We are proud to add two new top names as our local judges for Star Wine List Awards Australia, held with Gourmet Traveller WINE in November: Jacqueline Turner and Andrea Pritzker MW. And, since a lot of venues are busy reopening in Australia and to allow all interested sommeliers to participate, we are pushing the Australian deadline one week, as well as the celebration.
“It will be exciting to shine a spotlight on the exceptional work of sommeliers across Australia, particularly after such a difficult couple of years in hospitality,” says Andrea Pritzker.
“One of my favourite pastimes is creeping on wine lists like a nerd. How have they set out the list, how is it priced compared to the wider market, who is the audience, how will they sell that weird wine?! Becoming a jury member is a dream gig. Now I have a legit reason to spend more time on this exercise,” says Jacqueline Turner.
Andrea Pritzker is based in Sydney, where she runs a wine education and corporate event business called Wine inTuition. She also does quite a bit of consultancy, wine judging, and she is also involved in the Master of Wine education program. Now, she is also joining the Len Evans Tutorial, a once-in-a-lifetime scholarship for Australian-based wine professionals.
“Started by the late Len Evans AO OBE, it is designed to inspire and educate future wine industry leaders. It's been on my radar since I arrived in Australia in 2003, so I'm really excited to be joining the intake for 2022. I'm looking forward to learning a lot and tasting some exceptional wines alongside eleven other top wine professionals,” she says.
Jacqueline Turner, also based in Sydney, has worked on all fronts in wine for the past 13 years, both in Sydney and Melbourne – fine wine retail, sommelier, buyer, wine event management, educator, scribe and mentor. Earlier this year, she took a step back from a Head Sommelier role at Chin Chin in Sydney.
“It has opened up my career to many glorious opportunities: Sales for Mac Forbes wines, consulting to new venues opening as soon as we are out of lockdown, Sommelier at Margaret restaurant, writing offers for World Wine Estates and very recently appointed Treasurer of Women and Revolution (WaR).”
Women and Revolution, where Star Wine List’s Sydney ambassador Bridget Raffal is president, is today a nationwide collective of women in hospitality and people working for the country’s biggest retailers and distributors.
“It represents and connects women across all sectors of the wine industry and is aimed at improving gender equality. Women and Revolution began with a dinner in the backyard of one of the founders, and the calibre of women in attendance and their stories of navigating the wine world made us all sit up and realise we had some work to do. The word got out, and with a few more events, the numbers of interested women climbed dramatically, we had outgrown our verandahs and small wine bars. Women and Revolution offers education, coaching, networking and events. Check it out!” says Jacqueline.
Andrea Pritzker and Jacqueline Turner now join four of the world’s best sommeliers in the jury for the first-ever Star Wine List Awards Australia, with Gourmet Traveller WINE.
“I'm very honoured and excited to join the jury for Star Wine List in Australia. It's a fantastic opportunity to judge with a renowned group of top sommeliers from around the world. I'm looking forward to reading through some superb wine lists. It will be exciting to shine a spotlight on the exceptional work of sommeliers across Australia, particularly after such a difficult couple of years in hospitality,” says Andrea Pritzker.
WHAT IS A GREAT WINE LIST, IN YOUR OPINION?
Jacqueline Turner: “It's all about balance. How does it speak to their audience? How is it connected to the food, the lighting, the sounds, the architecture and design? I constantly reference great music, food, art, thinking about the purpose of the venue and how it tells a story. Ultimately, I hope to see the Sommeliers voice on the page.”
“Finally, is there support on the floor to deliver the offering? There isn't any point in having a silly expensive or obscure wine list with no presence on the floor to extend the last crucial point of hospitality before you take my hard-earned money.”
Andrea Pritzker: “A great wine list should be well-organised, thoughtfully presented and a pleasure to browse. For me, it's important that a list is carefully selected with a mix of classics that offer familiarity and reassurance and lesser-known wines that encourage adventure-seeking. A strong and diverse selection of wines by the glass is also really vital.”
The wine scene in Australia has never been more exciting. There is a lot of innovation happening at the moment among Australian producers
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ABOUT THE WINE SCENE IN AUSTRALIA IN GENERAL, AND YOUR HOME CITY SYDNEY IN PARTICULAR?
Andrea Pritzker: “The wine scene in Australia has never been more exciting. There is a lot of innovation happening at the moment among Australian producers. Overall, there is a trend towards lighter, fresher styles that are more food-friendly and have less reliance on oak. Many producers are experimenting with grape varieties originating from Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece, and there are a lot of avant-garde styles being made, including natural and orange wines and wines matured under flor.”
“At the same time, there is an ever-increasing selection of high-quality imported wine from around the world being brought into the country, adding to the choice for wine lovers. The wine scene in Sydney has really evolved over the past few years, with many more small venues and wine bars popping up. With the recent lockdown in Sydney hopefully ending later this year, I think there will be a lot of excitement about hospitality reopening.”
Jacqueline Turner: “Sydney is a beautiful, bright and vibrant city for wine. The audience is varied across all age groups, well-travelled and inquisitive. If you are good at your craft, you can forge a voice and see a strong following emerge quickly. However, the wine trade community needs to start focusing on becoming far more inclusive. We need to see a more significant push for diverse voices to come up the ranks. Education and training need to be open to all and not shut off to those not working in the high positions of the industry.
ANYTHING YOU WANT TO ADD?
Jacqueline Turner: “A shout out to all the sommeliers in Australia: ENTER! This will be a great new platform to strengthen your voice and give you that extra motivation we all need right now.”
The last day to enter Star Wine List Awards Australia with Gourment Traveller WINE is on 10 October. The best wine lists in the country will be crowned on 8 November, with Gourmet Traveller WINE. Read more about the competition and how to enter here!