Wine List ACT        The Boat House
  • Best Wine List QLD        Otto, Brisbane
  • Best Wine List SA          Hardy’s Verandah
  • Best Wine List WA         Settlers Tavern
  • Best Wine List TAS        Fico

TYPE OF TRADE AWARD WINNERS       

  • Best City Restaurant Wine List: Cirrus, Sydney
  • Best Club Restaurant Wine List: Newcastle Club, New South Wales
  • Best Country Restaurant Wine List: Ten Minutes by Tractor, Victoria
  • Best Hotel Restaurant Wine List: Black Bar & Grill, Sydney
  • Best Pub Restaurant Wine List: Watervale Hotel, South Australia
  • Best Wine Bar List : Cru Bar + Cellar, Brisbane

CATEGORY AWARD WINNERS  

Fix Wine Bar + Restaurant Sommelier Stuart Knox
  • 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 St James (
  • 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
  • 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 NSW Wines: Charred Kitchen & Bar
  • Best Listing of Victorian Wines: Pt Leo Estate
  • Best Listing of ACT Wines: The Boat House
  • 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 Western Australian Wines: Wildflower
  • Best Wine List – Sommeliers’ Choice Award: Quay Restaurant
  • Best Wine List – Australia’s Choice Award: Il Lido
Ten Minutes by Tractor

AUSTRALIA’S WINE LIST OF THE YEAR AWARDS – 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   
  • Lake House (Best Country Restaurant) 2008, 2010, 2013
  • 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
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