A Geelong wine bar is one of four venues named Australia’s Best by the 2020 Wineslinger Awards

A Geelong wine bar is one of four venues named Australia’s Best by the 2020 Wineslinger Awards

Union Street Wine has been named Australia's favourite.

Finding a top-notch wine bar in the country that fits your desires is about as hard as finding your favourite wine in the bottle-o with your eyes closed. Luckily there are people out there who have been willing to do all the hard work for us, pulling together a list of the greatest wine bars in the country.

The Wineslinger Awards — which announced its top 50 venues for 2020 back in August – has now revealed its picks for the best four wine venues in the country in an awards ceremony held on Monday night. Created in 2018 by Rory Kent, who also founded the Young Gun of Wine Awards, The Wineslinger Awards are all about recognising and encouraging the country’s most excellent and innovative places where vino lovers can enjoy an ace drop, while also acting as the ultimate wine guru’s guide.

Having previously been named in the Top 50 Australian venues to drink wine in earlier this year, Geelong’s very own wine haunt, Union Street Wine has being crowned the People’s Choice winner, as decided by the public via online voting.

Located down one of the great regional cities alleyways, Union Street Wine has become a retreat for local wine lovers since opening in early 2014. Tucked behind an industrial-looking roller door, the dynamic duo Andy Leigh and Lewis Phiddian have curated an extensive new and interesting wine, beer and spirit offering within a comfortable French-inspired space, orchestrating the perfect balance of expertise and affable hospitality. Whether you’re after a refreshing rosé to a hearty red or a crisp white, this local favourite offers a taste sensation for every palate and occasion.

“It’s been such a tough year for everyone and hospitality in particular and to named in the Top 50 with venues of such high calibre was enough for us. It’s so great for Geelong too – we love being here, we love the people and we’re so stoked to have won this award,” says Union Street Wine Owner Andy Leigh.

Alongside Union Street Wine, venues in Melbourne, Adelaide, and Brisbane were also recognised as home to one of 2020’s top vino venues in Australia.

Taking out the top award, Melbourne’s Carlton Wine Room was named the 2020 Wineslinger. After
being closed for almost seven months it was a welcome win for the trio of Andrew Joy (front of house), Travis Howe (sommelier) and John Paul Twomey (chef) who opened the venue in early 2018 and are blurring the lines between wine bar and restaurant to serve up Australia’s best wine experience in a cool, unpretentious environment.

Best New Haunt was awarded to Adelaide’s Leigh Street Wine Room. A temple of natural wine, Leigh
Street Wine Room has made an immediate impression on the national Wineslinger panel of industry experts
and announced itself as one of Australia’s best wine venues within just over a year of opening, with a 400-plus strong wine list and some of Adelaide’s best food.

Rounding out the awards, Brisbane’s Snack Man took home the Maverick trophy as the venue pushing the boundaries of possibility for 2020. Snack Man serves up a tricky-to-match Chinese snacks with European wine gems, and they debunk wine and food pairing conventions. There’s a cellar of around 300 ‘unlisted’ wines at Snack Man, which guests have got to chat to the bar staff about in order to order – so patrons have to engage. The Snack Man wine bar goes hand-in-hand with their Happy Boy restaurant next door, which has a dedication to showcasing emerging Australian producers, with winemaker ‘takeover’ nights, and perhaps the most exciting lineup of house wines in Australia. The Snack Man and Happy Boy experience is a knockout one-two combination, full of thrills and discovery. Definitely one to put on your list for those trips to Brisbane when interstate travel resumes.

Acknowledging the hardships that the hospitality industry has faced in 2020, Wineslinger partnered with hospitality relief fund TipJar this year, with Young Gun of Wine donating over $2,500, as well as encouraging others to support TipJar – helping raise over $25,000 – to support those in the industry who need it most.

For the first time, each Wineslinger trophy winner received two immersive wine experiences, one hosted by Mike Aylward at Ocean Eight in Victoria and one hosted by Prue, Stephen and Justine Henschke with Henschke Wines in South Australia to give back to each venue team.

To see all the winners from the 2020 Wineslinger Awards, head to the website.

The 2020 Wineslinger Awards are brought together with thanks to partners Cullen Wines, Henschke,
Liebherr, Ocean Eight, Studio Round, Tahbilk and Young Gun of Wine.