Port Macquarie restaurant Bills Fishhouse was recognised at the highly-esteemed NSW Sommeliers Wine Awards in Sydney with two prestigious gongs including the coveted Best Wine List of the Year award.
Bills owners and curators of the award-winning wine list, Pete Cutcliffe and Jen Paquet have walked away with their arms full, taking out Best NSW Wine List in a Regional NSW venue - mid/large, and the major award, 2019 NSW Sommelier's Wine List of the Year.
"Jen and I are so humbled to be recognised by the industry for our wine selection at Bills. It's something we're really passionate about and put a lot of time, effort and research into getting right," Mr Cutliffe said.
The NSW Wines Sommelier's Wine List awards were created by the NSW Wine Industry Association, Restaurant and Catering Association and Destination NSW with a purpose to spotlight the best establishments in Sydney and regional NSW presenting a premium wine experience to their customers.
"To be recognised alongside so many incredible brands and be awarded the major category for the evening was such an honour. We feel so lucky to be doing what we love in a town we adore. Community is the linchpin the Bills brand and being praised by our peers has us feeling incredibly grateful," Ms Paquet said.
The judging was conducted by the NSW Wine Industry Association and two experienced, independent judges, Mark Baulderstone, managing director of Riedel Australia and award-winning, multi-media presenter Lyndey Milan, OAM.
The Bills wine list was described by the judges as "an exceptionally well thought out list, with not only nearly 100 per cent of its wines from NSW but also an impressive range covering eight different wine regions and highlighting the strong and exciting wine styles from each region".
Bills Fishhouse was nominated by NSW winery Topper's Mountain and also locally based Cassegrain Wines.
"Amongst others, the entire team at Cassegrain Wines have been huge supporters of ours since day one. hey are passionate about promoting the Port Macquarie region on NSW's culinary map - we're really committed to partnering with like-minded brands," Mr Cutcliffe said.
Bills Fishhouse was established in 2016 by Port Macquarie hospitality slawarts, Chris and Leasa Harris, with Mr Cutcliffe the chef at the time. At the beginning of 2019 Mr Cutcliffe and Ms Paquet went on to obtain ownership of the business and inject some of their own creative direction.
"Chris and Leasa created Bills with such a clear, authentic vision. We were so lucky to be able to take the reins at the height of the brands success and build on those strong foundations they laid," Mr Cutcliffe said.