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15 Mountain Retreats Taking Wine to New Heights

Enjoy fresh air and great wines at these resort restaurants, lodges and inns
Photo by: The Mural Room
At the Mural Room restaurant, towering floor-to-ceiling windows frame views of the Tetons.

Posted: August 17, 2017

Tucked among the mountains from North Carolina to California, these 15 restaurants are a wine lover’s destination any time of year. A trip to the mountains makes an ideal getaway, whether you’re seeking a summer wilderness adventure or a snowy winter ski trip. Escape to these lodges for clear air, pristine views and Restaurant Award–winning wine programs.

To check out more wine-and-food destinations around the world, see Wine Spectator’s more than 3,500 Restaurant Award–winning picks, including the 87 Grand Award recipients worldwide that hold our highest honor.

Do you have a favorite you’d like to see on this list? Send your recommendations to restaurantawards@mshanken.com. We want to hear from you!


Blackberry Farm

1471 W. Millers Cove Rd., Walland, Tenn.
Telephone (865) 984-8166
Website www.blackberryfarm.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Grand Award

Blackberry Farm
Blackberry Farm offers a world-class wine list in the Smoky Mountain region.

Bringing luxury to the wilderness, Blackberry Farm represents the epitome of upscale Smoky Mountain elegance. The Grand Award winner offers an impressive 8,500 selections with strengths in California, Burgundy, Rhône, Italy, Spain, Australia, Bordeaux, Germany, Oregon and Washington. Wine director Andy Chabot has propelled the wine program to excellence and oversees a 170,000-bottle inventory. Enjoy the outstanding selections with dinner at the farm’s fine-dining restaurant, the Barn. Sourcing ingredients from the on-site farm, chef Cassidee Dabney crafts creative American dishes like crispy pig ear and hearth-roasted cauliflower. Blackberry Farm also hosts a variety of exciting events with culinary stars such as Daniel Boulud and Eric Ripert, plus concerts by big names and Blackberry Farm’s resident musicians. With the largest wine list of any Grand Award winner in North America, Blackberry Farm has made the Smoky Mountains a destination for luxury-seeking wine lovers across the globe.


Erna’s Elderberry House

Chateau du Sureau, 48688 Victoria Ln., Oakhurst, Calif.
Telephone (559) 683-6800
Website www.elderberryhouse.com
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Erna's Elderberry House
At Erna's Elderberry House, classic European charm meets modern luxury.

Nestled in the hills of Oakhurst, Calif., minutes from Yosemite National Park, Chateau du Sureau looks like an enchanted hideaway straight from a fairytale. The 9-acre property is home to Erna’s Elderberry House, a Restaurant Award winner since 1991. The dining room has a dreamy elegance that sets the stage for chef Jonathon Perkins’ French-inspired five-course tasting menu ($112 per person). Owner Erna Kubin-Clanin’s daughter, Renée-Nicole Kubin, manages the list of 750 bottles. The program is strong in Burgundy selections, and California verticals include seven vintages of Peter Michael Les Pavots Knights Valley and Dalla Valle Napa Valley bottles from 1993 to 2013.


Glitretind Restaurant

Stein Eriksen Lodge, 7700 Stein Way, Park City, Utah
Telephone (435) 645-6455
Website www.steinlodge.com
Open Breakfast, lunch and dinner, daily 

Best of Award of Excellence

The Glitretind restaurant in the Stein Eriksen Lodge of Park City, Utah, has a sizable wine cellar and even greater ambitions. In the past year, the Best of Award of Excellence winner has continued to expand its wine list, exploring vertical collections from Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon to Nikolaihof Riesling. Wine director Jason Berrett works with a team of sommeliers including Little Nell alum Ashley Arnot to manage the wines and offer wine tasting seminars for up to eight people within the wine cellar. The wine list boasts 850 selections with strengths in California, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhône, Champagne and Italy … all the better for visiting celebrities that may dine at the resort during the local Sundance Film Festival each January.


