On September 24, we celebrated the best wine lists in Norway and the teams behind them for the fourth time, together with Norges Beste Vinkart. Park Hotel Vossevangen was the big winner, with Gold Stars in four categories.
”Looking at various Norwegian wine lists, it is clear how the clientele of these restaurants is up for a real treat. The depth, the variety and the passion the lists provide and reflect is something quite unique and goes to show what an exciting market Norway can be for anyone working in wine,” says jury member Heidi Mäkinen about the competition.
Norway was our second stop on our 2023-2024 International tour, and this was the fourth time we ran it in Norway. The event was a collaboration between Star Wine List, Norsk Vinkelnerforening and Kapital, and took place at Bristol Hotel in Oslo on Sunday September 24.
Here are all the winners!
(Norges Beste Vinkart)
– The best list overall
Park Hotel Vossevangen, Voss
”It felt surrealistic and quite emotional. Especially when it comes to the Grand Prix category, we lost that one last year and now we’ve been working so hard to hopefully win it back. So, mission accomplished, but at the same time it’s always a work in progress and we hope that our wine list will live for many years to come,” says Reidar Johansen, Wine Director at Park Hotel Vossevangen.
”Today we have a collection of around 50,000 bottles and over 7,000 different labels. We have built the cellar significantly during the last few years.”
Jury member Rune Rake says:
”The winner of the Grand Prix wine list has, over the past year, made a remarkable effort by adding 700 new labels to their selection, representing a purchase of a whopping 6,000 bottles. This massive expansion of the wine list not only showcases a clear commitment to broadening their offering but also a desire to enhance the quality and diversity for the restaurant's guests.”
Best Austrian Wine List
(Beste Østerrikske Vinkart)
– The best list with wines from Austria
The category is presented by Austrian Wine
”Lovely selection of Austrian wines. Starting from several quality sekts through diverse whites from benchmark producers in each historically important region up to some delicious red and sweet wines,” says jury member Piotr Pietras about the winning list.
Best Long List
(Beste Store Vinkart)
– For wine lists with more than 600 references
Park Hotel Vossevangen, Voss
”Every time I look at this list I am impressed about the sheer amount of work that has gone into crafting all of it together. Each subdivision of the list feels very focused and thus the list will provide excitement for both the lover of classics and someone keen to venture on new adventures,” says Heidi Mäkinen.
Best Medium-Sized Wine List
(Beste Medium Vinkart)
– Recognizes the best wine list with 200-600 references.
”It feels great, especially since it was the first time for this category in Norway. Medium-sized is really our thing, you need to curate it but you also can get some width,” says Oskar Sköld at Spontan.
”It is impressive to have such a variation and depth in a compact list. The winner shows not only a complete selection of classical and less classical regions, but as well an understanding of the importance of having a wide array of vintages. To offer a wide choice to everybody in this category is quite an achievement, and you can be sure that no matter your taste you will always find a wine here!” says jury member Francesco Marzola.
Best Short List
(Beste Lille Vinkart)
– Recognizes the best wine list with fewer than 200 listings.
Hot Shop, Oslo
”We didn’t expect this at all. It feels to great to win this prize, with so many talented colleagues in the competition. And we are really happy that Hot Shop is a place where most people can find something they want to drink,” says Restaurant Manager and Head Sommelier Erlend Lehland.
”Working with a short and compact wine list is the most challenging and perhaps exciting task for a passionate restaurant. To achieve the goal that is difficult to choose which bottle to order is as close to perfection as it can get in this category and I applaud the care and the effort put into this list to keep it interesting and diversify,” says Francesco Marzola.
Best Sparkling Wine List
(Beste Musserende Vinkart)
– Recognizes the best list with sparkling wines.
The category is presented by Nyetimber
”This is huge, and this is the reason we have been down in Champagne working in the vineyards. Going forward, we’re going to keep on building the wine list, choosing the wines we like ourselves and following the philosophy that we have,” says Mauritz Teigen at Skigaarden.
”Surrounded by mountains and large hills, lies a seasonal restaurant with a heart for tradition. They feature a unique underground wine cellar with a focus on high quality wines. They offer a distinctive selection of sparkling wines and verticals of classic producers from the entire Champagne region. The jury highlights the location's focus on quality producers as well as the rich selection of older vintages in the assessment,” says jury member Ole Edvard Berg.
Best By the Glass List
(Beste Vinkart på Glass)
– Recognizes the best by the glass list.
