The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Four New Zealand restaurants win international wine excellence awards


Four New Zealand Restaurants have been named in Wine Spectator’s 2020 Restaurant Awards which honour excellence in wine lists.

Don Alfonso at Helena Bay Lodge in Hikurangi was given an ‘Award of Excellence’ which recognises thoughtfully chosen wine lists that offer quality and diversity.

Wellington French fine dining restaurant Hippopotamus, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, and True South Dining Room in Queenstown were all awarded the ‘Best of Award of Excellence’ which honours expansive lists that show a greater commitment to wine.

Three-thousand-eight-hundred restaurants from all 50 US states and 80 countries and territories were named in this year’s list – “demonstrating the passion and devoted the resources to create outstanding wine programmes”. 

For Hippopotamus, which boasts a cellar stocked with more than 850 wines, this is the second time it has been named in Wine Spectator’s list.

Known for its unique range of classic and legendary wines from New Zealand, France and around the globe, Head Sommelier and Restaurant Manager Florent Souche hand-picks each bottle alongside his sommelier team.

“To receive this award is an incredible honour and testament to my team’s tireless dedication,” he says. “We work seamlessly alongside Executive Chef Jiwon Do to ensure the highest quality of wines that pair perfectly with the restaurant’s dining menu.”

Hippopotamus’ wine list collection boasts includes back vintages, half bottles, and other selections not commercially available or sold out elsewhere.

Examples include: 1970 Conde de Los Andes ‘Gran Reserve’, Te Mata Estate ‘Coleraine’ Cabernet Blend, with vintages from 2002, Rhone Valley HERMITAGE vintages from Jean-Louis Chave and Legendary and rare back vintages of Marc Brédif ‘Grande Année’ Chenin Blanc from Vouvray, dating back to 1979.

For more on Wine Spectator’s 2020 Restaurant Award winners, click here.

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