Jimmy’s Taverna

Sierra Nevada Resort and Spa, 248 Old Mammoth Rd., Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
Telephone (760) 934-9432
Website www.jimmystaverna.com
Open Dinner, Wednesday to Sunday 

Best of Award of Excellence

Jimmy’s Taverna takes a fresh approach to mountain-resort dining, with a Mediterranean menu and a Best of Award of Excellence–winning wine program. The restaurant is one of three dining options in the Sierra Nevada Resort, surrounded by ski slopes, scenic lakes and hot springs. Wine director Chip Ermish gives guests great values on Greek selections, such as Gaia Assyrtiko Santorini Wild Ferment 2013 ($60) and Vaeni Naoussa Xinomavro Naoussa 2007 ($48). The 475-bottle list also has strengths in France, Italy and California, including four pages of reds from in-state producers. Chef Jeremy Graham’s menu features Greek classics like moussaka and octopus cooked on a wood-burning grill, as well as more modern plates like a porcini-dusted halibut with ginger–blood orange broth.


Madison’s Restaurant & Wine Garden

Old Edwards Inn and Spa, 445 Main St., Highlands, N.C.
Telephone (828) 787-2525
Website www.oldedwardsinn.com
Open Breakfast, lunch and dinner, daily 

Best of Award of Excellence

Madison's Restaurant & Wine Garden
Madison's Restaurant & Wine Garden offers an award-winning wine list of 585 selections in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Old Edwards Inn and Spa has a singular charm amid the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Located on the main street in the town of Highlands, the resort’s restaurant sits between fanciful forest retreats like the Acorns Boutique shop and Hummingbird Lounge craft cocktail room. Madison’s Restaurant & Wine Garden, a Best of Award of Excellence winner since 2008, boasts 585 wine selections and a 6,200-bottle inventory. Sommelier Philippe Brainos oversees the wine cellar, which doubles as a private dining room and houses various vintages of Châteaus Margaux, Mouton-Rothschild, Haut-Brion and others.


Smith Fork Ranch

45362 Needle Rock Rd., Crawford, Colo.
Telephone (970) 921-3454
Website www.smithforkranch.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Smith Fork Ranch
The intimate Smith Fork Ranch in Colorado has a capacity of just 28 overnight guests.

In the late 1960s, the Hodgson family purchased a deserted ranch and began renovating it into a mountain lodging experience. Smith Fork Ranch is now a luxury property accommodating a maximum of just 28 guests at a time, with horseback riding, fly fishing, spa treatments and more. Respect for the land is evident in all aspects of Smith Fork, from decorative Native American crafts, including an authentic tipi, to the restaurant’s farm-focused fare. Chef Marcus Parrott takes advantage of North Fork Valley’s abundant yields and the ranch’s own organic garden for produce and grass-fed beef on the seasonal menu. The Best of Award of Excellence–winning wine list has 500 selections with strengths in California, France and Italy. Wine director Courtney Rodwell includes bottles from smaller Colorado producers like Stone Cottage Cellars and Colterris to reflect the ranch’s intimate feel.


Triple Creek Ranch

5551 W. Fork Rd., Darby, Mont.
Telephone (406) 821-4231

Website www.triplecreekranch.com
Open Breakfast, lunch and dinner, daily 

Best of Award of Excellence

Triple Creek Ranch
The all-inclusive Triple Creek Ranch offers complimentary bottles for guests.

In the Bitterroot Range of the Montana Rocky Mountains, Triple Creek Ranch is a collection of cabins with beautiful scenery and an innovative food and wine program. The dinner menu, led by chef Jacob Leatherman, changes nightly, and because the resort is all-inclusive, a selection of wines are complimentary in addition to the reserve bottles that are available for purchase. The resort’s restaurant has held a Best of Award of Excellence since 2012 (and an Award of Excellence for seven years before that) and offers 727 wine selections with an emphasis on California, Oregon, Germany and France. Discerning guests will enjoy Triple Creek’s Vintner Event Weekends, which feature producers like Hill Family Estate, Et Fille winery and others. Head up to the Rooftop Lounge for a peek at the glass-encased wine room overseen by wine director Jeremy White.


