NSW Wine Industry Association launched the 2021 NSW Sommelier’s Wine List Awards last week to recognise leading sommeliers/beverage managers and venues that are championing the quality and diversity of local NSW wines.

The awards have taken on a new look this year, including an award category specifically for hotel sommeliers/beverage managers wine lists for first time. The 2021 winners will be announced at an event at Government House in Sydney, hosted by the Governor of New South Wales, Margaret Beazley, on 24 May.

NSW Wine Industry Association President Mark Bourne said: “In these challenging times it is more important than ever that all sectors of hospitality work together. NSW has an exceptional selection of wines, from a diversity of regions and climates, that are created by passionate and driven people across the State.

“The NSW Sommelier’s Wine List Awards celebrates those sommeliers and restaurant venues that work with local wine producers to create memorable NSW dine and wine experiences.

“The awards are a recognition of those leading sommeliers/beverage managers and venues that are championing the quality and diversity of local NSW wines, and also may provide some guidance, inspiration and demonstration of the benefits of showcasing premium local NSW wines.”

The awards will be independently judged by general manager and head of reviewing Australia for Gault&Millau, Dane Richards; Japan’s first Master of Wine, Ned Goodwin; and managing director Riedel Spiegelau Nachtmann Australia, Mark Baulderstone.

Bourne continued: “We have just this week received the latest wine list research, which shows that wines made in NSW hold only 11 per cent of listings within restaurants and bars in NSW. This shows there is still plenty of opportunity for growth and it is critical for the sustainable future of all our industries that we support and work with each other.

“Obviously, we would like to see as many NSW wine lists as possible listing a majority of local NSW wines. And additionally, for NSW restaurants to aspire to follow the lead of NSW Government House and the ICC Sydney – who both host local, national and international customers and dignitaries all year – and who both successfully serve 100 per cent NSW wines with confidence, pride and to resounding compliments.”

As well as the new look, there have been a few other changes to the awards since the inaugural awards in 2019. Entry is still free, via a simple online form, but this year there will be submission categories for wine lists from hotel accommodation venues, as well as restaurants, gastro pubs and wine bars.

Anywhere that has a wine list now has a chance to be crowned a ‘NSW Wine Star’ and go on to possibly win one of the seven ‘2021 NSW Sommelier’s Wine List of the Year’ titles on offer.

Bourne said more NSW venues should stock NSW wine because of the rich history history and variety to choose from.

He explained: “NSW is the first state of wine in Australia with a history and pedigree of fine wines since 1828, and also has the most diverse range of regions and climates that produce a range of wines suitable for all palates and occasions. Increasingly and importantly, customers want to experience and immerse themselves not only in the local surroundings and dining venue, but also locally sourced wine and produce.

“The annual NSW Wine Awards announced every October are a great first stop for any sommelier to find the right NSW wine and right NSW region to complement their menu and suit their customers.”

Along with a trophy and promotional opportunities, some great prizes are also available, including automatic entry into Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards, exclusive food and wine trips to some of NSW’s best wine regions, invaluable advice on the creation of the right digital systems and design for your business, some of Australia’s best wine logistic solutions and some cutting-edge wine service equipment and premium wine glasses (individually selected for your venue), making these awards a must enter event for any sommelier and restaurant.

Entry for the 2021 NSW Sommelier’s Wine List Awards will finish on April 11, 2021.

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