RAMW Celebrates RAMMY Nom Wine Programs


I see some swirling, sniffing and tasting in your future. It’s time to celebrate the RAMMY 2024 Wine Program Finalists of the Year. Nominees for the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s 2024 RAMMY Awards Wine Program of the Year are hosting events and promotions all over the DMV from Monday, July 8, through Sunday, July 14.

While this promo is taking place, we here at TheListAreYouOnIt.com had some questions for these knowledgable nominees:

Wines from California. Wines from Virginia. Wines from Italy. Wines From France. Wines from Georgia. Vines are planted worldwide, allowing us to taste the terroir in the glass. Given the access to so many quality wines, how do you curate your list to feature a varied selection and introduce new tastes? What are you currently drinking that you want everyone to know about?”

So we asked, and they answered!

Elli Benchimol, Owner and Advanced Sommelier
Our talented team at Apéro & La Bohème, 3 certified sommeliers and myself, an Advanced sommelier, are constantly tasting, and trying new releases and styles coming into the market.  Our award winning wine program, recognized by the CIVC in Champagne, focuses on an unmatched selection of grower champagne, special releases, allocations and cellar collections.  We are continuously learning as a team, searching for better ways to organize, adapt and improve in an evolving market.  We love to consider ourselves classic, but we also strive for modern, eclectic and unique.

My current favorites are the Special Club Champagnes, which are grower Champagne Tête de Cuvées, that are part of the Club Tresor in Champagne. This is a special release of vintage Champagne from specific, tiny, family owned grower properties. My current favorite is Paul Bara from Bouzy.

Michelle Grant, Certified Sommelier and Italian Wine Ambassador
"Sparkling", "Whites: Fresh and Lively", "Whites and Ambers: Full and Rich", "Rosé and Reds: Smooth and Elegant", and "Reds: Powerful & Rich". Within these categories, we work to find wines with balance, food-friendly qualities, and awesome stories behind them. We've developed great relationships with over 15 different import and distribution partners that give us access to thousands of wines from around the world at affordable price points. We strive to give guests some of what they already know and love, in addition to something new that they might not have considered or found before in their local grocery store or wine shop. We're currently enjoying a sparkling sauvignon blanc from New Zealand that is the perfect companion to a summer sunset!

Phil Coppage, Owner of Irregardless
At Irregardless, our philosophy is to offer the finest wines produced both nearby and around the world.  We have wonderful relationships with local producers and as a result, we taste a lot of Virginia and Mid-Atlantic wine.  Finding those special bottles to offer our guests gets easier every season as producers continue to refine their methods.  Our focus is on ingredients, whether it's a grape, protein, vegetable or starch and as a result, the wine supports the menu as much as the menu supports the wine.

People are often surprised by the quality and variety of Virginia wine.  A few bottles that we love are the Domaine Finot Pet Nat from Afton, Virginia as well as anything from Early Mountain but particularly the Cab Franc which is a delightful pairing with both our hanger steak and bistro burger.  We make lovely pasta like the Neapolitan style pappardelle which pairs beautifully with our Ormanni Chianti Classico.

Lulu’s Wine Garden
Paul Carlson, Owner
Our goal with the wine list at Lulu’s was to be well-balanced and have representation of various regions from all over the world — to represent our diverse clientele and have a wine for every palate and taste. One main driver in our selections is seasonality — so we choose wines based on the season and what people are drinking. With a wine list of over 70+ different bottles and an online ordering system like Toast which allows us to change our wine list daily, we’re able to bring in wines we’re really excited about at that moment, offer limited-releases and hard-to-find allocated wines, shine the spotlight on underrated regions, and test the waters on some new wines we want to gauge consumer interest in.

Currently, I’m loving albariño for the summer, the salinity, the crisp texture, it’s just everything I want on a hot day in the garden. Of course, we’re drinking a lot of rosé as well, we’ve got almost 10 on the menu at the moment, all representing different styles and countries. And we just got in some really interesting and great-quality wines from Baja (a region we’re loving) that you don’t see often in the city, we’re one of the few spots shining the spotlight on Mexican wines.

St. Anselm
Jack Zarecky, Beverage Manager and Sommelier 
This is one of my favorite questions, because wine selections are built into the foundation of the beverage program here at St. Anselm. For sparkling, I love Southern England, because their chalky cliffs make a very mineral driven, Champagne-style sparkling, while Champagne has been putting out great still red wines the past few years. Recently I've been trying to find more domestic production outside of the West Coast, and the Texas High Plains have some really fun Grenache blends, similar to Cotes du Rhone, which have been really delicious. With meat straight from the grill, I've also grown to favor a Moroccan red.