7 Outstanding Winery Restaurants

Drink straight from the source at these Wine Spectator Restaurant Award–winning spots

7 Outstanding Winery Restaurants
Guests can enjoy a range of City Winery's own wines on-site at the winery's Chicago restaurant. (Corey Gaffer)
Apr 6, 2022

Winery visits are essential for any enophile and many offer high-caliber dining experiences as well. They offer a refreshing change of pace from simply picking a bottle off a shelf or a selection from a wine list, connecting you to the source for an enriched wine experience. The wine lists at these Restaurant Award winners highlight proprietary wines alongside picks from other producers to please a range of palates. Discover these seven winery destinations that know the best way to showcase their labels is in an exceptional restaurant.

For more wine-and-food destinations around the world, search all of Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Award–winning restaurants, including all our Grand Award recipients.

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!

Note: Opening hours and menus are subject to change as the industry continues to adjust to evolving regulations.

City Winery Chicago

1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago, Ill.
Telephone (312) 733-9463
Website www.citywinery.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 City Winery Chicago’s exterior
City Winery Chicago is one of five Restaurant Award–winning locations across the country. (Corey Gaffer)

Like its sibling restaurants in Boston, the Hudson Valley, New York City and Philadelphia, City Winery Chicago is a one-stop destination for dining, winemaking and socializing, hosting live music and events. Wine director Ganna Fedorova highlights a wide range of regions and styles on her eclectic, 595-label list. California, France, Italy and Spain are the main focuses, and the Best of Award of Excellence–winning program also features less-traditional picks, such as orange wines. The property has multiple dining options, including concert dining and patio dining. At the main restaurant on the ground floor, guests can experience chef Timothy Fink’s menu of dishes like duck tacos, short ribs, mussels, a hanger steak and campanelle with roasted garlic. The winery serves its own wines (most sourced from California) on tap, straight from stainless-steel kegs, cutting out the bottling process for a “fresher” wine.

Cooper's Hawk Winery and Restaurant - Esquire, Chicago

58 E. Oak St., Chicago, Ill.
Telephone (312) 736-9999
Website www.chwinery.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 Displayed wine bottles and counters at Cooper’s Hawk winery and restaurant
Much of the wine selection at Cooper’s Hawk is on display for guests. (Courtesy of Cooper's Hawk Winery and Restaurants)

Tim McEnery founded Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants in 2005 to celebrate how people come together through wine and food. Nearly two decades later, the Chicago location, one of many throughout the U.S., offers guests an exciting, Best of Award of Excellence–winning experience. At the core of wine director Emily Wines’ 1,200-label list is an eclectic selection of wines from around the world. California, France and Italy are the main regions and there are, of course, plenty of Cooper’s Hawk wines to choose from, sourced from regions across the West Coast and farther abroad. There are also special wine flights, cocktails, sangrias and non-alcoholic options. Chef Matt McMillin’s wide-ranging, American-cuisine menu is fit for many palates, with options including ahi tuna tartare, Maine lobster rolls, chicken piccata, short-rib risotto and much more. Guests can also enjoy seasonal recommendations and menus from visiting chefs, such as Tom Colicchio.

Mermaid Winery, Norfolk

330 W. 22nd St, Norfolk, Va.
Telephone (757) 233-4155
Website www.mermaidwinery.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 The Mermaid Winery dining room
The Norfolk location is one of Mermaid Winery’s two Best of Award of Excellence winners. (George Kartis)

The first urban winery in the Norfolk, Va., area, Mermaid produces small lots of wines with grapes from Virginia and California. A page of owner Jennifer Eichert’s 800-selection list is dedicated to these labels, which range from a Bordeaux-style blend to sweet selections like strawberry wine blended with Merlot. In addition to the Best of Award of Excellence–winning flagship, the winery also operates a Virginia Beach location with an expansive wine list, also a Best of Award of Excellence winner. California, Champagne and Burgundy are the strongest regions on the list at Norfolk, and picks from Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and farther abroad help round out the program. Chef Steve Weiner serves an inexpensive menu of wine-friendly dishes, from small plates like spinach-artichoke dip and hummus with naan to heartier fare like blackened tuna and cavatappi with seared chicken. Guests can also build charcuterie boards from a list of meats and cheeses, including house-made farmer’s cheese.

