There has never been a more thrilling time to be a wine-and-food lover. As a New Yorker, I’ve been lucky enough to experience some of the most diverse and lauded restaurants and wine lists in the world. But today, a revolution is happening across the entire country, and savvy restaurateurs are leading the way.
The vibrancy, energy and brisk business I’m seeing, especially in wine-driven restaurants, are extremely encouraging after several years of downturn. Today, people are eating and drinking out again, and increasingly discerning palates are pushing restaurateurs and wine directors to new heights.
As proof that our economy is righting itself, wine lovers are eating out again like never before. Sales for American restaurants in 2013 are forecasted at a record $660 billion.
Put another way: This year, Americans will spend more than half of our food dollars at restaurants.
Restaurants never lost their game during the tough financial years, and innovation has been ongoing, but there’s a perfect marriage of smart business and consumer demand happening in the wine-and-food space.
Increasingly, interesting wine lists are surfacing in accessible—rather than just pricey—restaurants. The modern wine-and-food experience is about choice—in ambiance, in palate, in style and in price—without compromising quality.
According to Bill Terlato, one of the country’s leading wine marketers, “We have developed a strong food culture in the United States, and interest in fine dining is driving the growth and appreciation of fine wine.”
We celebrate this new era of quality and diversity in dining with our highly anticipated list of America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants. From the iconic to the iconoclastic, this collection of America’s most exciting and influential wine-driven eateries is your guide to the best and brightest that the culinary world has to offer.
Looking for a new wine to pair with food of every type on your next night out or at home in the kitchen? Contributing Editor Michael Schachner offers his perspective on the crisp, refreshing wines of Galicia. These Spanish wonders from the regions of Rías Baixas, Ribeiro and Ribeira Sacra are affordable, food friendly and stand up well to summer’s heat.
Also in this issue: craft beer trends, outlined by Tasting Director Lauren Buzzeo, how gourmet tacos are transforming the culinary world and value is still key for wine drinkers, according to California Editor Steve Heimoff, even if wallets are bulking up.