More than 650 Australian wines were showcased to a group of 50 sommeliers from some of the world’s best restaurants and bars when they visited Australia last week as part of Wine Australia’s Somms of the World program, coinciding with The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017.
Hailing from the UK, US, Thailand, Japan, Spain, China, Korea, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia, the leading sommeliers were invited by Wine Australia to get to know our wine regions, experience the breadth and diversity of Australian wine and meet our winemakers.
This is the first time a wine program has been run in conjunction with The World’s 50 Best Restaurants event program, which hosts the world’s best chefs. As the official wine partner of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Wine Australia provided all the wines for the program of events and used the opportunity to create the Somms of the World satellite program to shine a light on Australia’s renowned wine and food offering.
The extensive wine program began in Sydney with the sommeliers participating in a master class introducing the history, evolution and revolution of Australian wine at Quay Restaurant. They travelled to Melbourne for the World’s 50 Best Restaurant awards, tastings and day trips to Victorian wine regions. The group also selected an interstate trip to visit wine regions in South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and ACT.
Wine Australia invited every wine region in Australia to submit wine to feature in the Somm Space, an informal lounge for the sommeliers to gather each day in Melbourne where they could try a diverse mix of Australian wines in a relaxed setting. The wines presented ranged from the classics and some of Australia’s most coveted and rare finds to experimental and new wave winemakers.
More than 2600 bottles of wine from 42 regions were tasted and enjoyed by the international sommeliers, chefs and media during the 10 day program.
Andreas Clark, CEO of Wine Australia said, ‘Experiencing the regions, the culture and building a connection with winemakers is so important for sommeliers who are selling the stories behind the wine in their restaurants. We have received fantastic feedback from the sommeliers already, with many saying they’ve never had so much exposure to so many different wines and regions on a visit. We hope this converts to a greater presence and more diversity of Australian wine in their restaurants.’
Seamus Sharkey, Head Sommelier at The Ledbury in London said, ‘I am already thinking about how I can bring in some producers that I tried in Australia which aren’t currently represented in the UK off the back of this trip.’
Fahara Zamorano, Sommelier at Curtis Stone’s restaurant, Gwen in LA said, ‘It’s exhilarating what’s going on here in Australia, it’s like a renaissance that’s happening right now; it’s inspiring.’
For a large number of the group it was the first time they had visited Australia. The sommeliers will become part of Wine Australia’s alumni program and will receive news and invitations to participate in Australian wine events in their markets.
About Wine Australia
Wine Australia supports a competitive wine sector by investing in research, development and extension (RD&E), growing domestic and international markets and protecting the reputation of Australian wine.
Wine Australia is funded by grapegrowers and winemakers through levies and user-pays charges and the Australian Government, which provides matching funding for RD&E investments.
Wine Australia is the trading name of the Australian Grape and Wine Authority, a Commonwealth statutory authority established under the Australian Grape and Wine Authority Act 2013.