The Dining Room (at the Inn on Biltmore Estate)

Inn on Biltmore Estate, 1 Antler Hill Road, Asheville, N.C.
Telephone (828) 225-1699
Website www.biltmore.com
Award of Excellence

 The Dining Room at Biltmore Estate with set tables and a lit fireplace
The Biltmore Estate’s Inn dining room treats guests to luxurious American-French cuisine and a 250-selection wine list. (Courtesy of the Biltmore Company)

Built in the late 1800s by George Washington Vanderbilt II of the prominent Vanderbilt family, Biltmore is the largest privately-owned home in the United States. Vanderbilt’s descendants, the Cecil Family, now own the property. Wine director Artur Loli manages the estate restaurant’s 250-label, Award of Excellence–winning list of primarily Californian and French selections, and Biltmore’s own sparkling, white, red and rosé wines are available by the bottle or glass. The restaurant’s dinner menu incorporates French and American cuisines and uses estate-sourced herbs, produce, meats, eggs and more. The results are dishes like three-color agnolotti; a salad of carrots, parsnips and beets; sweet potato gnocchi with black truffle oil, and caramelized diver scallops with smoked oyster stew and grit cakes. Chef Sean Eckman previously worked at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa, home of Best of Award of Excellence winner Lautrec, as well as the Breakers hotel, home of Grand Award winner HMF.

Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch

738 Main St., St. Helena, Calif.
Telephone (707) 963-4555
Website www.longmeadowranch.com
Award of Excellence

 The exterior of Farmstead at Long Meadow ranch, showing its outdoor seating
Farmstead offers outdoor seating for guests to enjoy dishes made from local and organic ingredients. (Courtesy of Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch)

Farmstead celebrates the local produce and terrain of Northern California, where Long Meadow Ranch maintains five properties, including three wine estates. The restaurant is still owned by the family who purchased the ranch in 1989 and revived the vineyards and orchards that had been abandoned since Prohibition. Farmstead’s Award of Excellence–winning, 165-label wine program stars a collection of Long Meadow Ranch wines available by bottle or on tap, alongside plenty of other California labels and a few international picks. The restaurant emphasizes wines from producers who share its values, such as the all-female-run Spottswoode winery. Alongside these bottles, chef Stephen Barber serves a regional American menu using organic produce and grass-fed meats. Dishes include caramelized beets with Skyhill Farms goat cheese crema and a wood-grilled pork chop with jalapeño grits.

The Hitching Post II

406 E. Highway 246, Buelton, Calif.
Telephone (805) 688-0676
Website www.hitchingpost2.com
Award of Excellence

 Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini with bottles of wine and wineglasses
Winemakers Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini present their exclusive labels at the Hitching Post II. (Jeromy Ball)

Opened in 1986, Award of Excellence winner Hitching Post II claims to be the oldest full-service restaurant in the Santa Ynez Valley. Frank and Natalie Ostini established the original location in Casmalia, Calif., in 1952, and the family still maintains ownership today. The winery gained serious exposure when it was featured in the 2004 Academy Award–winning movie Sideways, which was filmed on location in Santa Ynez Valley. Managed by wine director Jose Reyes, the 100-label wine list almost exclusively features California wines, showcasing Hitching Post labels such as Santa Barbara Pinot Noirs (a Hitching Post tasting room is located nearby). Guests can also expect the likes of regional Riesling or American bubbly from Gruet. The restaurant calls its signature cuisine “Santa Maria–style barbecue,” a regional style of grilling that uses red oak and a secret spice blend. Chef Jesus Montano’s menu offers dishes like pork ribs and grilled quail, as well as a few seafood options.

The Restaurant at Justin

Just Inn, 11680 Chimney Rock Road, Paso Robles, Calif.
Telephone (805) 591-3224
Website www.justinwine.com
Award of Excellence

 The dining room at the Restaurant at Justin
Justin Winery boasts an acclaimed flagship wine and an Award of Excellence–winning restaurant. (Courtesy of the Restaurant at Justin)

Justin Baldwin went from investment banking to winemaking when he purchased his Paso Robles estate and planted a 65-acre vineyard there in 1981. The winery was purchased in 2010 by the Wonderful Company, which also owns Landmark Vineyards. The estate features an on-site restaurant, where wine director Ronnie Johnston showcases Justin labels while providing a variety of classic wines from around the world, particularly France and California. There are plenty of high-end Burgundies on the 380-label list, as well as a solid Bordeaux section that gives a nod to the varieties used in Justin blends. In the kitchen, the restaurant works with nearby farms and its own estate garden to supply chef Rachel Haggstrom’s farm-to-table, Californian menu. Dinner is exclusively prix-fixe (options begin at $150), and includes dishes like prime ribeye cap, a Lumina lamb ravioli and Périgord black truffle risotto. Guests can optionally add by-the-glass pairings or bottles from Justin’s library selection.

Dining Out Restaurant Awards Restaurants

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