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Editor’s Letter

A First Time for Everything

While for many of us, great bottles at home have been something of a mainstay over the past 18 months, the experience (at least personally) barely comes close to the deep satisfaction delivered by a fun hour or two at a venue that really nails the wine bar brief. We called upon some of the country’s most drinks-savvy minds to put forward their top such venues, considering things like atmosphere, service, food, glassware, music – and of course, a well-curated and contextually appropriate wine list – to deliver our inaugural Best Places to Drink Wine.

Further to what’s already an exciting and diverse guide, each of the 52 venues featured will have their wine offering submitted to Star Wine List, whose global awards initiative we’re thrilled to bring to Australia in late 2021.

Also in this issue, Amy Northcott spotlights the many virtues of NSW’s Riverina, while Toni Paterson MW celebrates the significance of the Swan Valley’s famed John Kosovich Wines. There’s a coincidental common thread here, too: the red grape variety durif, grown in both regions and the focus of this issue’s Style Guide.

Speaking of red wine, our expert tasting panel tackled a mountain of impressive WA cabernets, demonstrating further proof of the state’s aptitude for the variety, while Angus Hughson looks at the rise and rise of grenache in Australia. Meanwhile, further afield, Marcus Best continues his ancient wine sojourn, this time on the islands of the Aegean, and Tony Plowman lets Japanese shochu star in our Spirits Guide. Lastly, we announce the second round of our Winemaker of the Year finalists in the lead-up to the Awards in October. As always, the stakes are high and each talented finalist is equally deserving of the title.

Whether you’re comfortable at home or itching to get out to support our incredible hospitality industry, I hope this, the first edition of GT WINE I’ve had the pleasure of overseeing, provides plenty of inspiration – it was certainly good fun putting it together, in spite of the confines of a Sydney lockdown.

Petition, in the heart of Perth, is one of the 52 best places to drink wine – and everything else – as chosen by our seasoned experts.