Restaurants are increasingly participating in various ratings, and more and more often the stars are shining on the Baltic map, earning the attention of the most sophisticated gourmets. However, this time only the wine cards were subjected to accurate evaluation and criticism, and the jury evaluated the work of the sommeliers in creating a wine list for their restaurants.

Experts believe that the wine list, like the menu, serves as the restaurant’s business card, although the restaurant’s cuisine is mainly criticized. But what about wine? Is it worth going to a restaurant where this drink is neglected? And in which restaurant is the sommelier able to surprise and pleasantly delight with the “raisins” that he has managed to provide for his guests?

The initiators of the Baltic Wine List Awards competition are the organizers of the popular Latvian wine festival Riga Wine & Champagne (SIA Nords Event Communications), which are supported by the main sponsor Amber Beverage Group and a European-level jury team.

Aigars Nords, Founder of the Baltic Wine List Awards: “We want the Baltic Wine List Awards to serve as a guide to finding restaurants that have done a lot to create exciting wine lists that complement the restaurant’s cuisine. Western experience shows that wine cards can be important magnets for attracting restaurant audiences, so we are confident that the competition for restaurants and bars – the owners of the best wine cards – will provide long-deserved publicity, recognition, also having a positive impact on financial results. ”


Evaluation of the wine list

For the jury, the organizers of the competition developed a wine card evaluation system based on criteria divided into four blocks. Each block was given a certain number of points that can be awarded to one of the restaurants.

No.1. What does a wine list consist of? 50 points out of 100.

Is the wine list deliberately designed according to the restaurant’s philosophy or will it fit into virtually any dish? How does the wine assortment correspond to the restaurant’s cuisine and originality? Is the diversity of wine countries and styles on offer from all over the world represented? Is there a focus on a specific country of production? Specific specifics or a wide selection? Is a detailed list of manufacturers available? Are good vintages available – wine age, durability, quality, style? Is there a wide selection of glasses? Wine offer in small and large bottles?

No.2. What is the wine surcharge? 25 points out of 100.

What is the wine surcharge, taking into account the relevant market situation and the type of restaurant / wine bar? How many wines are available at the purchase price? Does pricing policy encourage spending more? Does the card contain particularly attractive prices that encourage further research? Are all wines rated at a fixed markup (above / below)? What is the markup for famous wines?

No.3. How is the map presented? 20 points out of 100.

How easy is it to understand and understand what is presented on the map? Is the map accurate and complete? Is there an indication of origin, producer, vintage year, price, volume or capacity for each wine? Does the design of the card and the feelings it creates give an insight into the restaurant itself? What staff have created it and who works with it in the hall – how educated and experienced are they?

No.4. An element of surprise? 5 points out of 100.

How original, bold, innovative and in some ways unique is this wine list? How much effort does the owner and sommelier make to make the wines on the map available? Are small, little-known and inaccessible producers, vintage years, grape styles and varieties offered?



Honorable celebrities of the wine world from Europe, who have extensive experience in the wine industry and whose views are heard not only in the Baltic States, were invited to evaluate the cards.

Head of the jury – Raimonds Tomsons, Latvia

The best European sommelier in 2017 and the seventh place winner at the 2016 World Cup. Chief executive of the restaurant Vincents, one of the leading restaurants in the Baltics. Raimonds is included in the management of the Sommelier Association, he is a member of the jury of the Latvian wine competition “Wine of the Year”.

Mark Andrew, MW, Great Britain

He holds a Master of Wine (MW) diploma and is a co-owner of Noble Rot magazine and Noble Rot Restaurant & Bar in London. The restaurant won the National Wine List of the Year 2017 and Harden’s London Restaurant Awards 2016.

Read the full article in the new issue of Noble Wine magazine about Burgundy, which will be published in the beginning of April!