Wine Spectator has revealed its 2016 Restaurant Award winners. This year, 3,595 restaurants hailing from all 50 states and 71 other countries were recognized for their outstanding wine programs. The awards are given across three categories: Award of Excellence, Best of Award of Excellence and Grand Award.
The Award of Excellence recognizes restaurants whose wine lists feature a well-chosen assortment of quality producers along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style. This year, 2,414 restaurants achieved the Award of Excellence, with 529 of those earning it for the first time in 2016.
The Best of Award of Excellence, granted to 1,093 restaurants in 2016, honors wine programs that take their commitment a step further; it recognizes lists that display excellent breadth across multiple regions and/or significant vertical depth of top wines, along with superior presentation.
The Grand Award is the crown jewel for restaurants with world-class wine programs. This recognition is presented to restaurants that show uncompromising, passionate devotion to the quality of their wine program. These wine lists, which typically have 1,000 or more selections, deliver serious breadth of top producers and outstanding depth in mature vintages, in addition to selections of large-format bottles. Along with excellent harmony with the menu and superior presentation, these restaurants offer the highest level of wine service. All candidates for the Grand Award are inspected by Wine Spectator to evaluate the overall dining experience and cellar.
This year seven restaurants earned the Grand Award for the first time. They join the ranks of 81 Grand Award winners that successfully renewed their title this year. The seven new winners are Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, N.Y.; Epicure in Paris; Geranium in Copenhagen, Denmark; Jean-Georges in New York; the Modern in New York; Murray Circle in Sausalito, Calif.; and the Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena, Calif.
"I had the chance to work in two restaurants that already had the Grand Award," said Michaël Engelmann, wine director for the Modern. "The past two years have been intense, but it was fun to be able to build the wine list to even greater heights. Winning a Grand Award was a goal of mine—now I need to update my LinkedIn profile!"
Discover and learn more about Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Award winners at the new Restaurants.WineSpectator.com website, which provides a free, searchable, revamped database of restaurants in our awards program. Additional editorial content includes Sommelier Talks, Chef Talks, Restaurant Roundups and restaurant-related news.
In addition, all award winners will be featured in the Aug. 31 issue of Wine Spectator (available on newsstands July 19), which also includes detailed analysis of wine-list trends and full profiles of the new Grand Award winners.