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A New Look at Hotel Wine Collections


Jacob Gaffney
Posted: March 21, 2000

The Wine Room at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis, offers about 10,000 bottles of wine with every dinner. That's because the new eating spot, opened last month, is decorated with most of the hotel's wine inventory.

The wine collection, valued at $463,000, adorns the walls of the 40-seat dining room. The wine list features 1,029 different bottlings, including top Napa Valley Cabernets such as Caymus and Opus One, as well as rarer finds such as Chbteau Latour 1970 and Chbteau Lafite Rothschild 1928.

The Wine Room's main function is to serve as a private venue for parties, meetings and wine tastings. (Although the temperature is usually set at 58 degrees F for proper wine storage, it can be raised slightly when guests are dining there.) The area is also open to multiple small groups by special arrangement.

Rather the serving the same traditional French fare offered at The Grill in the Ritz-Carlton, executive chef Kevin Peters and sommelier Steve Palmer create unique prix fixe menus, with wine matches for each course, for customers in the Wine Room. The types of dishes served range from smoked salmon with golden osetra caviar to wild boar and rattlesnake empanadas.

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Down in Florida, The Breakers resort in Palm Beach has also chosen to raise its wines out of the cellar. Sommelier Tim Ruzkowski decided that he wanted to show off the property's collection, which holds Wine Spectator's Grand Award for its wine list.

So The Breakers created a new display wine cellar, placed in clear public view between The Florentine restaurant and the Tapestry Bar. The cellar contains almost 6,000 bottles of wine, including three bottles of 1928 Lafite, all kept in a specially designed racking system at temperatures between 55 degrees F and 60 degrees F.

Guests can actually enter the cellar for a closer look, accompanied by the sommelier. According to Ruzkowski, the resort's wine sales have dramatically increased since the cellar's opening.

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Read more about Ritz-Carlton hotels in other cities:

  • Oct. 8, 1999
    Ritz-Carlton San Francisco Names New Director of Wine

  • March 31, 1997
    A Ritz Renewal

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