Sydney seafood fine diner Cirrus has been awarded the 2023 Australian Wine List of the Year at the annual Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards ceremony, which was held in the Ovolo in Woolloomooloo on Monday night. It’s the second time Bentley Restaurant Group – which owns Cirrus along with Bentley, Monopole, Yellow and Brasserie 1930, and is renowned for its wine program – has taken out the top prize in the past decade; Bentley (the restaurant) received the honour in 2015.
Cirrus sommeliers Polly Mackarel and Nick Hildebrandt (also Bentley Restaurant Group co-owner) were given the Judy Hirst Award, which is presented to the sommeliers behind the winning wine list. (The award is named in memory of the late Judy Hirst, who helped establish and run the awards.)
Cirrus was also bestowed the Best Wine List in NSW and Australia’s Best Restaurant Wine List – City awards, while Bentley took out the Best Aperitif List. Sydney’s Mr Wong, Woodcut and Bennelong were all finalists, as were Melbourne’s Cutler & Co and Gimlet at Cavendish House – the latter was announced the winner of the Best Wine List Victoria.
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Other state winners included ACT’s Italian & Sons, Queensland’s Agnes (which was also awarded best digestif list), South Australia’s Restaurant Botanic (also awarded Australia’s Best Wine List (200 Wines)), Tasmania’s Peppina and The Shorehouse in Western Australia.
Meanwhile, awards in other categories offer a helpful guide if you’re seeking out a specific tipple.
Perth’s Rockpool Bar & Grill was awarded the best list of by-the-glass options, while Melbourne’s Amaru is apparently the place to go for Australia’s best food and wine pairing. For champagne, head to Sydney’s waterfront fine diner Quay, and for sparkling wine more generally, add Brisbane’s Cru Bar & Cellar to your hit list.
Off the booze? Bells at Killcare, on New South Wales’s Central Coast, was awarded Australia’s Best Non-Alcoholic List.
If you prefer your drinking to be more rice-based, Melbourne’s Leonie Upstairs took out Australia’s Best Sake List. And beer-lovers should head to Bunbury in Western Australia, where Mojo’s Kitchen & Bar is pouring from Australia’s Best Beer List. In Sydney’s north-west, Italian restaurant Sarino’s was selected as having Australia’s Best Cocktail List. Beyond restaurants, Sydney’s Where’s Nick was awarded Australia’s Best Wine Bar List.
The awards are judged by a 32-strong panel of sommeliers and wine writers, including writers Peter Forrestal, Jeni Port and Toni Paterson; founder of the Court of Master Sommeliers Brian Julyan; four Australian master sommeliers and seven masters of wine.
Find the full suite of winners, as well as results and reviews here.