Restaurant Wine Recommendations that you can trust

With top quality, value, and packaging these are restaurant wine recommendations that you can trust.

As you sit at your restaurant table, browsing through the many pages of the wine list, you wonder to yourself, what do I really know about any of these wines, and how should I pick the perfect wine to drink tonight? There are wines from regions around the globe with varietal names you have never heard of let alone know anything of. And, will you actually like the wine you pick? You could stick to your usual, or pick one of the cheaper options thinking it’s a safe choice, or pick a random wine hoping for the best. 

Since last year things have looked different. We have ordered more take out than the rest of our entire lives, and then wondered the same - which wine would go perfectly with my meal tonight? 

What if we told you that professional sommeliers, master sommeliers who buy wines for their restaurants every day have tasted thousands of wines and keeping you in mind have chosen the best wines for you to drink. That is exactly what you can expect from the winning list of wines at the Sommeliers Choice Awards

The judges who are sommeliers, master sommeliers, and prominent names in the wine industry have looked at the quality, the value the wines offer for their price point, and how appealing the packaging is. All of these factors in combination make up the score for these wines. 

The total is aggregated and from a score of 100, wines that score 96 and over are awarded a double gold medal. This is truly a gold standard of wines that is difficult to achieve by any means. It showcases the excellent quality and dedication these wines have been made with, combined with the factors of value and packaging. 

Wines that score between 90 and 95 points are awarded a gold medal. These wines will not disappoint your palate and are recommended by these expert judges. Silver medal-winning wines score between  80 and 89 points. Bronze winners score 70 to 79 points.

This prestigious competition is designed with wine drinkers like you in mind. The judges consider many factors when they score the wines, how well it pairs with food, how true it is to the terroir it is grown in, and how its label looks. 

These are the criteria in detail that the judges at the Sommeliers Choice Awards look at when tasting and scoring wines. 

Food Pairing

The Food Pairing score of a wine is measured based on the variety of dishes that that wine can be paired with instead of just one or two.


This is a term in wine tasting used to describe the degree to which a wine reflects its varietal origins and thus demonstrates the signature characteristics of the grape from which it was produced, for example, how much a Merlot “tastes like a Merlot”. It is an important component in judging a wine competition when wines of the same variety are pitted against each other.


This will be assessed based on how agreeable the wine is for its target customer and chemical analysis. SCA will measure quality by the wine’s appearance, aroma, body, taste, and aftertaste.


Great wine doesn’t always cost an arm and a leg as any sommelier will tell you. So when we begin talking about award-winning wines they will not all break the bank. Many different factors go into the cost of the wine, and it is not directly proportional to its quality every time. 
Value in this context means how well the wine is priced based on its quality. Judges will blind taste and write what they think the fair price of the wine should be. If they think it offers excellent value, the score should be close to 100 and if they think it should be priced lower or higher, then the score will be low. The metric to be used here is the on-premise price vs quality.


Packaging will be measured by how well judges think the wine will be perceived by the consumer. The package will be judged for the On-Premise market considering factors like label design and information, closure, and overall look. This does not involve boxes, cartons and bags. It is how they think the product will be perceived when placed on a wine shelf amongst thousands of other wines.

A separate weighted score will be given for each of the parts of the judging process. The scores will be added up to give a final score from which individual prizes will be awarded.

Double Gold – 96 points and above
Gold – 90-95 points
Silver – 80-89 points
Bronze – 70-79 points

This particular competition, the Sommeliers Choice Awards is unique in that it also looks at wines in a by-the-glass category, just how you drink at a restaurant. The thought behind this is that judges decide if they would order a second glass of the wine they are drinking. Points are given accordingly.

Awards are also handed in these special categories:

— Wine of the Year
— White Wine of the Year
— Red Wine of the Year
— Sparkling Wine of the Year
— Rose Wine of the Year

These wines are especially judged from the point of view of being drunk in restaurants with a meal. 


Some of the extraordinary wins from 2020 are: 

— Wine of the Year: Kalaris Pinot Noir
— Wine of the Year BTG: Cuvelier Los Andes - Malbec
— White Wine of the Year: Château de Lacroux - Vigne de Maurival 2018
— White Wine of the Year BTG: Cannonball ELEVEN Chardonnay
— Red Wine of the Year: Kalaris Pinot Noir
— Red Wine of the Year BTG: Cuvelier Los Andes - Malbec
— Sparkling Wine of the Year: Cremant De Loire Chateau
— Sparkling Wine of the Year BTG: Schlumberger Gruner Veltliner
— Rose Wine of the Year: Sin Banderas Riesling
— Rose Wine of the Year BTG: Sin Banderas Riesling
The Top 100 Wines Guide released by the Sommeliers Choice Awards is a great reference point for the best wines chosen from the competition from around the world. 

The esteemed judges that make up the panel are:

Cami Lehmann - Purchasing, Wine Programs, and Marketing at Maggiano’s Little Italy, Carrollton, TX

Paul Carayas - Wine Director at Chez TJ, San Mateo, CA

Chappy Cottrell - Award-winning Wine Director, Certified Sommelier, and Wine Podcast Host

Maximilian Kast MS - Master Sommelier and Director of Education at Broadbent Selections

Mariya Kovacheva MS - Master Sommelier and Regional Wine Education Manager Americas at Pernod Ricard


Brett Davis MS - Master Sommelier and Sales and Education Manager at E. & J. Gallo Winery

Laura Williamson MS, CWE - Master Sommelier, Owner of Unlock Your Palate Inc and Partner at RingIT Inc

Gillian Ballance MS DWS - Master Sommelier and Education Manager at Treasury Wine Estates

Ira Harmon MS - Master Sommelier and Fine Wine Specialist at Vin Sauvage, Las Vegas, NV 

Koen Masschelein - Director Of Food And Beverage at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Yountville, CA

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