Zach’s Cabin

Bachelor Gulch at Beaver Creek, 0130 Daybreak Ridge, Avon, Colo.
Telephone (970) 754-6575
Website www.beavercreek.com
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday, December to March 

Best of Award of Excellence

Beaver Creek
Take a sleigh ride to Zach's Cabin for a top-notch wine list of more than 600 selections.

Beaver Creek, Colo., is a prime destination for both winter sports and fine dining. Perched on the mountainside of Beaver Creek Ski resort, the Best of Award of Excellence–winning Zach’s Cabin is a prime example of coziness meets top-notch cuisine. Reservations are required, as the restaurant is only accessible via an open-air sleigh ride. Zach's Cabin excels in wines from Italy and France, but the heart of the wine list lies with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from California. More than 600 selections are available to pair with the cuisine, which focuses on game and seasonally rotating dishes.


Bretton Arms Dining Room

Omni Bretton Arms Inn, 173 Mount Washington Hotel Rd., Bretton Woods, N.H.
Telephone (603) 278-8989
Website www.omnihotels.com
Open Dinner, Wednesday to Sunday
Award of Excellence

Omni Bretton Arms Inn is a historic lodge that provides all the benefits of a large-scale resort with the privacy and charming appeal of an inn. Guests lodging in one of the 34 renovated rooms can enjoy golf courses, tennis courts, pools and other amenities of Omni’s neighboring Mount Washington Resort, plus access to the largest ski area in New Hampshire, Bretton Woods. The Bretton Arms Dining Room serves refined comfort food from chef Jonathan Saiff and holds an Award of Excellence for its 160 bottles curated by wine director Donald Davis. There are plenty of value options on this list, with 52 wines available by the glass and certain selections marked as “sommelier’s best buy” including Iron Horse Wedding Cuvée Green Valley of Russian River Valley 2010 ($67) and Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling 2015 from Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley in Washington ($44). Sample the selections before you dine during the inn’s afternoon tastings in the lounge.


The Home Ranch

54880 Routt County Rd. 129, Clark, Colo.
Telephone (970) 879-1780
Website www.homeranch.com
Open Lunch and dinner, June to October and Dec. 20 to March
Award of Excellence

The Home Ranch
The Home Ranch has a wine list of 265 bottles and access to a wide range of outdoor adventures.

In the small town of Clark, Colo., the Home Ranch is the ideal destination for a wilderness getaway filled with great wine. There’s plenty of opportunity for adventure; guests can climb the Rocky Mountains with an expert instructor, explore the meadows on one of the ranch’s 70 horses and go white-water rafting on the Elk River. Winter months at the ranch bring classic snowy activities like skiing and tubing, as well as winter horseback riding and even sleigh rides. Back at the lodge, a wine list by chef and wine director Jonathon Gillespie offers 265 selections to pair with a menu that changes nightly. Dishes like butternut squash ravioli and filet mignon feature fresh, organic produce and meats from the ranch’s property. Eight wines are available by the glass, in addition to one red and one white specifically chosen to pair with the dishes each evening.


Mural Room

Jackson Lake Lodge, 100 Jackson Lake Lodge Rd., Grand Teton National Park, Moran, Wyo.
Telephone (307) 543-2811
Website www.gtlc.com
Open Breakfast, lunch and dinner, daily 

Award of Excellence

The Mural Room is the gem of John D. Rockefeller’s Jackson Lake Lodge, in the heart of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. The Award of Excellence–winning restaurant boasts towering windows throughout the dining room, but its name comes from the distinctive reproductions of the Rendezvous Murals, artworks by 20th-century American painter Carl Roters that depict the settlement of the American west. Chef Joshua Conrad and wine director Daniel Kendra work together to create a dining experience that focuses on local cuisine, including game, and a 130-selection wine cellar with strengths in California and France. Kendra specifically looks to highlight sustainably made wines.


Rainbow Ranch Lodge

42950 Gallatin Rd., Gallatin Gateway, Mont.
Telephone (406) 995-4132
Website www.rainbowranchbigsky.com
Open Dinner, daily 

Award of Excellence

Kene Sperry
Enjoy river views in the Montana mountains at Rainbow Ranch Lodge.

