The Best Winery Restaurants in America
The Restaurant at JUSTIN, Paso Robles, CA
Over its more than 35 years in operation, this Central Coast winery, once named Wine Enthusiast’s “Winery of the Year,” has become well-known for its Bordeaux-style wines. Their top vintages are featured, alongside many other selections from around the world, at The Restaurant at JUSTIN. Helmed by executive chef Will Torres, a California School of Culinary Arts graduate, the restaurant’s seasonally changing menus often highlight produce grown on the estate itself — from an “Estate Garden Salad” of house-grown vegetables to an Angus skirt steak with lovage-smoked jalapeño chimichurri, an ideal pairing for their much-loved red blend “Isosceles.”
The Bistro at Red Newt, Red Newt Cellars, Hector, NY
First established alongside the Red Newt Cellars by Debra Whiting in 1998, the Red Newt Bistro has always celebrated the region’s best farmers—and without patting themselves on the back for it too much. The winery gained early acclaim as one of the top Riesling producers in the Finger Lakes. After Whiting passed away in 2011, the Bistro has morphed into a friendly counter-service operation under the direction of chef Jeremy Personius, with modern comfort-food favorites ranging from a kale Caesar salad to kimchi grilled cheese and griddled mac-and-cheese with ham, bacon, or pickled peppers. With a wood-burning stove and cozy interior, it’s welcoming in all seasons but especially inviting in the winter.
Coopers Hall, Portland OR
It’s an urban winery, it’s a taproom, it’s a restaurant: Coopers Hall produces its wines within a former auto body shop, where guests can sip and taste in the very same space as each bottle is made. The 8,000-square-foot space houses an ambitious restaurant from chef Keith Morris, whose cuisine reflects both French-Alsatian influences and today’s Pacific Northwest: mustard spaetzle with wild mushrooms and leeks; cider-braised lamb cheeks with apple and potato purée. With forty-four taps of wine, beer, and cider, Coopers Hall serves many of its own wines on tap, from Oregon Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris to Grenache and Cab Franc, with an eclectic international mix as well.
The Restaurant at King Estate Winery, Eugene, OR
Often credited for helping Oregon Pinot Gris win national recognition, this organic winery has been in operation for more than 25 years, and opened its acclaimed restaurant in 2006. The menu celebrates the fare of the Pacific Northwest, with offerings ranging from Dungeness crab ravioli to Northwest cioppino to wild mushroom cavatelli with fava bean pesto; much of the produce is picked from the vineyard’s thirty acres of gardens and orchards. Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir of course anchor the wine list, but other varietals are available by the bottle or in King Estate wine flights.
Fiction at J. Bookwalter Winery, Richland, WA
In the heart of Washington wine country, J. Bookwalter is the work of a West Coast family in American agriculture for ten generations; it was John Bookwalter who worked in the wine world before establishing the family’s own winery in 1982. Best known for wines including the literarily-named “Protagonist” (Cabernet Sauvignon) and “Conflict” (Merlot - Cabernet Sauvignon - Cab Franc), the winery is also home to the celebrated restaurant Fiction. Under executive chefs Francisco Mendoza and Justin Webb, the menu spans comfort food (smoked steelhead pizza, lamb burger with rosemary chevre) and more upscale fare (Kurobota pork tenderloin, duck breast with melted cabbage).
BKW, Brooklyn, NY
For years, Brooklyn Winery has been a borough favorite, creating wines in Wiliiamsburg from New York and California-grown grapes. More recently, the group launched a Crown Heights restaurant to feature its own wines alongside a full menu. Under chef Michael Gordon, the restaurant crafts dishes as well-suited to snacking with a few glasses of wine as to a full dinner: pumpkin-tahini dip and elaborate charcuterie and cheese plates, or yellowfin tuna two ways and roasted salmon with a potato-celeriac-leek gratin. The restaurant features Brooklyn Winery’s entire lineup of wines, with some selections only available onsite; it also doubles as a wine shop, selling the winery’s bottles retail.
The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards, Livermore, CA
Over its thirty years in operation, the Restaurant at Wente Vineyards has always been a sterling example of California wine country cuisine — fresh and dynamic with Mediterranean influences. Executive chef Mike Ward’s menu changes daily, always featuring produce from the restaurant’s own organic garden, and always prepared with wine in mind, whether caviar served with the vineyard’s Brut sparkling, or filet mignon and foie gras with a heavier red poured alongside. With more than 1,500 selections, Wente’s wine list has earned accolades from publications like Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, and many more, and it features the vineyard’s own best bottles alongside those from across California and the world.
Enoteca at Signorello Estate, Napa, CA
Napa has some of America’s finest wineries, and some of its finest restaurants — but due to local regulations, winery restaurants are few and far between. But Signorello Estate offers one of the region’s best dining experiences with its “Enoteca,” under chef Michael Pryor. Both a certified sommelier and a Culinary Institute of America graduate, Pryor creates five-course meals, served with six of the estate’s wines, for intimate groups of up to eight guests. Dishes are created to complement the wines rather than the other way around; recent pairings have included a butter-poached spiny lobster, “shrimp & grits style,” with the 2013 Vieilles Vignes Chardonnay; and a grilled speck-wrapped quail with frisee, baby arugula, and maitake, with the 2012 Syrah.
