They say size doesn’t matter, but is that still the case when it comes to a wine selection? Indeed, there’s a lot to be said for a small and wonderfully curated wine list, but when it comes to exploring new flavours and finding the perfect pairing, bigger is almost certainly better – and these destination restaurants do big wine lists in spades. From Florida to Luxembourg, and Ontario to Macau, these establishments offer an astonishing choice.
1. Bern’s Steak House
Since 1956 Bern’s has been offering guests perfectly-aged steaks, an internationally-famous dessert room and one of the largest wine collections in the world. Its cellar is home to half a million bottles, allowing for a wine list of more than 6,800 choices.
2. Grand Lisboa Hotel
The Grand Lisboa – a lotus-shaped, sparkling gold casino hotel – is not only Macau’s tallest building, but it’s also home to Asia’s biggest wine collection, with 14 enormous storerooms housing over 100,000 bottles of wine for the hotel’s 15 restaurants. The wine list, which offers 16,800 different labels, is a mighty 585 pages long.
3. Graycliff Hotel
Built by a notorious pirate in the 18th century, this Barbadian hotel is a treasure trove of treats for history fans and oenophiles alike. The cellar was originally used as a jail during the American Civil War, and the prison bars remain in place today, securing a huge collection of some 250,000 bottles spanning 500 producers in 18 countries – including a bottle of 1727 Rudesheimer Apostelwein, one of the oldest and most valuable known bottles.
4. Restaurant Chiggeri
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
This award-winning establishment was once the proud holder of the Guinness World Record for the most varieties of wine commercially available in a single restaurant – some 1,746 in 2008. While it’s since been usurped, it continues to offer a staggering selection of hundreds of wines from Luxembourg, France and beyond.
5. Palais Coburg
This luxury hotel, situated within a renovated 19th century palace, is home to six wine cellars housing some 50,000 bottles of wine. The restaurant’s 5,400-strong wine list has a sharp focus on vintages from Rhone, Loire and Burgundy, although wine director Wolfgang Kneidinger has also paid special attention to wines from California, Oregon and Germany. If you’re able to visit, be sure to ask for the cellar’s rarities list.
6. Restaurant Mosaic
Pretoria, South Africa
Proving that a big wine list doesn’t necessarily demand a big budget, Pretoria’s Restaurant Mosaic offers sumptuous tasting menus that start at just US$60 – a fair price to pay for access to its 75,000 bottle cellar, which supplies the establishment’s 6,000-selection wine list. The restaurant hosts special events throughout the year, paying homage to particular vintners, styles and themes.
7. Tour d’Argent
Commonly accepted as having the greatest wine list in France, Parisian restaurant Tour d’Argent encourages diners to arrive hours before their reservation just so they can give the wine list the attention it deserves – the 400-page list offers a jaw-dropping 14,000 selections from France’s most iconic wine regions.
8. Via Allegro Ristorante
Wine cellars are commonly squirrelled away in basements and store rooms – not so for Ontario’s Via Allegro Ristorante, where a 20,000-bottle glass cellar takes pride of place in the centre of the dining room. A further 30,000 bottles are housed elsewhere, making up the inch-and-a-half thick wine list of 5,250 selections.
Marbella’s cool and contemporary D-Wine restaurant boasts a wonderfully spacious sun terrace, perfect for perusing its 7,500-selection wine list. With its adjoining wine shop the establishment is home to some 220,000 bottles, with an unsurprising focus on Spanish wines.
10. Blackberry Farm
When the luxury inn and restaurant first opened in 2000, it had to obtain a special permit to serve alcohol. Now, there are 170,000 bottles on the premises supplying a wine list of some 9,000 selections. The list’s initial focus centred on wines from the Pacific Northwest and California, but has since expanded to the old world. A great place for fresh dishes and local ingredients, the property also employs its own cheesemaker, gardener, jam maker, butcher and forager.