The 2020 Wineslinger Awards trophy winners were crowned on Monday night, 9 November, at a virtual awards ceremony.

Despite more than six months out of action due to COVID restrictions, Melbourne’s Carlton Wine Room took out the top gong, the Wineslinger, while Best New Haunt went to Adelaide’s Leigh Street Wine Room, which houses more than 400 wines.

The Maverick award, which goes to a boundary pushing venue, was awarded to Snack Man in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. Snack Man’s menu of Chinese snacks are paired with European wines from the venue’s cellar of 300 ‘unlisted’ wines, with the aim of creating conversation between staff and patrons while debunking wine and food pairing conventions.

Online voting saw the public hand Geelong’s Union Street Wine The People’s Choice award. Opened in early 2014 by duo Andy Leigh and Lewis Phiddian, the venue’s wine list pays honours local winemakers alongside an eclectic mix of international makers.

“2020 has been the toughest year ever for Wineslingers in this country, and that’s made it equally tough on cutting edge winemakers who rely on the passionate individuals and their brilliant venues to capture the imaginations of wine lovers,” says Wineslinger Founder Rory Kent. “We’re so excited to celebrate the places and hospitality professionals serving up the best wine experiences in the country, and after months of lockdown and restrictions, getting back to supporting them in person.”

Each Wineslinger trophy winner receives two immersive wine experiences for their teams: 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. Experiences will be undertaken when border restrictions allow.