The category is presented by Zwiesel Glas
Park Hotel Vossevangen, Voss
”We were the Norwegian finalist in the Best By the Glass List category, and we were a little disappointed that we didn’t win. So after that we decided to double the by-the-glass-offering, so since July we’ve had a bit over 400 wines by the glass,” says Robert Johansen at Park Hotel Vossevangen.
”Only a short drive from one of Norway's largest cities, we find a unique wine cellar in beautiful surroundings. The winner offers several hundred wines by the glass and the opportunity to taste classic top wines as well as lesser-known treasures from a number of vintages. The jury particularly highlights the wide selection, quantity, quality and depth covering both the old and new world in the assessment,” says Ole Edvard Berg.
Best California Wine List
(Beste California Vinkart)
– The best wine list with wines from California
The category is presented by DAOU
Park Hotel Vossevangen, Voss
”We have a cellar that in many ways represents the classics, but the last four or five years we’ve added more and more wines from other parts than Europe. USA has been a major focus, which shows in us winning the California category. We’ve also put a lot of focus on South Africa and a bit of South America and Oceania,” says Robert Johansen, Head Sommelier at Park Hotel Vossevangen.
”Very impressive California wine list. Complexity, depth, fantastic verticals in both white and red wine sections. Great selection and balance of classic and new-wave producers,” says the jury's Piotr Pietras.
Best Newcomer List
Hermetikken Vinbar, Stavanger
”It feels fantastic. We have been working hard to create a venue that can attract a lot of different people, and where you can have plenty of great wine experiences. We have a lot of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but we try to offer both classics and wine from many different parts of the world where great wine is made,” says Knut-Espen Miste at Hermetikken Vinbar.
”In a short time, Hermetikken Vinbar has built up an impressive wine list with a clear focus on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In the intimate premises of the old industrial building, a wide selection of wines by the glass, a good range of classic regions as well as a solid selection of wines from the new world is offered. The jury particularly highlights the depth in classical regions as well as an impressive focus on quality in the assessment,” says Ole Edvard Berg.
Sustainable Wine List
(Beste Bærekraftige Vinkart)
– For the Sustainable Wine List category, not only the wine list is evaluated, but also the stated actions of the venue, as described through a questionnaire in the application
The category is presented by Weingut Wieninger and Weingut Hajszan Neumann
”This list shows how sustainability needs to be approached from various angles. It is not only listing wines that are made organically or regeneratively, but also constantly pursues to improve the ecological aspect of the products and their use, including packaging, transport and wastage,” says Heidi Mäkinen about Credo’s winning list.
Fellow jury member Rune Rake says this about Kontrast’s list:
”A ’sustainable wine list’ refers to a list featuring wines produced with sustainability in mind. This encompasses several aspects, such as wines produced using methods that reduce the carbon footprint, limit the use of chemicals, and protect the local ecosystem. Equally important is sourcing from wine producers who consider their workers' welfare, providing fair wages and working conditions. The shared winner, through the efforts of several skilled sommeliers, has managed to source sustainable wines free from flaws.”
”It was very unexpected really, since the finalists weren’t announced so we didn’t know we were competing. But we are focusing a lot on sustainability, not only when it comes to wine but also the food and everything else. Sustainability is really important to us, and we have been working very hard to find a way that is not only good to flavour but also for the environment,” says Thomas Venuto, Head Sommelier at Kontrast.
Best Cider List
(Beste Sider List)
Glime Restaurant, Øystese
"The winner is really an ambassador for cider, with not only a wide selection of the product, but as well a goal to teach the guests about it with pride, clear explanation and wide selection! The representation of different regions producing cider shows how much work and care is put into the construction of this list!" says jury member Francesco Marzola about the winning list.
Christer Økland, Food and Beverage Director at Glime, says:
”We did not expect this, it was just so great to be nominated. We feel very happy.”
The People’s Favourite
Smak og Behag
The jury for the event was filled with top wine professionals:
• Francesco Marzola
• Rune Rake
• Ole Edvard Berg
• Heidi Mäkinen MW
• Piotr Pietras MS
The criteria for the jury are straightforward but not simple: Vote for the most exciting wine list representing the category.
The winners in the international categories will qualify for our International Final in June 2024, where they will face off with the category winners from other countries and continents.
Premium - turning into Pro
English sparkling producer Nyetimber is the leading producer of sparkling wine in the country.
Weingut Wieninger & Weingut Hajszan Neumann
The Austrian Wine Marketing Board is based in Vienna, and is a national service body for the Austrian wine industry. The aim is to strategically support, coordinate and maintain quality and sales.