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The Bavarian Inn nabs Wine Spectator’s Best Award of Excellence

By Staff | Jul 27, 2018

Vice President David Asam shows off two of The Bavarian Inns most valuable bottles of wine--a 2012 Harlan Estate from Napa Valley, California, worth $1,200, and a 1994 Petrus Pomerol from Bordeaux, France, worth $3,500. Photo by Tabitha Johnston.

SHEPHERDSTOWN — The Bavarian Inn was recently recognized for its selection of wine.

On July 17, Wine Spectator magazine released its list of the world’s best restaurants for wine, which is available online and in its August 2018 edition. For its 15th year in a row, The Bavarian Inn has made that list, and once again received the Best Award of Excellence designation this year.

“Wine Spectator is the No. 1 magazine for wine in the world, so anybody in the restaurant industry that has anything to do with wine, subscribes to the magazine and reads up on each month’s new wine selections and information,” said the Bavarian Inn’s President Christian Asam. “The great thing about this magazine is, I know people who keep this magazine in their suitcases or overnight cases. They use it to determine where they’d like to eat, for a lot of wine travelers.”

Christian said the knowledge he and his brother, Vice President David Asam, developed in the hospitality and wine industries, before returning to run their family business at the beginning of the 2000s, gave them a vision for how they could improve the inn’s collection.

“When I came back to The Bavarian Inn in 2000, I said one of my goals was to increase the selection, because I was confident that if we had a wider selection, that would attract more people who love wine to The Bavarian Inn,” Christian said. “And it’s a fun passion for me, that I get to share with my customers.”

Christian said the inn won the lowest of the three prestigious awards, the Award of Excellence, for four years, before moving up to the Best Award of Excellence designation in 2008. The third, and highest, award category was won by 91 Grand Award Winners this year, whose wine selections are worth well over a million dollars.

In January of each year, Wine Spectator accepts copies of restaurants’ wine menus and judges whether they demonstrate a well-chosen assortment of quality producers, extensive selections with significant vintage depth and excellent breadth across multiple regions.

According to Christian, curating a wine selection is no easy task.

“A lot of the judges’ criteria is based on the amount of selections that you have, to increase your inventory. But then it’s not just about placing an order for thousands and thousands of dollars worth of wine, but of sampling and selecting a large variety of quality wine,” Christian said, mentioning he, David and Beverage Manager Todd Armstrong sample distributors’ wines about once a week.

“Almost everything on our list we have tried, outside of the ones that are over a thousand dollars a bottle — we don’t get to pop those as often,” he said, with a laugh.

David agreed, as he showed off some of the business’ most expensive bottles of wine — a Harlan Estate 2012 vintage from Napa Valley, California worth $1,200, and a Petrus Pomerol 1994 vintage from Bordeaux, France worth $3,500.

“It’s like collecting art, in a way. They’re very rare and very hard to find,” David said.

The Bavarian Inn was one of 11 restaurants in West Virginia awarded by Wine Spectator this year, of which Hollywood Casino’s Final Cut Steakhouse is the only other winner within the Eastern Panhandle, winning the Best Award of Excellence for the first time this year.