Restaurant Awards

Wine List of the Year 2019: the finalists

What does it take to be a finalist for our Wine List of the Year award? Plenty of choice, charming delivery and a dash of personality help - and these three restaurants have got the mix just right.

Franklin in Hobart is one of our finalists for Wine List of the Year 2019.
Franklin, Hobart, Tas

FRANKLIN, HOBART, TAS

There's no other wine offering quite like this anywhere else in Australia. Sure, plenty of places across the country feature natural wines on their lists, but none are quite as committed as Franklin. Recognising that not every diner is as obsessed with the natural scene as he is, wine guy Forbes Appleby offers layers of engagement: a two-page list that covers all wine styles (and another page with an excellent array of drinks other than wine) with some familiar names; then, if the customer shows an interest, there are more concise lists where the hardcore pet-nats and orange wines and unicorn bottles lurk. Go with the natural flow: dive into the adventure.

In short: Natural wine heaven.

GERALD'S BAR, MELBOURNE, VIC

Gerald's Bar
Gerald's Bar

It's just so much fun to drink here. The selections and presentation are deliciously quirky – a reflection of Gerald Diffey's personal tastes and longtime friendships with great winemakers rather than chasing fads. What's more, almost every bottle is listed with a glass price and customers are encouraged to select what will be offered by the glass for the rest of the evening. It's a wonderfully friendly policy that has long made Gerald's one of the most convivial watering holes in the country.

In short: Choose your own adventure.

BLACKBIRD, BRISBANE, QLD

Blackbird head sommelier Penny Grant and her team have worked hard on their list over the past couple of years: it was good before but now it sings. The very model of a modern Aussie wine list, it beams with local pride – a bold selection of native gins and cocktails; a page championing the top wines of Queensland's Granite Belt; the latest bottles from cutting-edge producers; back vintages of classic Australian labels – but is also thoroughly international in scope, offering everything from top Champagne to obscure Italians, many by the glass, most at fair mark-ups.

In short: A model mod-Oz list.

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