Baltic Wine List Awards
We created the Baltic Wine List Awards in association with Cross Keys Gin to discover the best restaurants, wine bars and hotels for wine lovers in Riga, Tallinn, Vilnius, Minsk and Saint Petersburg! The results of the Baltic Wine List Awards 2020 were announced in a virtual ceremony on April 17.
We are sure the Awards will improve wine selection and service in the Baltics as well as encourage strong wine lists that complement our restaurants and cuisines. We also hope that the Awards will raise awareness of the impact great wine lists can have on attractiveness and profitability of HoReCa industry!
The judges rated each restaurant’s wine selection on a 100-point scale, analysing the contents of the wine list (wines represented, vintages, suitability for the restaurant’s cuisine and characteristics, focus on specific country or wine region), pricing policy, presentation and clarity, as well as the element of surprise. Restaurants were awarded either a one-, two- or three-star Baltic Wine List Awards rating, as well as a Recommended status.
3 STAR WINNERS (10 venues)
World-class wine lists worth a special journey! Very original and providing a clear evidence of passion and real vision of the teams behind it. Outstanding selection of wines, including leading producers both classic and new-wave. Expect to find a wide range of wine styles and prices as well as a very good mix of vintages in terms of maturity, quality, and style. Three star wine lists are the definite Baltic wine destinations - expect to get carried away and spend all your savings here!
2 STAR WINNERS (15 venues)
Excellent wine lists created with care & real knowledge, that reflect the personality of the place and people behind it. Two star lists boast a wide range of both artisanal and classic wines, plenty of mature bottles and rarities, some verticals of sought-after producers, as well as clear and thought-out presentations. The best tend to offer sensible markups inviting to trade-up and spend more. Expect to find superb selections by the glass and excellent wine and food matching programmes!
1 STAR WINNERS (12 venues)
Fine, ambitiously selected, and creative wine lists that will capture the interest, curiosity, and excitement of wine lovers. Expect to experience a good depth of selections, some mature vintages, and a share of off-the-beaten-track wines. One star wine lists are clear indications that wine is in the DNA of a restaurant – so wine fun is guaranteed!
RECOMMENDED (5 venues)
Compact and nicely-selected wine lists, containing mostly safe and classic wine choices. Wines tend to represent a bit of everything, but seldom get off-the-beaten-track. Although one is not likely to find treasures or back vintages, expect plenty of safely calculated drinking pleasure.
The Jury considered the following aspects of the submitted wine lists.
Criteria set 1. WINE: What’s inside the list? 50 points out of 100
How suitable are the wine selections for the cuisine and personality of the restaurant? Is there a spread of countries and wine styles from across the world? Is there a focus on wines from a single country? A particular regional focus and strength? In-depth listings of producers? A good mix of vintages - age, maturity, quality, style? Is there a good by-the-glass program? A selection of half-bottles and larger formats?
Criteria set 2. VALUE: How much are they charging? 25 points out of 100
How high are the markups relative to the market and relative to the type of restaurant/ wine bar? How affordable are entry price point wines? Does the pricing of the wines encourage spending more? Does the list provides tempting prices further up the list? Are all wines priced with a fixed percentage margins from bottom to top? What kind of markups are there on the famous wine names?
Criteria set 3. PRESENTATION: How is it presented? 20 points out of 100
How clear is the organization and presentation? Is the list accurate and complete? Does every wine in the list has its origin, producer, wine, vintage, price, and format or serving size covered? Is the design and the feel of the wine list in the context of the restaurant? Who are the people behind the wine list and who are on the floor serving wine - how knowledgeable and experienced are they?
Criteria set 4. SURPRISE: The element of surprise? 5 points out of 100
How original, brave, innovative and one-of-a-kind is the list? Have the owners/sommeliers gone out of their way to secure the wines in the list? Does it offer a selection of smaller, obscure, hard-to-find producers, vintages, styles, varieties?
Raimonds Tomsons (LV)Head of Jury, Europe’s Best Sommelier 2017
Marc Almert (DE)Jury Member, Best Sommelier of the World 2019
Jon Bonné (US)Jury Member, Senior Contributing Editor for PUNCH
Kristjan Peäske (EE)Jury Member, Vice-President of Estonia’s Sommelier Association
Arūnas Starkus (LT)Jury Member, One of the founding fathers of Lithuanian wine scene
Aigars Nords (LV)Jury Member, Founder of Riga Wine & Champagne