Comforting American cuisine meets fine wine at Bottle Stop Wine Bar in Occoquan, Va. As this name suggests, husband-and-wife duo Emil and Kim Wigode originally opened the space as a retail wine shop. The couple added a full-service restaurant in 2013, where bottles can still be purchased to go at retail prices.
The wine program earned its first Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2017 before being upgraded to Best of Award of Excellence in 2020. Managed by Emil, the list is a diverse collection of 350 labels, with 25 wines by the glass and four wines available on tap. Bottle Stop also curates a monthly rotation of premium selections served via the Enomatic wine-dispensing system or Coravin. The program’s strongest regions are California and France, with producers such as Caymus, Duckhorn, Joseph Drouhin and M. Chapoutier. There’s a monthly wine club for local customers, which features two bottles with tasting notes and a recipe for a suggested food pairing. For those who want to dive deeper into the program, the restaurant shares informative, sommelier-led videos about the selections on its YouTube channel.
While the dining room was shut down by COVID restrictions, Bottle Stop sold wines to go curbside and also renovated the kitchen, which is helmed by Emil too. Dishes include bacon-wrapped dates, mac and cheese with smoked gouda and changing specials like crab-stuffed blue catfish with green beans and pepper coulis. The restaurant is now open for limited indoor dining in accordance with pandemic protocols, and there’s outdoor seating available as well.