A wine list is more than just an inventory of the back cupboard—or at least it should be. A wine list can make or break the personality of a restaurant, and might just let you in on more secrets than you think. So how do you give an award to a whole list? Stewart White, the judge of this year’s NSW Wine List Awards for Excellence, revealed just how much can be gleaned from a wine list. “It’s a bit like being a psychologist and looking at inkblots,” he said.
The fierce competition was no match for the warmth of partnership promoted by these awards. Restaurant and Catering Association chief executive officer John Hart called the collaboration with the NSW Wine Industry Association a “partnership like the partnership between food and wine”.
The awards are a celebration of the relationships between NSW restaurants and winemakers, encouraging local restaurants to support other local businesses by “having NSW wines on the list in balance.”
The award ceremony was celebrated over a tasting to sate even Bacchus. Wines were procured from across NSW, teasing the palates as anticipation built. The rooms of the classically appointed Imperial Hotel in Paddington filled with golden afternoon light and a crowd ready to celebrate the restaurants around NSW with the best local pairings. As Hart said, “we know international visitors crave authentic local culinary experiences and this is a great way to reward those businesses that make it a core component of their operation.”
After a win the week before at the Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering HOSTPLUS Awards for Excellence, Quay took home another top spot winning the Restaurant Wine List—Extensive award. But the Best Metropolitan Wine List featuring NSW Wines award went deservedly to the day’s host. The day’s other winners include Squids Ink (Belmont) for informal Dining Restaurant—Small List; Katers Restaurant (Sutton Forest) for Restaurant in a Licensed Venue Wine List; and The Lookout at Echo Point, Katoomba for Best Regional Wine List featuring NSW Wines also receiving an honourable mention for Restaurant Wine List—Comprehensive.