J’s at Nashoba Valley Winery, Bolton, MA
Far beyond its winery, the 52-acre Nashoba Valley estate houses orchards, a brewery, farm-grown produce, and much more. The Zagat-rated farmhouse restaurant J’s (named for the owner’s two sons Jesse and Justin) showcases not only the estate’s 40-plus wines and beers — with varietals including Vignoles, Chardonnay, St. Croix and Cabernet Franc — but also the fruits, vegetables, herbs, and more from the onsite gardens and orchards. Under executive chef Andy McWilliams, the menu proudly represents New England culinary traditions: buttermilk-cornmeal fried oysters, grilled lobster tails with johnnycakes, wild boar chop with succotash. Its idyllic hilltop setting in the heart of rural Massachusetts only heightens the appeal.
Veraisons Restaurant at Glenora Wine Cellars, Dundee, NY
Executive chef Orlando Rodriguez and sous chef Sarah Hassler, both Culinary Institute of America graduates, work closely with more than thirty farmers in the Finger Lakes area to craft seasonally-changing menus. The two also select and curate the wine list, which changes just as often. While Glenora’s wines are of course highlighted, the wine list also embraces other regions, primarily those on a similar relative latitude, allowing for fascinating comparisons: Each month, a “Terroir Tasting” showcases a Glenora wine alongside two others of the same varietal, such as a Riesling flight, presenting the Glenora’s Finger Lakes Riesling with pours from Germany and South Africa.
Ravinous Kitchen, Geneva, NY
After opening Ravines Wine Cellars in 2003, Morten and Lisa Hallgren launched Ravinous Kitchen in 2010 as a place to showcase the local produce and foods of the Finger Lakes. Today, the kitchen is run by chef Scott Riesenberger, who has a background in Michelin-starred restaurants in France and New York. Both the Seneca Lake and Keuka Lake tasting rooms offer wine-friendly lunch menus consisting of sandwiches, savory tarts, and charcuterie, but Riesenberger’s talents truly come out at The Ravinous Table on most Saturday nights, when he creates four-course meals to pair with the vineyard’s own wines and guides guests through the pairings. Orchards, herb gardens, and beehives supply a great deal of the ingredients.
The Restaurant at Niner Wine Estates, Paso Robles, CA
This Central Coast winery cultivates its vines across three different vineyards in Paso Robles and Edna Valley. Overlooking their Heart Hill Vineyard is the winery’s restaurant, where the team goes to great lengths to source its ingredients: There’s extra-virgin olive oil milled from the property’s 350 olive trees, eggs from their flock of 20 chickens, and a great deal of produce pulled from the recently-planted Estate Garden. Lunch offerings pair dishes with estate wines (seared shrimp and bok choy with 2015 Albarino; pork belly sandwich with 2014 Pinot Noir), while monthly themed pop-up dinners allow the kitchen more creativity (such as “French Country Night” with steak au poivre, and Moroccan night with lamb tagine).
Round Pond Estate, Napa, CA
With an orchard, an olive mill, and an acclaimed winery, this Rutherford estate is well-known as a Napa destination. Offering a range of tastings across the elegant property, Round Pond also excels on the culinary front. The weekly “Garden to Table” Sunday brunch is a four-hour experience including a garden tour, cooking demo, and full brunch with wine; “Il Pranzo” lunches, by appointment only, include tours of the winery garden and olive groves, vinegar and olive oil tastings, and an array of cheese, produce and charcuterie served on the terrace—with estate wine, of course.
Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, St. Helena, CA
Sonoma winery and farm Long Meadow Ranch has always focused on food-friendly wines, an emphasis clearly revealed at their St. Helena restaurant Farmstead (which is not actually in the same place as the winery). Under executive chef Stephen Barber, the menu showcases the full range of Long Meadow Ranch products — from estate-grown wines to organic produce, extra virgin olive oil, honey, and grass-fed beef and lamb. From a soaring space in a former nursery barn, with large rustic tables and an open kitchen, the menus reflect the region’s best; cioppino with dungeness crab, clams, mussels, calamari and local fish; California arborio rice with wineforest mushrooms, roasted baby carrots, Meyer lemon and garden herbs. While the wine list includes many Long Meadow Ranch bottles, including single-estate wines, it also reaches across California and the globe.
Robert Sinskey Chef's Table, Napa, CA
Often regarded as one of the best wineries in Napa (and, by extension, America), 100% organic Robert Sinskey Vineyards is well known for its Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and signature blends. But beyond the vineyards, the Sinskey estate is a bountiful place in all respects, with sheep grazing in pastures, bees buzzing around hives, thriving gardens and orchards, and even an experimental truffle farm. At “Chef’s Table” weekend meals, a tour through the gardens, vineyards, and cellars is followed by a five-course food and wine tasting; under the culinary direction of Food & Wine 1996 Best New Chef (and wife to Robert) Maria Helm Sinskey, it’s among the top culinary experiences in the Napa Valley.
Palladio Restaurant at Barboursville Winery, Barboursville, VA
One of Virginia’s best-regarded wineries, Barboursville was founded in 1976, but sits on an idyllic 18th-century estate a 30-minute drive from Charlottesville. Known for its historic property and its “Octagon” red Bordeaux blend, it’s also home to Palladio, a Northern Italian restaurant reflecting the Italian heritage and winemaking approach of its founding owner, Gianni Zonin, and resident winemaker, Luca Paschina. The elegant restaurant serves indulgent dishes such as saffron risotto with charred baby octopus (suggested pairing: their 2015 Chardonnay Reserve) or the braised leg of rabbit Coniglio Alla Cacciatora (best with the 2013 Merlot Reserve).