Here Are The Restaurants With The Best Wine Lists In Australia

Gourmet Traveller Wine editor Judy Sarris with the winning sommeliers, Stacey-Lee Edwards from Lake House and Ian Baverstock from Rockpool Bar & Grill, Perth, with Fine Wine Partners chairman Rob Hirst

If you like a drink with dinner, the annual Australia’s Wine List of the Year awards, announced this week, are a good guide to where to find the right drop.

For the first time in its 20-year history, the wine list of the year award had joint winners: the Lake House in the Victorian country town of Daylesford, alongside Perth’s Rockpool Bar & Grill. The Western Australian restaurant’s wines comes just weeks after it was named on of the World’s Best Wine Lists.

Sommeliers Stacey-Lee Edwards at the Lake House and Ian Baverstock of Perth’s Rockpool Bar & Grill, Perth, received the Judy Hirst Award for the professionalism for their roles in developing the winning lists.

A 30-member international jury assessed the seven finalists and chairman of judges Peter Forrestal said that just four points separated the top 3 lists with the scores from just three more judges waiting to be counted, before Lake House and Rockpool Bar & Grill Perth tied.

The state winners were as follows:

NSW: Bentley Restaurant & Bar, Sydney
Victoria: Lake House, Daylesford
ACT: Aubergine, Canberra
Queensland: Aria, Brisbane
South Australia: fermentAsian, Barossa Valley
Tasmania: The Source at MONA, Hobart
WA: Rockpool Bar & Grill, Perth
Northern Territory: Char Restaurant, Darwin

Matt Moran’s Brisbane restaurant, Aria, was also recognised for the best range of Australian wines, while his Sydney restaurant Chiswick received the award for best wine list under 100 bins.

The major category winners were mostly divided between NSW and Victoria, with a funky new wine bar in Port Melbourne, Harry & Frankie, taking out two awards: Best Wine Bar List and the Tony Hitchin Best New List, while a small Vietnamese-style restaurant in the Barossa Valley town of Tanunda, fermentAsian, won best country restaurant list.

Grant Dickson, who co-wons fermentAsian with his chef wife, Tuoi Do, is a musician and former Rockford Wines manager, has compiled an extraordinary list of excellent value Australian and European wines with extensive notes. Sepia in Sydney was also a dual winner, taking out best wines by the glass and digestif awards

The category winners are:

Best city restaurant list: Rockpool Bar & Grill, Perth
Country restaurant list: fermentAsian, Tanunda, SA
Club restaurant list: RACV City Club, Melbourne
Hotel restaurant list: The Century, Sydney
Pub restaurant list: The Botanical, Melbourne
Wine bar list & Best new list: Harry & Frankie, Melbourne
Small list (50 wines) – Merricote, Melbourne
Small list (100 wines) – Chiswick, Sydney
Best listing of a region’s wines: Quince Dining, Healesville Hotel, Vic
Food and wine matching list: Dandelion, Melbourne
Best wines by the glass: Sepia, Sydney
Beer list: Vue Grand, Queenscliff, Victoria
Aperitif list: Sepia, Sydney
Digestif list: Print Hall, Perth
Best listing of Australian wines: Aria, Brisbane
Gourmet Traveller Wine Readers’ Choice: Glass, Sydney

There were more than 370 entries in this year’s awards with around one-quarter, 94, receiving the top, 3-glass rating, while 149 were awarded 2 glasses and 121, one glass.

There was also a new Hall of Fame award introduced to recognise an outstanding individual contribution to education and the service of fine wine within the Australian hospitality industry. The group sommelier for the Sydney restaurant and hotel company Merivale, Franck Moreau, is the inaugural recipient.

The full list of winners is here.

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