Simone Madden-Grey
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Australia’s best wine lists for 2016

Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards took place this week at Luke Mangan’s Glass Restaurant and Bar in Sydney.

AWLOTYA Logo photo 1This year’s ceremonies mark the 22nd anniversary for this prestigious event, which aims to reward the best wine lists and the individual who create them, from across the country.

The state of Victoria has previously dominated the awards but 2016 heralded a change as the tiny South Australian restaurant Ferment Asian in Tanunda took top honours. Sommelier Grant Dickson also received the Judy Hirst Award in recognition of his exceptional skills in crafting the wine list at fermentAsian.

With a focus on Modern Southeast Asian Cuisine the restaurant’s winelist has “struck a chord with the judges (domestically and Internationally), perhaps in much the same way that it has charmed those who have flocked to this restaurant in the small Barossa village of Tanunda over the past five years”, commented Chairman of Judges, Peter Forrestal.

To judge the awards a panel of top sommeliers and industry members were assembled, lead by wine writer and commentator Peter Forrestal and including Brian Julyan MS, founder of The Court of Master Sommeliers and CEO Europe, past World’s Best Sommelier – Gerard Basset OBE, MS, MW, MBA, Cameron Douglas MS, Toni Paterson MW, James Lawther MW and Andrew Caillard MW, together with leading wine writers and commentators Jeni Port, Mike Bennie, Huon Hooke, Peter Bourne, Sophie Otton and Louise Radman.

President of Sommeliers Australia, Mark Protheroe also joined the judging panel this year alongside last year’s winner of the Judy Hirst Award, Nick Hildebrandt.

State/Territory honours in this year’s awards went to Rubicon (ACT) and fermentAsian (SA) for the third time; Jonah’s (NSW) and Lalla Rookh Wine Store (WA) for the second time; and the Botanical (Vic), Stokehouse Q (Qld) and Stillwater (Tasmania) for the first time. A full run down of the night’s winners can be found here on the Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards website.

This year’s awards reflect a growing sophistication across the Australian dining scene and 2016 marks a record number of entries from clubs, pubs, hotels and wine bars who went on to achieve either a two or three glass rating.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of heading out for night in Australia is the excellent wine by the glass selection on offer across numerous venues. Rob Hirst, Chairman of Fine Wine Partners and Founder of Australia’s wine List of the Year Awards noted, “the most popular award category remains Best Wine By the Glass – the perfect vehicle for introducing premium wines to the consumer, followed by Best Matching of Food and Wine – reflecting the even closer liaison now occurring between sommeliers and chefs”.

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