Who is The Wine Guide?
Ben Edwards and Daniel Sims have both been working in the hospitality game for a combined total of over 30 years. They have always been responsible for running beverage operations as Sommeliers in some of the best venues in the country. Consistency of service has been pivotal to their success, and it is this professionalism that they bring to their clients’ businesses.
The boys are heavily involved in some of the largest wine content events in Australia, including the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, Good Food & Wine Show’s five shows Australia wide and are continually travelling the globe as wine judges and guest speakers.
Ben Edwards comes from a hospitality background, having worked in some of Melbourne’s award winning restaurants as Head Sommelier. These include Stella, est, est, est and circa, the prince. In 1999 Ben won the prestigious Champagne Devaux Young Sommelier Award, and in 2003 was awarded the honour of being Dux of The Len Evans Tutorial. The Presidency of The Australian Sommeliers Association in Victoria has been his responsibility since 2002.
Ben started the most difficult process of studying for his MW while starting up a new business, and has progressed to the second year of the program with the intention of completing it in this lifetime. As a regular contributor to the A2 section of The Age for 18 months, Ben focused on Victorian boutique wineries, and also contributed on occasion to other magazines on a freelance basis.
Show judging has been a regular aspect of Ben’s involvement in the wine industry, with involvement in the Cool Climate Wine Show since its inception and with judging duties at Royal Sydney, Royal Adelaide, The National Wines Show in Canberra and the Victorian Wines Show along with other regional shows.
Recently Ben worked as the wine buyer and Head Sommelier for the Mathis group of restaurants which include Soulmama in St Kilda, Taxi Dining Room, Transit Lounge Garden, Transport Hotel, Lower House Wine Bar and Upper House Dining Room at Federation Square. After the sale of the businesses at Federation Square to the Sovereign Hotel Group, Ben has moved on to start his own wine consulting company, The Wine Guide.
Ben has also just been appointed as co-contributor to James Halliday’s Wine Companion regarded as the leading reference guide for wine in Australia, a prestigious and highly respected appointment. He has also been president of the Australian Sommeliers Association (Victorian Chapter) for the past 6 years and recently was appointed joint President of the newly formed national body called Sommeliers Australia.
Dan ‘Hollywood’ Sims has been playing with wine since 1996 when he started working at the first (and at the time best) wine bar in Melbourne, Walter’s Wine Bar. His inspiration was derived from a visit to the Margaret River, and needless to say he has never looked back.
After Walter’s, Dan enjoyed an 18 month stint at Punch Lane where he confirmed his passion for wine and food.
By the end of his stint Dan was getting itchy feet and needed to see more of the world where the wines he loved were being grown. He ended up in London working at Al Duca with Giorgio Locatelli, and instantly fell in love with all things Italian. Being in London gave Dan the opportunity to travel to Europe and experience first hand France, Greece and of course Italy. Back in London Dan was appointed as Assistant Sommelier at one of London’s hottest wine spots, Noble Rot.
Upon his triumphant return to Melbourne, Hollywood started working at the Prince Wine Store, and it was here his education into wine rose to new levels. Imbedded in a productive yet relaxed wine culture working with Philip Rich (Financial Review) and Matt Skinner, Dan was given the opportunity to learn and grow as a wine professional.
After the Prince Wine Store, a very productive stint at Punch Lane loomed where he took the business to new heights. Under his watchful gaze the wine list was awarded a prestigious three-glass award from the Wine List of the Year Awards. Previous to Dan’s involvement Punch Lane had failed to even register in the same awards!
Dan’s obvious passion and ability was making his presence felt in the restaurant game in Melbourne, as he was approached by restaurant guru Paul Mathis to take on the challenging role of Head Sommelier at Taxi Dining Room. It was here that he met Ben Edwards who became a great friend and Mentor (now co-contributor to James Halliday’s Wine Companion, avid Show Judge and President of Sommeliers Australia since 2002). The two of them grew the wine list to 1200 wines, which was highly praised and awarded. Dan also got to enjoy the thrill of being a part of the team that was awarded The Age Good Food Guide Restaurant of the year in 2006.
Two years with Taxi saw Dan being approached by Matt Skinner to get on board for the high profile position of Head Sommelier at Fifteen Melbourne. To do this Dan had to spend time in London’s Fifteen to make him comfortable with the whole concept of the Fifteen Foundation. Dan felt so comfortable in fact that he went on to be recognized as the inaugural Sommelier of The Year presented to him by The Age Good Food Guide in 2007.
Today, Dan is working with Ben Edwards supporting the hospitality industry in Australia with their vast and quite obvious wine knowledge and skill. With this team together writhing wine lists, doing staff training and looking after high profile clients the message is clear, watch this space!