The 10th annual Washington Wine Restaurant awards were held in the Crystal ballroom at the Washington Athletic Club on March 26, 2012. The restaurant awards are selected by Committee that looks at restaurant wine list, staff service and training, and Washington wine events when making their choices. The selection committee is composed of members from the Washington wine Commission, Professional Wine Marketers, Washington wine producers, restaurant and wine media, Washington state Restaurant Association and the restaurant industry.

Wine media gather for award announcement

Wine media gather for award announcement

Unlike many award presentations, the Washington Wine restaurant awards was characterized by great wine and camaraderie. The atmosphere in the Crystal ballroom was jovial and professional as members of the industry and media mingled together tasting wines and 50 different Washington wineries and celebrating the efforts of the restaurant industry in supporting Washington wine. The diversity of the restaurant award selection committee was reflected in the room. Iconic vineyard growers like Dick Boushay and Patricia Gelles celebrated along side prominent sommeliers, corporate restauranteurs, chefs and wine lovers.

Washington Wine Restaurant of the Year 2012

The Metropolitan Grill

“Their philosophy is to strive to provide the most comprehensive selection of Washington State wines, and wines of the world, in the region. The Met has a team of eight sommeliers that are certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers, providing knowledgeable and friendly service while making informed and relevant recommendations. With 650 Washington State wines amongst their list of more than 1600 wines from around the world, Washington State wine accounts for 60% of The Met’s wine sales. For their continuing dedication to increasing their support of Washington State wine and creating one of the most well-educated wine service teams in the state, The Metropolitan Grill has been selected as Washington Wine Restaurant of the Year.

Walter Clore Honorarium award

Budd Gould from Anthony’s Restaurants won  for demonstrating dedication to the advancement of the Washington State wine industry.

Sommelier of the Year

Nelson Daquip, Wine Director at Canlis Restaurant was honored  for his outstanding wine knowledge and unbridled professionalism. This award was presented by Kristen Young, the 2011 Sommelier of Year, who praised Nelson’s dedication and passion to finding the perfect pairing for the customer, whatever their proclivities.

Winemaker’s Choice Award

Brennon Leighton presented this award to The Barking Frog at Willows Lodge. This award is determined by an anonymous group of Washington State winemakers who select the restaurant they feel is most supportive of the industry and Brennon acknowledged the value of not only showcasing Washington wines but also providing a great spot for wine makers to gather over a drink!

Most Innovative Wine List

RN74 has been open less than a year but is already showing a great dedication and appreciation for Washington wines.

Best Restaurant Event Featuring Washington Wines

Legendary Swirl at El Gaucho  received the award and once again I kick my self for never having made it to this event!

Best Out-of-State Washington Wine Program

Anthony’s Old Mill (Bend, Ore.) was honored for the extensive wine list and excellent staff training on Washington wines.

Washington Wine Grand Award

These restaurants are considered the true industry leaders in support of the Washington State wine industry:

Anthony’s Pier 66, Anthony’s at Columbia Point, Anthony’s Hearthfire Grill, Anthony’s Restaurants, The Barking Frog at Willows Lodge, Canlis Restaurant, Daniel’s Broiler, El Gaucho – Bellevue, El Gaucho – Seattle, Sun Mountain Lodge, The Grape Adventure, The Herbfarm, The Marc Restaurant, The Metropolitan Grill, The Triple Door, Tulalip Bay Dining, Valley Café of Ellensburg, Visconti’s of Leavenworth, Washington Athletic Club, and Waterstreet Café & Bar.

Washington Wine Award of Distinction

These restaurants have shown dedication and commitment to the Washington wine industry:

Adriatic Grill, Aqua by El Gaucho, Bella Italia, Bin on the Lake, Bistro San Martin, Blackfish Wild Salmon Grill & Bar, Bon Vino’s Bistro & Bakery, Café Flora, Chandler’s Crabhouse, Cypress Lounge & Wine Bar – Bellevue, Etta’s, Ivar’s Mukilteo Landing, John Howie Steak, Katya’s Restaurant & Wine Bar, Local 360, Masselow’s, Palisade Waterfront Restaurant, Pike Brewing Company, Purple Café & Wine Bar – Bellevue, Purple Café & Wine Bar – Kirkland, Purple Café & Wine Bar – Seattle, Purple Café & Wine Bar – Woodinville, Ray’s Boathouse, Ristorante Italianissimo, RN74, Rover’s Restaurant, Salty’s at Redondo, Salty’s on Alki, Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar – Bellevue, Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar – Seattle, Sullivan’s Steakhouse, Swing Wine Bar, The Fireside, Urbane, Visconti’s Italian Restaurant, Washington State Convention Center, and Wild Ginger at The Bravern.

Washington Wine Certificate of Recognition

These are restaurants that are building support of the Washington State wine industry:

Blueacre Seafood, Breadline Café, Churchill’s Steakhouse, Coho Café, Elliott’s Oyster House, Fonte Café & Wine Bar, Harborside, Il Fornaio, Ivar’s Acres of Clams, Ivar’s Salmon House, Matt’s in the Market, Mission Street Bistro, Poco Wine Room, Pomegranate Bistro, Ponti Seafood Grill, Seatown Seabar & Rotisserie, Smash Wine Bar & Bistro, Spencer’s for Steaks & Chops, The Capital Grille, The Fort Worth Club, The Lincoln Center, The Scotch and Vine, Toulouse Petit Kitchen & Lounge, and Volterra.