We’re here to help people discover the joy of wine. Just as we lead people to exciting and quality wines through the winemaker awards, we want to lead people to places where they can have a fun wine experience… Because products and places are both fundamental pieces in the joy of wine.

So now, in our 12th year, we are launching WINESLINGER, an award that searches for, showcases and celebrates Australia’s best wine venues.


Wineslinger is an awards program by Young Gun of Wine, created to lead people to places around Australia where people can enjoy a glass of wine, whilst at the same time encouraging the creativity and excellence in this environment.

It is determined by a large cross section of Australia’s leading wine professionals (panellists listed below).

The results of the voting process has delivered a national Top 50 list of venues, which is then presented to the public for their say on who wins the People’s Choice award.

The criteria

The panellists (listed below) were asked to consider the following when voting:

  • There are existing awards for sommeliers and wine lists, and this award does not focus on a specific element such as these. It is not about one component such as food and wine matching, but the whole experience. What draws us all to the places we like to drink is really the sum of the parts.
  • This is award foremost about “enjoyment” and thus the first question is, what are your favourite venues where wine is the hero?
  • We are looking for venues that are defined by, and most represent: approachability, energy and adventure.
  • Proximity to the venue is not to come into consideration. This isn’t an award about convenience. Panel members are urged to think far and wide.
  • This award is only for venues where someone can comfortably pop in for a glass of wine, irrespective of the food offering.
  • This award is an opportunity to single out those special places created and delivered with originality, commitment and quality.
Terms & process:

Panellists were invited to vote, and  the results are determined, within the following framework:

  • Panellists ranked their favourite venues right around Australia.
  • Cellar door venues and restaurants with degustation-only offerings were not in consideration.
  • Panellists were to only vote on venues that they had visited within the last 12 months.
  • Panellists could not vote on their own venues, or venues where they had a conflict of interest.
  • The top 50 venues were determined through the voting results and by the Wineslinger editorial directors Nick Stock and Mike Bennie.
  • There are two trophies to be announced: one determined by the panelists’ votes; and the other, decided by the public via online voting.
Who has voted?

The panel of over 100 sommeliers, winemakers and trade leaders are listed below. “These panelists are selected for their know-how, their taste, and the fact that they are out and about visiting venues near and afar on a constant basis. They are chosen because they have a keen eye, a killer palate and they know a good time when they see one.” Editorial director, Nick Stock.

Adam Foster (Syrahmi), AJ Hoadley (La Violetta), Alex Head (Head Wines), Andrew Guard (Andrew Guard Wine Imports), Andrew Jamieson (Andrew Jamieson Wine Merchants), Andrew Marks (Wanderer), Andrew Smith (Veraison), Andrew Thomas (Thomas), Angus Vinden (Vinden Estate), Anthony D’Anna (Boccaccio Cellars), Belinda Thomson (Crawford River), Ben Mullen (Clyde Park), Brad Hickey (Brash Higgins), Bryan Martin (Ravensworth/Clonakilla), Caitlyn Rees (Fred’s, Merivale), Campbell Mattinson (The Wine Hunter), Cath Willcock (Imbibo), Celine Rousseau (Eden Road), Charlotte Hardy (Charlotte Dalton), Chris Carpenter (Lark Hill), Chris Crawford (Crown), Chris Morrison (This Is Not A Wine Guide), Chris Tyrrell (Tyrrells), Chris Walker (Cru Bar), Damian North (Journey Wines), Damon Koerner (Koerner), Dan Clark (Adley Clark Wines), Dan Wegener (Harvey Leighs), David Bowley (Vinteloper), David Brookes (Vinosense), David Stevens-Castro (Crowne Plaza), Emma Farrelly (State Buildings), Emma Ferguson (No Mafia), Evan Milne (Stock on Hand), Foni Pollitt (Mayfair Lane), Gabrielle Webster (Icebergs), Gill Gordon-Smith (Fall From Grace), Glen Robert (Bent Road), James Broadway (Enoteca), Jane Thomson (Fabulous Ladies Wine Society), Jayden Ong (La Maison De Ong / Cumulus), Jeremy Prus (Lalla Rookh), Jess Ho (Time Out), Jim Chatto (Chatto/Kreglinger), John Hughes (Rieslingfreak), John Pfister (ExCellar), John Retsas (First Drop), Josephine Perry (Dormilona), Julia Paussa (Coast), Justin Purser (Best’s Wines), Kate Morgan (Ipso Facto), Kerri Thompson (Wines by KT), Larry Cherubino (Larry Cherubino Wines), Laura Carter (Unico Zelo), Liam O’Brien (Cutler & Co / Athletes of Wine), Liina Jaumdally (2KW), Lisa Cardelli (Rockpool), Mac Forbes (Mac Forbes), Manu Potoi (Rockwell & Sons), Matt Swieboda (Love Tilley Devine), Melanie Chester (Sutton Grange), Michael Aylwayd (Ocean Eight), Michael Downer (Murdoch Hill), Mike De Iuliis (De Iuliis), Mike Hay (Symphony Hill Wines), Neville Pantazis (Parap Fine Foods), Nic Peterkin (L.A.S. Vino), Nick Spencer (Nick Spencer Wines), Penny Grant (Blackbird), Pete Dillon (Freelance), Peter Dredge (Meadowbank), Peter Rogers (Naked Bunch), Philip Rich (Lucas Group), Pip Anderson (MONA), Randall Pollard (Randall’s), Ray Costanzo (Golden Grove), Richard Van Ruth (Ootra), Richie Harkham (Harkham), Ricky Evans (Two Tonne Tasmania), Rollo Crittenden (Crittenden), Samantha Payne (Nomad), Sarah Andrew (House of Fine Wine), Sarah Hagan (Locale), Seb Crowther (Rockpool), Shanteh Wong (Quay), Shun Eto (QT), Sophie Otton (Le Pan magazine / Billy Kwong), Steven Crawford (Frederick Stevenson), Stuart Horden (Brokenwood), Stuart Knox (Fix St James), Stuart Olsen (Eloquestra), Sue Dyson & Roger McShane (Living Wines), Taras Ochota (Ochota Barrels), Terri Seeber (Boatshed Market), Tessa Brown (Vignerons Schmolzer & Brown), Tom Carson (Yabby Lake), Tom Ward (Swinging Bridge), Tony Harper (Craft Wine Store), Tony Richardson (Blackhearts & Sparrows), Tyson Stelzer (WinePress), Vanya Cullen (Cullen Wines), Virginia Willcock (Vasse Felix), Will Wager (The Collection Fine Wine), William Rikard-Bell (Rikard), Xanthe Freeman (Freeman Wines), Yoko Luscher-Mostert (Brave New Wine)

The Top 50 list.

Over 300 venues in Australia received votes from the panel, so there is certainly a great depth of esteemed venues around the country in 2018. The Top 50 list is made up of pubs, bars and restaurants, but what ties them together is an excellence in creating an environment where wine enjoyment is the hero. Most importantly, they are all venues with great approachability, energy and adventure.

Nick Stock, editorial director, sums up the results of the Top 50: “Australia offers one hell of a good time for wine lovers and there’s a high bar of quality in a national sense, married with a strong sense of identity and place wherever you go. That makes this list one very handy reference for both locals and visitors right across the country.”

The 2018 Top 50 list is announced May 28, and can be found via this link.