Big Sky in Montana has the expansive sky and powdery slopes of Vail, but feels like a secret that hasn’t been fully discovered yet. The ski resort’s atmosphere is welcoming and approachable—and at Rainbow Ranch Lodge, guests feel right at home in the restaurant’s riverside dining room. This Award of Excellence winner offers 315 selections focusing on California and France along with à la carte dining and two specialty dinner menus. There’s also a five-course Kermit Lynch wine dinner that will please Côtes du Rhône fans that features wines from, among others, Domaine les Vallières and Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe, and Sauternes from Château Roûmieu-Lacoste.


The Reluctant Panther Inn and Restaurant

17-39 West Rd., Manchester Village, Vt.
Telephone (802) 362-2568
Website www.reluctantpanther.com
Open Dinner, Monday to Saturday
Award of Excellence

The Reluctant Panther Inn and Restaurant
The Reluctant Panther Inn and Restaurant offers diners an accessible wine list with a healthy mix of styles and prices.

Wood-burning fireplaces, antique furniture and a lakeside porch create a tranquil setting at the Reluctant Panther Inn. The inn’s restaurant has held an Award of Excellence since 2008 and shows particular strength in California wines, with most bottles costing less than $100. Wine director Joseph Jez’s 175-selection list contains a wide variety of styles, from Old and New World wines to big names like Frog’s Leap and Duckhorn and smaller, less familiar labels like Elizabeth Spencer. Chef Sigal Rocklin features ingredients from local producers on her seasonal American menu in dishes like Woodbury Farm Pheasant and roasted chicken breast from Misty Knoll Farm. Historic homes dating back to the 1700s fill the surrounding town of Manchester Village, and skiing is a half-hour drive away at Viking Nordic Center. The inn also hosts events such as wine-pairing dinners and cocktail parties on the patio.


Trapp Family Lodge Dining Room

Trapp Family Lodge, 700 Trapp Hill Rd., Stowe, Vt.
Telephone (800) 826-7000
Website www.trappfamily.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

This lodge is owned by the current generation of the famous Von Trapps, the Austrian family featured in the classic film The Sound of Music. After touring the United States as a music group in the 1940s, the Von Trapps were drawn to the heart of Vermont for its picturesque mountains that reminded them of their country. By the following decade, the family turned their home into the Trapp Family Lodge, which still sits on the sprawling 2,500-acre property. Rooms with balconies overlook the surrounding mountains that offer a variety of opportunities for year-round activities, from mountain biking and hiking to snowshoeing and skiing. In the dining room, wine director Michael Keene oversees the 250-bottle list. The program has held an Award of Excellence since 1989 and continues to offer strong selections in California, Washington, Oregon and Bordeaux. Chef Cody Vasek’s menu changes with the seasons, but typical dishes include delicate appetizers like pea tendril salad and parsnip custard, as well as large plates like short rib with spiced couscous and pancetta-wrapped chicken.


The View

Mirror Lake Inn, 77 Mirror Lake Dr., Lake Placid, N.Y.
Telephone (518) 523-2544
Website www.mirrorlakeinn.com
Open Dinner, daily 

Award of Excellence

Mirror Lake Inn
The View is located in the family-owned Mirror Lake Inn, a winter sports destination with Olympic ties.

The View serves a seafood-focused menu with an impressive wine list on the shore of Mirror Lake. The inn’s fine-dining restaurant has held an Award of Excellence since 2000 for its 525 wines selected by wine director Katie Welch with strengths in California, France and Italy. The list complements chef Jarrad Lang’s fresh takes on classics like crab cakes and gnocchi, featuring ingredients from nearby farmers and the restaurant’s own garden. Work up an appetite skiing, skating, hiking the Adirondack High Peaks or golfing on a neighboring course. Mirror Lake Inn has long been associated with sports, ever since Lake Placid first hosted the winter Olympics in 1932. The family-owned resort claims it implemented the first electric rope-tow for ski slopes and purchased the first snowmaking machine in the area. A number of champions have graced the Mirror Lake Inn grounds, including the owners’ son, Andrew Weibrecht, a two-time Olympic skier and medalist. After a day on the slopes, overnight guests can enjoy six different styles of rooms and suites, plus the hotel’s on-site spa.

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