Calling All Vino Lovers: These Four Wine Venues Are Australia's Best According to 2023's Wineslinger Awards

Melbourne claimed two of the top four spots, with South Australian and Western Australian venues also earning some love.
Sarah Ward
December 15, 2023

Each year for six years now, Australia's annual Wineslinger Awards have named the country's top spots for ace drops, picking where you should be sipping and buying vino. There are two parts to its annual selections, starting with a longlist, then naming four winners. 2023's Top 55 arrived in November, so now it's time for the main gongs — aka the best of the best in Aussie wine venues.

Accordingly, Wineslinger isn't about vino itself, or bars in general. As the name makes plain, it's focused on watering holes that specialise in wine. The four prizes cover the best Wineslinger, Best New Haunt, the Maverick prize for places that push the limits and the People's Choice gong. While the first three awards are voted on by around 150 industry experts, the latter stems from vino aficionados at home.

a few tables of people drinking at marion on gertrude street - one of the best bars in Melbourne.

Roberto Pettinau

Melbourne boasts 2023's Wineslinger recipient, thanks to Marion in Fitzroy. The awards recognised the venue for laying "reasonable claim to capturing the essence of what are, somewhat inelegantly, known as 'barstaurants'," said the Young Gun of Wine team, which runs Wineslinger.

"Perhaps this pitching of wine and food in equal measure was not necessarily the intent, but having one of Melbourne's best-loved culinary sons orchestrating the food message was always going to draw crowds. Having said all that, with the shared resource of the flagship Cutler & Co, the wine offer has always been formidable, and deserving of just as much attention."

Marion took out the Wineslinger accolade after Sydney's Dear Sainte Éloise scored it in 2022, Melbourne's Embla nabbed it in 2021 and the Carlton Wine Room picked it up in 2020.

The Best New Haunt field also went to a Victorian venue, with Collingwood's Commis receiving the nod for a joint that the Young Gun of Wine crew described as "equal parts wine den, cocktail lounge, shared-plate bistro, chic art gallery and chilled neighbourhood hangout".

In the Maverick category, Silver Sands Beach Club in Aldinga in South Australia came out on top, earning some love for being "the type of wine clubhouse that will ideally serve the neighbouring McLaren Vale region and the Fleurieu Peninsula beach community, plus a steady stream of wine nerds making the pilgrimage south from Adelaide".

As for the People's Choice, Western Australian's The Corner Dairy in Doubleview took the honours. That means that no New South Wales, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory or Northern Territory sites made a showing in the four gongs, but all states and territories do feature on the full Top 55.

The Wineslinger Awards were created by Rory Kent, who also founded the Young Gun of Wine Awards. Where the latter prize aims to recognise stellar up-and-comers, the former is all about excellent and innovative places where vino lovers can enjoy an ace drop.

 

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WINESLINGER AWARDS 2023 WINNERS:

Wineslinger: Marion, Fitzroy, Victoria
Maverick: Silver Sands Beach Club, Aldinga, South Australia
Best New Haunt: Commis, Collingwood, Victoria
People's Choice: The Corner Dairy, Doubleview, Western Australia

WINESLINGER AWARDS 2023 TOP 50:

ACT
Bar Rochford, Canberra
Rizla, Braddon

NSW
10 William Street, Paddington
Bar Copains, Surry Hills
Bar Heather, Byron Bay
Bar Superette, Merimbula
Beau, Surry Hills
Bentley Restaurant & Bar, Sydney
Caravin, Potts Point
Dear Sainte Eloise, Potts Point
Fix Wine, Sydney
Le Foote, The Rocks
Lil Sis, Chippendale
P&V Merchants, Paddington
The Sir George Hotel, Jugiong
The Wine Library, Woollahra
Where's Nick, Marrickville

Nikki To.

NT
Stone House, Darwin

QLD
Agnes, Fortitude Valley
Alba Bar + Deli, Brisbane
Cru Bar + Cellar, Fortitude Valley
Paloma Wine Bar, Burleigh Heads
Snack Man, Fortitude Valley
The End, West End
Zero Fox, Teneriffe

SA
Alt. Wine Bar, Unley
Good Gilbert, Goodwood
Hellbound, Adelaide
Jennie Wine Bar, Adelaide
Loc Bottle Shop, Adelaide
Silver Sands Beach Club, Aldinga
Stanley Bridge Tavern, Verdun
Stem Bar & Restaurant, Adelaide
The Salopian Inn, McLaren Vale

a busy dining room full of guests and staff at Gimlet at Cavandish House - one of the best restaurants in Melbourne

Earl Carter

TAS
Havilah, Launceston
Lucinda, Hobart
Molto Bar and Cellar, Hobart

VIC
Bar Marenda, Daylesford
Carlton Wine Room, Carlton
City Wine Shop, Melbourne
Commis, Collingwood
Geralds Bar, Carlton North
Gimlet, Melbourne
Marion, Fitzroy
Osteria Illaria, Melbourne
Public Wine Shop, Fitzroy North
Torquay Wine Store, Torquay
Union Street Wine, Geelong
Winespeake, Daylesford

WA
Besk, West Leederville
Lalla Rookh, Perth
Mayfair Lane, West Perth
Mummucc', Wembley
The Corner Dairy, Perth
Wines of While, Perth

For more information about the Wineslinger Awards, visit the awards' website.

Top image: Marion, Harvard Wang.

Published on December 15, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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