World’s best sommeliers won over by Australian wine

13 Apr 2017
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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 (excluding sparkling wine) 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 Williams-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.

See the sommeliers in Australia here.


Some of the visiting sommeliers included:

  • Joo Lee, Sommelier from Eleven Madison Park in New York (ranked number 1 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017)
  • Seamus Williams-Sharkey, Head Sommelier at The Ledbury in London (ranked number 27 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017)
  • Vladimir Kojic, Head Sommelier, Gaggan in Bangkok, (ranked number 1 in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 and number 7 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017)
  • John Schafer, General Manager, Alinea Restaurant in Chicago (ranked number 21 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017)
  • Guillermo Cruz, Head Sommelier Mugaritz Restaurant in San Sebastián (ranked number 7 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017)
  • Pathompong ‘Tui’ Wangmanao, Sommelier, Nahm in Bangkok (ranked number 28 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017)
  • Fahara Zamorano, Head Sommelier at Gwen in Los Angeles
  • Hiroshi Ishida, Sommelier at Restaurant L’aube in Yokohama, Japan

How The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list is compiled

The list is created from the votes of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of more than 1000 international leaders in the restaurant community. The panel in each region is made up of food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and highly regarded ‘gastronomes’. Members list their choices in order of preference, based on their best restaurant experiences of the previous 18 months. There is no pre-determined check-list of criteria, but there are strict voting rules.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list is independently adjudicated by professional services consultancy Deloitte. This adjudication ensures that the integrity and authenticity of the voting process and the resulting list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 are protected.

To see more details on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants voting process, visit


For media enquiries please contact

Charmaine Glase – Wine Australia
Senior Communications Manager
Phone: 08 8228 2032
Mobile: +61 409 859 960