By Triana O'Keefe, editor Australian Hotelier

It all started with the purchase of a craft brewery, so it’s no surprise that Colonial Leisure Group was quick to follow with a focus on expertly crafted wine lists across their venues.

Proving the case in point are South Yarra’s Botanical (pictured) and Perth’s Print Hall. Both have taken home numerous awards for their wine lists. For Print Hall, this includes winning the Gourmet Traveller WINE Australia Wine List of the Year Award (2013), the AHA-AON Hotel and Hospitality Awards for Excellence Best Wine List Award (2013, 2014), and the West Australian Good Food Guide Wine List of the Year (2015).

The Botanical in South Yarra also sees its wine list as integral to the experience of dining and the success of the venue, and has won Best Pub Restaurant Wine List in the Gourmet Traveller WINE Australia Wine List of the Year awards for three years running.

The key is having the best minds (and palates) in the business – Print Hall opened with one of Australia’s top sommeliers Daniel Wegener as director of beverage (who also took home multiple awards for Best Sommelier in his three years with the business).

The Print Hall wine list is now being overseen by Jean-Charles Mahe, a passionate rising star in the scene, who too, has been at Print Hall since it’s opening, working closely with Dan as senior assistant head sommelier. Hailing from a small town in Brittany, France, Jean-Charles has had many career highlights in a short space of time – including becoming Dux (2nd overall) in the highly-prized Australian Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS) exams in Sydney in 2013, and being named a finalist in the 2014 Sommeliers Australia Awards, placing him in the top 12 sommeliers in the country.

Print Hall’s most recent appointment is Carles Aymerich, in the role of head sommelier. Carles won the title of Best Sommelier of Spain in 2009, representing his country as one of 12 finalists the following year at the World’s Best Sommelier Competition. For the past seven years Carles has been head sommelier at El Cellar De Can Roca in Girona, Catalonia. El Cellar has just been named No. 1 for 2015 on the San Pellegrino and Aqua Panna Top 50 Restaurants of the World.

CLG’s wine experts excel because they live and breathe their profession. The Botanical’s sommelier Tim Bryar has no shortage of enthusiasm for the product and relishes the process of tasting and crafting the Bot’s wine lists. Tim says a profession in the area of wine offers endless variety.

“The pursuit of knowledge in the area can be never-ending. How could you get bored of wine?” Tim says.

CLG’s key wine people not only select the drops for venue beverage lists but also for Winestyle – a wine retailer operating online and out of the winestore onsite at The Botanical. Winestyle’s team of expert selectors is comprised of Melbourne wine industry expert Peter Marr, The Botanical’s head sommelier Tim Bryar and venue manager Peter Baker, and Print Hall director of beverage Jean-Charles Mahe. Together, their superb knowledge and supplier relationships result in the curation of an exceptional range of wine online that is available for purchase for the domestic cellar. It provides an outlet where customers can seek expert advice on their wine choices and experience the selections of top sommeliers in their own homes.

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The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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