The World's Best sommeliers are coming to Australia

Momofuku Las Vegas sommelier Richard Hargreaves

Momofuku Las Vegas sommelier Richard Hargreaves

The chefs are coming, and, for the first time, the sommeliers are coming with them. As the vanguard of the World's 50 Best Restaurants touches down ahead of the April 5 ceremony in Melbourne, a squad of top international sommeliers will be jetting in alongside the celebrity-dusted chefs for a wine-focused satellite program.

It's at the behest of World's 50 Best partner Wine Australia, which spotted an opportunity too good to miss.

"All these restaurants have a great food and wine story, and we want to acknowledge the importance of wine in helping to create the ultimate gastronomic experience," says Andreas Clark, CEO of Wine Australia. "It's the first time a sommelier program has run as a satellite to the World's 50 Best Restaurants and it's really a way of redressing the balance."

Related: What's on the menu the morning after the World's 50 Best Awards

On a more practical note, it's a rare opportunity to showcase Australian wine to 40 of the world's leading sommeliers, including Joo Lee from New York's Eleven Madison Park, Seamus Williams-Sharkey from London's The Ledbury, Guillermo Cruz from Mugaritz, and Pathompong 'Tui" Wangmanao from Bangkok's Nahm.

Not all come from the World's 50 Best pool: a panel of experts drew the net wider to include influential wine industry players from across Australia's key export markets.

"They're a really diverse group and have different interests depending on the philosophy of the restaurant they work in - whether it be formal fine dining, or edgy and sustainable. We've asked each sommelier what they want to discover more about Australian wine and it ranges from natural wine and new-wave winemakers to cool-climate and aged wines and the potential effects of climate change on wine production and regions," says Clark.

Related: Where's Melbourne's finest will take the World's Best

"Essentially this is an amazing opportunity to showcase Australian wine to the world. Our ultimate goal is to get more Australian wines on wine lists in the world's best restaurants." 

The 40, along with another 10 young Australian industry up-and-comers described by Wine Australia as "skilled, passionate and ones to watch", will participate in a 10-day program taking in Sydney and Melbourne, the Victorian wine regions and a choice of landmark wine regions across the country. Naturally enough, they will also attend the World's 50 Best awards at Melbourne's Royal Exhibition Building.

One of the Australian contingent, Louise Naimo of Melbourne's Ides, says she expects it to be a slightly daunting whirlwind, but all in a worthwhile cause. "It's all about feeling connected. We've got a really exciting culture now for pushing the boundaries - everyone knows there are great things happening in Australian wine, but it's all a bit removed. There's more passion for a product if you've met the producers."


Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
Drinking Australia's native ingredients
P&V Merchants opens in Sydney, stocking small-batch and hard-to-find booze
Four Pillars releases a new batch of its Australian Christmas Gin
Love, Tilly Devine’s new chapter
The World's 50 Best Bars 2017
Seedlip, a non-alcoholic distilled spirit, arrives in Australia
The Gourmet Traveller podcast

Each fortnight we round up the most interesting characters from the food world for your listening pleasure. We chat to chefs, cooks, authors, bar tenders and baristas - anyone who has something new and interesting to say about the way we like to eat and drink.

Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

You might also like...

Jennifer Hawkins Sesion tequila

Tequila is the new black. At least it is for Jennifer Hawkin...

Top drops: March 2017

From a floral bottle of English bubble to a tangy gin perfec...

Signature drink: Hains & Co's Crimson Mainsail

Don’t be fooled – this cocktail looks pretty but packs a pun...

Australian sour beers

Craft brewing in Australia is hitting a sour note, and that’...

Original Sin's Grande Bellezza

A fresh, bright Italian-accented sundowner.

Short restaurant wine lists

Small is the order of the day in restaurants, with tight win...

Mitch Monaghan, Nespresso

We caught up with Nespresso Australia and New Zealand coffee...

Signature Drink: The Baxter Inn’s Charlestown

Grab the mink and the fedora – this Baxter cocktail means bu...

Seedlip, a non-alcoholic distilled spirit, arrives in Australia

The question of what to drink when you’re not having a drink...

Game up your G&Ts with a Distiller’s Strength Gin

Is this the year of gin going where no botanicals have gone ...

Signature drinks

Thirty of our favourite drinks from Australia's best bars an...

Hot 100 2015 - Drinks

The world is getting hotter and we’re not talking about glob...

Mover, shaker

The best thing you can take to a party, according to cocktai...

Best Australian red wines for drinking now

Australians are getting a taste for thirst-quenching reds ma...

Champagne breakfast: a question of etiquette

Campari with your cornflakes? Whether booze is okay at break...