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The Beard Awards and regional wine

James_beard_foundation_awardsThe Wine Curmudgeon has always had a middle of the country perspective when it comes to the Beard Awards, the food business' version of the Academy Awards. That is, the winners always seem to be from either coast, and especially from the East Coast, and especially from New York City. Right, Sharon Hage?

So it's not surprising that restaurants that usually win a Beard award, wine or otherwise, have very little do with wine that doesn't come from an established region. That logic, if depressing, is understandable. Beard award-winning restaurants cater to people who want big wines that get big scores. Or, as a top-name chef who has a Beard on his resume told me, "my customers expect the Wine Spectator top 100 on my wine list. I lose business if those wines aren't there."

So when a restaurant with regional wine wins a Beard award, I'm practically typeless. Seriously. It has taken me longer to write this four-paragraph post than others that were twice as long.

But there it is: Terroir, a wine bar in Manhattan, winning for best wine professional this year — and Terroir serves New York wine at each of its three locations. Some of it is even featured on the epic wine list. Thank you, Paul Grieco (who won the award). It's a pleasure to find someone who understands that wine is not about what we're told to drink, but about finding something we like — regardless of where it is from.

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