“If you care about who grows your corn and tomatoes, you should care about who grows your wine,” states the wine list at Spoon and Stable. Virtually every restaurant on Wine Enthusiast’s 100 Best list cares about who makes the wine it offers. Many, however, are guiding diners not via region, grape or style, but by the personal stamps and philosophies of the people shepherding the wines from grape to bottle.
“Ours is a list of winemakers and growers who, through their practices and passion, remind us of the farmers of the Hudson Valley who grow the vegetables and raise the animals that take center stage on our menu,” says Michael Rice, the wine director at Fish & Game.
Momofuku Ko’s recent move to a new, larger location included a new wine list as well, centered around producer stories and personal photos—it’s part travelogue, part high-school yearbook.
“With the new list, we’re really trying to keep the list focused to our favorite producers who inspire us most, and the others they’ve inspired, mentored or otherwise impacted along the way,” says Jordan Salcito, the beverage director at The Momofuku Group.
Underbelly exclusively offers wines from family-owned and operated producers, with personal tales strewn throughout its list. The Grill Room augments its list with “producer pages” on favorites like Domaine Edmond Vatan, Château Rayas, Sadie Family, Domaine Gauby and Domaine Charvin.
As Ka’ana Kitchen’s Jeffrey Groh says, “Highlighting passionate producers working hard to keep indigenous varietals viable in a global marketplace is a basic responsibility for a wine director lucky enough to be working in this golden age of wine.”