Words by YGOW.
Images by James Morgan.
It’s official. On Monday 28th October, the 2019 Wineslinger Awards were announced at Matilda, in South Yarra. In classic Young Gun of Wine style, the MCs, Nick Stock and Pat Nourse, revealed the winners of the nationwide search for the best wine haunts across Australia right now.
Voted on by a panel of 100 wine and hospitality experts – comprised in equal parts of winemakers, sommeliers and journalists – the awards celebrate the best venues to engage with the exciting world of wine, and to have fun while doing it.
“The wine landscape has changed so much in recent years, becoming more and more dynamic – from the products available to the places in which to discover and enjoy wine. This year’s Top 50 list demonstrated that diversity and colour: from a knockabout Aussie pub, which is this country’s largest account for Krug Champagne, where it’s drunk out of butcher glasses; to an underground haunt where you blend 1950s nightclub fine dining with rock n roll ethos; to places that blur the lines between restaurant and bar; from CBD hole-in-the-wall laneway venues to regional locations that have some of the best wine lists around. But the common thread with all the Top 50 venues is a shared sense of fun and adventure when it comes to wine,” said Young Gun of Wine founder Rory Kent.
The big gun, the Wineslinger for 2019 is Sydney’s 10 William St. “Our panel …chose Sydney’s 10 William St as their number one Wineslinger in Australia. For good reason too, as 10 William St has been a leader in this domain: offering exceptional food in a relaxed setting, with a banging wine list that offers a sense of discovery to even the most well-versed wine lover,” remarked Kent.
Pat Nourse, Michela Lubbers (Fred’s), Andy Ainsworth (10 William St), Nick Stock. Photo by James Morgan.
The Best New Haunt went to Perth’s Wines of While. “Wines of While have brought natural wine to Perth, with an admirably strict level of adherence to a definition of the term ‘natural wine’, which can be so loosely used. Only open for a little more than a year, they have made quite an impression, and won the most votes from our 100-strong panel of any venue under two years of age, thus making them the ‘Best New Haunt’,” said Kent.
The Maverick, which recognises a venue pushing the boundaries of possibility, went to Byron Bay firebrand Supernatural Cellars. “They’ve had the gumption to go and set up a business in a regional location – and yet from the start the response was, why didn’t anyone do this sooner! That’s a sign that they’re onto something. They don’t employ sommeliers and shun winespeak for relatable language. They have no cutlery – people eat with their hands. They don’t offer cocktails – just wines, and there are about two beers on the list. They’ve got a strong wine concept that favours organic and biodynamic farming, but they’re not dogmatic about winemakers being completely hands-free in the winery, as wines left to raise themselves can sometimes turn nasty! Supernatural are pushing the boundaries, challenging the status quo, remaking and reshaping things, and that’s why we’ve named them the ‘Maverick’,” said Kent.
Peter Windrim of Supernatural Cellars. Photo by James Morgan.
The People’s Choice was taken out by Settlers Tavern. “With the ‘People’s Choice’, it’s so exciting to see that Settlers Tavern has won the hearts, minds and votes of the wine-loving public, as they’re such a unique destination – a place that is so fun and laid-back, but with such a seriously deep wine offering. You can get a parma, see a band and drink some of the finest wine from around the world, or discover a new local micro-producer. They’re a great pin-up for this award. Makes you want to jump on a plane and get to Margaret River just for Settlers Tavern – and on that, following Harvest Newrybar’s win last year, it’s great to see another regional location take the People’s Choice home,” Kent commented.
And that’s a wrap for the 2019 awards. You can find profiles on all the winners, plus the whole 2019 top 50 on the website.