Bosman’s and Zachary’s sparkle in Diner’s Club Winelist Awards

Bosman’s at the Grande Roche Hotel and Zachary’s at Pezula Hotel & Spa were the two restaurants whose winelists were chosen as the best in the country in the Diner’s Club Winelist Awards, announced on Monday.

A record number of restaurant winelists was entered for the prestigious Diner’s Club Winelist of the Year 2010, an increase of 10 % on last year, reports Hotel and Restaurant.  Under the chairmanship of Dave Hughes, the Diner’s Club Winelist Awards recognises the wine range offered, as well as the matching of a restaurant’s wines to its menu.  To be able to enter, the restaurants have to accept Diner’s Club credit cards.

The judges gave each winelist a rating, depicting their winelist performance.  The results for the Western Cape follow:

*  The top accolade a restaurant winelist can achieve is Diamond, with a score of 91 % or more.  The superior winelists are those of the following restaurants: 96 Winery Road, Asara Wine Estate and Hotel, Aubergine, Azure at Twelve Apostles, Balducci’s, Balthazar, Bientang’s Cave, Bistro Allegro, Blowfish, Bosman’s, Bushman’s Kloof, Carne, Catharina’s, Cellars-Hohenhort Hotel, City Grill, Ellerman House, Flavours, Greek Fisherman, Harbour Rock, Hunter’s Country House, Jardine, Karibu, La Colombe, Le Quartier Français, Marc’s, Meloncino, Nobu, Pembrey’s, Pure, Restaurant at The One&Only, Rioja, Rodwell House, Sand, Signal at Cape Grace, The Atlantic Grill at the Table Bay Hotel, The Square at the Vineyard Hotel, The Wild Fig and Zachary’s.

*   Winners in the Platinum category (81 – 90%) were the following: 95 Keerom, Abalone House in Paternoster, Cru Cafe, Den Anker, Durbanville Golf Club, Harveys, Kitima at the Kronendal, Kurland Hotel, Milkwood, Panama Jacks, Pistachio, Salt, Simola Country Club & Spa, Bayside Cafe, The George, The Grill Room, Hussar Grill (all branches), The Marine Hotel, The Raj, The Red Herring, The Roundhouse, The Turbine Hotel & Spa (winner in this category) and Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa.

*   Winners in the Gold Category, with a score of 71 – 80 %, are the following restaurants:  3106 Restaurant @ The Cullinan, Blue Water Cafe, B’s steakhouse in Hermanus, Col’Cacchio (Camps Bay, Blouberg, Canal Walk, Cavendish, Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, Foreshore and Willowbridge branches), De Viswijf, Hermanos, Jenna Viva, Southern Sun, The Garden Lounge, The Quarterdeck and Yizani.

*   Silver award recipients, with a score of 61 – 70 %, are Bourbon Street, Harbourview, Jemima’s, and Newlands Cafe.

The scores for the above categories seem very high, given some of the restaurants that have been included in them, and one wonders how a top winelist of ex-maze at the One&Only can compete with that of restaurants such as Bientang’s Cave and Harbour Rock in Hermanus, with scores over 90%.

The judges noted a better presence of more affordable wines on the winelists, reflecting the current economic climate.  An increasing number of restaurants offer wine-by-the-glass, the judges noted.  The judges also praised the greater synergy between the winelist and the menu: “Now more and more restaurateurs take a lot of care in assembling a range of wines they believe complement their food and then guide the patron by means of the wine list in making an appropriate choice”, said judging Chairman Dave Hughes.

It is interesting to note that many Eat Out Top 10 restaurants are not on the winning winelist list, and include Rust en Vrede, Overture, Bizerca Bistro, Reubens, Grande Provence, Terroir, and the Mount Nelson.  Other top restaurants whose names are missing are Myoga, Bombay Brasserie at the Taj Hotel, Restaurant at Majeka House, Jordan’s Restaurant with George Jardine, Restaurant Christophe, Waterkloof, the Blonde …collection of restaurants (Beluga, Sevruga, Blonde), The Kovensky Quartet (The Kove, Paranga, Zenzero and Pepenero), and Delaire Graff, indicating that they do not accept Diner’s Club credit cards due to the higher commission this company takes on payments relative to Mastercard and VISA, and/or that these restaurants snub the Awards, in not seeing the value of participation.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

3 replies on “Bosman’s and Zachary’s sparkle in Diner’s Club Winelist Awards”

  1. Joe says:

    Chris, in all likelyhood most of your non-winners simply did not enter. Yup- you need to enter the competition; unlike the Eatout Top10 awards where restaurants are selected by the judges. To be allowed to enter the winelist awards, you must also be a registered Diners Club Merchant- and many restaurants choose no longer to accept Diners club because of the expenses attached to it.

  2. Ryan says:

    What exactly is the value of this award?

    can it be quantified to an increase in covers…or even an increase in the prices charged on the list?

    especially when you consider the extra commission charged by diners club.

    I imagine it is for prestige reasons only and the higher achievers of such an award have substantial financial clout behind them.

  3. Michael says:

    Anyone (well almost anyone) can create a spectacular wine list, but that does not mean that the establishment actually has stock of the wine, does not alter vintages, and actually has a staff member that knows anything about the wine or its service. Additionally, given that accepting Diners Club is a pre-requisite for inclusion in the awards, it seems to me that the whole exercise is actually pretty meaningless.

    When I visited Bosman’s for dinner earlier this year, there was no sommelier and neither of the two staff on duty could say anything meaningful about the wines. A visit to Zachary’s (at least the part that is open for lunch) was not that much better in terms of wine knowledge. In contrast the unlisted establishment Ruste en Vrede has probably one of the most accomplished sommeliers in the country. I certainly shall not pick my restaurant based on these awards.

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