South African restaurateurs can now submit their menus and wine lists for the 2017 Diners Club Winelist Awards. Diners Club kicks off another year celebrating restaurants that pride themselves with offering the best wine selection and pairing of food with wine.
The Winelist awards have been around for over two decades and last year revised its judging criteria to accommodate a varied category of eateries. The revised judging criteria were developed with the help of the South African Sommeliers’ Association.
Industry experts will again lend a knowledgeable eye in choosing the best wine lists. Previous judges include Winelist head judge Jean-Pierre Rossouw who is the publisher of Platter’s by Diners Club Wine Guide and Rossouw’s Restaurants, internationally-acclaimed chef Benny Masekwameng, wine experts and restaurateur Neil Grant, and radio host and foodie Jenny Cryws-Williams.
“South Africa’s wine lists continue to improve as owners place more emphasis on wines that suit their cuisine and their style – so we will always be sharpening our judging pencils! Our judging criteria will always take the side of the consumer, so we look for lists that have pleasing diversity, a decent choice across price points and – more and more – good wines by the glass. We wish the 2017 entrants all the best,” says Rossouw.
The judging criteria grades wine lists from Silver, through to Gold, then Platinum and finally the highest award level, Diamond. A Diamond list contains excellent wines in all categories; includes exciting new wines and classic labels as well as a reserve list of aged wines and a good international wine selection. Furthermore, it contains numerous and interesting wines by the glass, representing many wine categories. All wines on a Diamond list carry either very good and/or informative wine descriptions for the wines – or there is an accredited and verified sommelier team on site. Personalised food and wine pairings are also important. The criteria aim to celebrate and reward small, well-constructed lists in addition to large “directory” lists – as an emphasis is placed on suitability and interest, rather than simply the sheer number of wines listed. Special attention will be paid to good wines by the glass, as this is an important aspect for contemporary diners.