10 Mountain Retreats Taking Wine to New Heights

Enjoy fresh air and great wines at these resort restaurants, lodges and inns

10 Mountain Retreats Taking Wine to New Heights
The patio at Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vt., is open for wining and dining with skyline views. (Courtesy of Trapp Family Lodge)
Aug 17, 2017

Updated: Sept. 10, 2020

Tucked among the mountains from North Carolina to California, these 10 restaurants are a wine lover’s destination any time of year, and they’re currently all open for indoor dining, outdoor dining or both. A trip to the mountains makes an ideal getaway, whether you’re seeking a summer wilderness adventure or a snowy winter ski trip. Now more than ever, we could all use some extra space, so escape to these lodges for clear air, pristine views and Wine Spectator Restaurant Award–winning wine programs.

To check out more wine-and-food destinations around the world, see Wine Spectator’s nearly 3,800 Restaurant Award–winning picks, including the 100 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!

Before your visit, take a look at our online restaurant search for more information on each location, and contact the restaurants for details on enhanced safety measures and reservation requirements. Note that opening hours and menus are subject to change as the industry continues to adjust to evolving regulations.

Blackberry Farm

1471 W. Millers Cove Road, Walland, Tenn.
Telephone (865) 984-8166
Website www.blackberryfarm.com
Grand Award

A plate of vegetables and caviar at Blackberry Farm
As its name suggests, Blackberry Farm features produce-focused cuisine. (Beall + Thomas)

Bringing luxury to the wilderness, Blackberry Farm represents the epitome of upscale Smoky Mountain elegance. The Grand Award winner offers an impressive 9,000 selections with strengths in California, France (especially Burgundy and the Rhône) as well as Italy, Spain, Australia, Germany, Oregon and Washington. Wine director Andy Chabot has propelled the wine program to excellence and oversees a 155,000-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 smoked North Carolina trout and hearth-roasted eggplant. Blackberry Farm also hosts a variety of exciting events with wine and food stars like Michael Tusk and Carlton McCoy, plus concerts by big names and Blackberry Farm’s resident musicians. For the time being, Blackberry Farm’s tastings and cooking demonstrations are limited to just six guests, to ensure their health and safety. 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 fans across the globe.

The Cheyenne Club

The Farm at Brush Creek, 6065 Highway 130, Saratoga, Wyo.
Telephone (307) 327-5284
Website www.brushcreekranch.com
Best of Award of Excellence

Medallion of ranch-raised black wagyu with greenhouse vegetables at the Cheyenne Club
At the Cheyenne Club, expect dishes like this medallion of ranch-raised black Wagyu with greenhouse vegetables. (Courtesy of the Cheyenne Club)

The Cheyenne Club, part of the Farm at Brush Creek Ranch, offers a taste of 19th-century Wyoming, when well-heeled guests sought adventure and luxurious relaxation in the Equality State. Overseen by wine director Gretchen Allen, the restaurant’s wine list of nearly 2,400 labels focuses on Bordeaux, Burgundy, Piedmont and Tuscany. Alongside a substantial Champagne selection, there are noteworthy white picks from California, Oregon, Germany and France. The reds include many top Bordeaux and Rhône wineries, with several verticals, plus a collection of Barolos, Barbarescos and super Tuscans like Sassicaia and Masseto. Guests can even join Allen on educational cellar tours. For dinner, chef Angus McIntosh’s regional, farm-to-table menu may offer dishes like wild onion custard tart, beet crusted sea scallops or goat’s cheese made by Brush Creek Ranch’s own Medicine Bow Creamery. The ranch is now also delivering semi-finished meals to guests’ cabins, where guests can finish cooking the meals themselves.

The Elderberry House Restaurant

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

An ivy-covered entrance to the Elderberry House Restaurant
At the Elderberry House Restaurant, classic European charm meets modern luxury. (Courtesy of the Elderberry House Restaurant)

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 the Elderberry House Restaurant, a Best of Award of Excellence winner since 1998. The dining room has a dreamy elegance that typically sets the stage for chef Robert Snyder III’s French-inspired five-course tasting menu starting at $125 per person. Currently the menu is limited to à-la-carte options of European and farm-to-table dishes, served outdoors on the Elderberry House’s garden patio. A curbside takeout selection has also been available since May. Wine director Brandon Weseman manages the restaurant’s list of 800 labels and 3,400-bottle inventory. The program is strong in Burgundy selections, with impressive California verticals of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Rhône varieties.

Jimmy’s Taverna

Sierra Nevada Resort and Spa, 248 Old Mammoth Road, Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
Telephone (760) 934-9432
Website www.jimmystaverna.com
Best of Award of Excellence

Executive chef Jeremy Graham, wine director Chip Ermish and sommelier Erik Muntean
Executive chef Jeremy Graham, wine director Chip Ermish and sommelier Erik Muntean are part of the team behind Jimmy’s Taverna. (Courtesy of Jimmy’s Taverna)

Open for dine-in and takeout, 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 venues in the Sierra Nevada Resort, surrounded by ski slopes, scenic lakes and hot springs. Wine director Chip Ermish gives guests great values on selections from Greek regions like Nemea, Thessalia and Naousa. The 380-selection list also has strengths in California, France and Italy, including numerous red options from in-state producers, and a vertical of wines from Lebanon’s Chateau Musar. Much of chef Jeremy Graham’s menu takes advantage of the taverna’s wood-fire grill, while featuring Greek classics such as moussaka and grilled octopus, as well as more modern plates like seared diver scallops and an heirloom beet salad.

