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FAQs for Restaurant Awards—New Entries and Renewals


How do I apply for Wine Spectator’s 2022 Restaurant Awards program as a new applicant?

The 2022 application season for all applicants will be from January 4 to March 15, 2022, with early bird entry fee pricing available until February 15, 2022.

Are private clubs, cruise lines, and stadiums eligible?
Entries from private clubs are not eligible. All-inclusive resorts, cruise lines, and publicly accessible restaurants located in stadiums are eligible.

My restaurant is located outside the United States. Can I apply?
Yes, we currently have award winners from more than 79 different countries.

How can I find out if my application has been received?
Once your application has been processed and is complete, we will send a confirmation e-mail. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 10 days of applying, please double check and confirm you have uploaded your necessary materials, completed your online portion and either mailed or emailed a copy of your signed information form.

Do I need to include a cover letter?
A cover letter is highly encouraged, but not required. You can submit a one-page cover letter on your restaurant letterhead describing your storage conditions, inventory, pricing and any other information you feel is relevant to your wine program. This cover letter must be in English and include a phone number and e-mail.

My wine list is presented on an iPad. How should I submit it for review?
Please upload a PDF of your wine selections, if it is not formatted in a way that properly displays all information (vintage, producer, appellation, wine name, price, etc.) you may submit screen shots of how it is displayed to the customers.

I have more than one restaurant with the same wine list. Do I need to enter them separately?
Yes, each restaurant must have a completed online application including digital uploads of required materials.

Should I include copies of my lunch menu, press clippings or anything else?
No, only your wine list, dinner menu, cover letter, signed information form and entry fee are required. Other materials are not reviewed by the judges.

Can I submit a headshot or photos of my restaurant?
Yes. You now have the option during the online stage of the application process to upload a headshot of the restaurant’s wine director or sommelier as well as three images of the restaurant. Please have your digital photo(s) ready before you start the online portion of the renewal application.

If my restaurant wins an award, how will I be notified?
All award winners will be notified by e-mail in May, and then listed in the Aug. 31 issue of Wine Spectator. Our website's Restaurant Search database will be updated with the new winners when the Aug. 31 issue is made public. Award certificates are mailed in July.

Where can I—and diners—find our Restaurant Award winners?

  • Wine Spectator’s new mobile-friendly Restaurant Awards website, Restaurants.WineSpectator.com, is dedicated to showcasing our award winners. Search for or browse restaurants by geographic area, cuisine or wine strengths and get a glimpse into their programs with information on wine specialties, selection and inventory counts, pricing information, names of staff members and links to websites and wine lists, if available. Read profiles on the most recent Grand Award winners. Peruse Sommelier Talks, Chef Talks, Restaurant Roundups and restaurant-related news for a more in-depth look at what these programs have to offer.

  • Wine Spectator’s free iOS Restaurant Awards app points users to our winners. The app locates award winners near a user’s location and also allows users to look up the perfect dining spot in any city, state or country, choosing by wine strengths, cuisine type, pricing and more. Each restaurant’s profile page provides details on the wine, cuisine and people, with reservation numbers and directions available at the touch of a button.

  • Wine Spectator’s new Private Guide to Dining e-mail newsletter focuses on Restaurant Award winners and dining destinations with extensive wine programs. Featuring dining guides, sommelier interviews, restaurant wine picks, food-and-beverage trends, new restaurant openings and staff changes, the e-letter is free and sent twice-monthly.

  • Find a complete list of each year's award winners in the Dining Guide of the Aug. 31 issue of Wine Spectator (see the 2020 issue here), as well as detailed profiles and images of each of the year’s new Grand Award winners.

How do I get extra copies of the Aug. 31 issue of Wine Spectator that includes the complete listing of all the Restaurant Awards winners?
You can always order back copies of recent issues online. Order copies or digital editions of the Aug. 31, 2021 issue of Wine Spectator here.

Or for bulk orders of five or more copies of any Aug. 31 issues of Wine Spectator, available back through 2006, email retailsales@mshanken.com or call 800-344-0763.

Still have questions?
E-mail restaurantawards@mshanken.com.

Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards is now on Twitter and Instagram. Follow along for the latest news and updates.