WHILE going fine dining in provincial areas of France and Italy I've invariably found restaurant wine lists dominated by wines from that particular region.
Sadly that's not the case in NSW restaurants in marked contrast to the intensely parochial wine lists in South Australia and Victoria.
The president of the NSW Wine Industry Association Mark Bourne recently pointed to research showing that NSW wines held only 11 per cent of listings within NSW restaurants and bars. To counter this imbalance the NSW Wine Industry Association in 2019 established the NSW Wine Stars Awards.
The competition is open to sommeliers, beverage managers or venues featuring NSW wines. Entries are open to the wine lists of clubs, hotels, restaurants, gastro pubs and wine bars.
Entries in the 2021 awards officially closed last week, but last-minute entries will be accepted this week. Entry is free and can be lodged on nswwine.com.au/nsw-sommeliers-wine-list-awards.
Organisers say there has been an excellent response from the Newcastle-Hunter and other regional areas.
Prizes include entry into the Australian Wine List of the Year Awards, food and wine trips to NSW regions, advice on digital wine and food business systems, wine service equipment and premium wine glass sets.
Entries will be judged by Dane Richards, the general manager and Australian head of reviewing for Gault and Millau food guide, Master of Wine Ned Goodwin and Mark Baulderstone, managing director of Riedel Spiegelau Nachtmann Australia. Results will be announced on May 24.
Mark Bourne says the Wine Stars awards were aimed at encouraging more NSW wines in wine lists and increasing awareness of the wines.
In the last competition in 2019 Harrison Plant of the EXP Restaurant, in Broke Road, Pokolbin, won the prize for the best wine list in a small restaurant.
Pete Cutcliffe and Jennifer Paquet from Bills Fishhouse at Port Macquarie were the overall Wine List of the Year winners and also took out the mid-large regional NSW venue.
The 2019 judges said Fishhouse had an exceptionally well thought-out list, with not only nearly 100 per cent of its wines from NSW but also an impressive range covering eight different wine regions, highlighting the "strong and exciting wine styles" from each region.
Among the wineries included on the Fishhouse wine list are Andrew Thomas, Bimbadgen, Audrey Wilkinson, Silkman, Hungerford Hill, Krinklewood, Collector, Nick O'Leary, Eden Road, Swinging Bridge, Moppity, M & J Becker, Sweetwater, Tyrrell's, Ballinaclash, Printhie, Piggs Peake, Cassegrain, De Iulliis, Comyns and Co, Freeman and Rowlee.