Madison’s Restaurant & Wine Garden

Old Edwards Inn and Spa, 445 Main St., Highlands, N.C.
Telephone (828) 787-2525
Website www.oldedwardsinn.com
Best of Award of Excellence

Guests dining in the outdoor space at Madison’s Restaurant & Wine Garden
The “Wine Garden” part of Madison’s Restaurant & Wine Garden is open seasonally, but there’s indoor seating as well. (Courtesy of Madison’s Restaurant & Wine Garden)

The Old Edwards Inn and Spa has a singular charm amid the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Located on Main Street in the town of Highlands, the resort’s restaurant has held a Best of Award of Excellence since 2008. Madison's Restaurant & Wine Garden boasts 600 wine selections and a 7,000-bottle inventory. Sommeliers Trevor Waldrop and Chelsea Pancoast oversee the wine cellars, including the Wine Room, which doubles as a private dining room and houses various vintages of châteaus Margaux, Mouton-Rothschild, Haut-Brion and others. The list is also strong on California reds, in addition to many by-the-glass options, as well as a hefty collection of dessert wines and large-format bottles. These are joined by chef Chris Huerta’s menu of farm-to-table dishes, which includes plates like tomato and garden vegetable gazpacho, beef tartare and lamb merguez. Madison’s is open for indoor seating, but these dishes can be also enjoyed outside on the inn’s wine garden patio, with views of its neighboring waterfall.

Rainbow Ranch Lodge

42950 Gallatin Road, Gallatin Gateway, Mont.
Telephone (406) 995-4132
Website www.rainbowranchbigsky.com
Best of Award of Excellence

Tables set on the porch of Rainbow Ranch Lodge
Watch the sun set against the mountains from the patio at Rainbow Ranch Lodge. (Kene Sperry)

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. Managed by wine director Aaron Quiring, this Best of Award of Excellence–winning wine program offers nearly 400 selections focusing on California, France and Italy to pair with the regional American cuisine. The 1,900-bottle inventory is stored in a state-of-the-art cellar that doubles as a space for wine dinners, tastings and private parties. In addition to indoor seating, guests can get closer to the landscape views by dining on the porch.

Triple Creek Ranch

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

Website www.triplecreekranch.com
Best of Award of Excellence

A living room area at Triple Creek Ranch
There are plenty of activities to experience before retiring to the luxury accommodations at Triple Creek Ranch. (Pam Voth)

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 nearly 650 wine selections with an emphasis on California, Burgundy and Italy, as well as selections from Austria, Germany, Spain and farther abroad. Discerning guests will enjoy Triple Creek’s Vintner Event Weekends, which feature producers like Hill Family Estate, Et Fille winery and others. Although its chef’s table experiences have been temporarily suspended, the ranch’s rooftop bar is still open. The bar offers views of the glass-encased wine room overseen by wine director Angela Gargano, and guests can tour Triple Creek’s cellar with private wine tastings.

The View

Mirror Lake Inn, 77 Mirror Lake Dr., Lake Placid, N.Y.
Telephone (518) 523-2544
Website www.mirrorlakeinn.com
Best of Award of Excellence

Two tables by a window overlooking the water at the View
The View is located in the family-owned Mirror Lake Inn, a winter sports destination with Olympic ties. (Courtesy of the View)

The View serves an American menu with an impressive wine list on the shore of Mirror Lake. Located at the Mirror Lake Inn, the restaurant has held a Best of Award of Excellence since 2018 (after holding an Award of Excellence for 18 years) for its 450-plus wines overseen by sommelier Caleb Smith. The list’s strengths are in California, France and Italy, rounded out by New Zealand white wines and local Finger Lakes picks, which complement dishes like foie gras, risotto fritters and ricotta gnocchi. Much of chef Jared Lang’s menu features ingredients from nearby farmers and the restaurant’s own garden, and the space has been expanded to allow for distanced dining. Work up an appetite of 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 even claims that 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.

The Reluctant Panther Inn and Restaurant

17-39 West Road, Manchester Village, Vt.
Telephone (802) 362-2568
Website www.reluctantpanther.com
Award of Excellence

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, with a wine list focused on California, and many bottles priced under $100. Wine director Joseph Jez’s 180-label list offers a wide range of styles, with spotlights on Chardonnays from Sonoma, Oregon and Burgundy, as well as diverse French and Italian whites. Golden State Cabernets, Merlots, Pinots and Zinfandels form the bulk of the reds, including top examples from Opus One, Spottswoode and Frog's Leap. Chef Sigal Rocklin sources ingredients from local producers on her seasonal American menu, which includes dishes like shrimp salad, ale-braised short ribs, pistachio-stuffed lamb loin and seared halibut. The restaurant is surrounded by historic homes dating back to the 1700s, and skiing is a half-hour drive away at Viking Nordic Center. The inn also hosts events like wine-pairing dinners and cocktail parties. And while breakfast will only be served in guests’ rooms for the time being, and bar seating is currently suspended, the restaurant’s dining room and outdoor terrace are open.

Trapp Family Lodge Dining Room

Trapp Family Lodge, 700 Trapp Hill Road, Stowe, Vt.
Telephone (800) 826-7000
Website www.trappfamily.com
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. In the dining room, wine director Michael Keene oversees the list of more than 250 bottles. The program has held an Award of Excellence since 1989 and continues to offer strong selections in California and France. Chef Aaron Fowler’s menu changes with the seasons, but typical dishes include lighter appetizers like a wedge salad, as well as richer plates like pan-seared Wagyu bavette and wiener schnitzel. While indoor dining is available, the Trapp Family Lodge also has outdoor seats in its new Biergarten, as well as on its main lodge’s patio. Shared dining services like buffets are not currently available. The inn’s rooms overlook the surrounding mountains that offer a variety of opportunities for year-round activities, from mountain biking and hiking to snowshoeing and skiing.

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