Award-Winning Restaurant Wine Lists

Food and wine can be transformed in a magical way when paired with the right dancing partner.  I often think of food and wine as a marriage of sorts – they can bring out the best and worst in each other. So you better choose wisely!

The great pairings are truly harmonious – leaving you longing for more. And there’s some great news for all of us living in Hampton Roads, we have more than 20 restaurants in the area that have received high praise from Wine Spectator in their annual Restaurant Wine List Awards. So, what are you waiting for? Make reservations for a great food and wine experience this weekend!

Wine Spectator Award Levels: (International) 

Award of Excellence: 2,563 winners – These recipients have a thoughtful selection with a focus on quality producers and varietals that works well with the menu in terms of price and style. These restaurants tend to have wine lists with more that 90 selections.

Best of Award of Excellence: 973 winners – This award goes to restaurants that exceed the requirements of the Award of Excellence level with great vintage depth and exceptional producers from several major wine regions. Some of these establishments have lists that exceed 1,000 choices.

Grand Award: 81 winners – This highly coveted award goes to restaurants that have surpassed both levels in terms of selection, large format bottles and vintage depth. These establishments have a relentless passion for their wine program and offer exquisite service and presentation.

That’s me enjoying a fabulous wine dinner at Zoes featuring Pride Mountain Vineyards.

All of our local restaurants (listed in alphabetical order) received a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for their wine program with the exception of Sonoma Wine Bar & Zoes. Both of these establishments received the Best of Award of Excellence.  The only restaurant in Virginia to receive the Grand Award is the Inn at Little Washington located in Northern Virginia. Congratulations to all of the local winners.

Newport News



Virginia Beach


For a complete list of all restaurant award winners, pick up this month’s Wine Spectator or visit them online for a complete list of national and international winners.

If you’re looking to create perfect pairings in the comfort of your own home, visit my website at and sign-up for my member site.