Although rum first comes to mind when envisioning the Caribbean adult beverage scene, many fine dining restaurants have developed stellar wine cellars and lists. This list toasts the best of the best.
Graycliff Restaurant | Nassau, Bahamas
The aged wine cellar at Graycliff — Photo courtesy of Graycliff Hotel
The world's third largest wine cellar, with more than 275,000 bottles and 5,000-plus selections from 20 countries, has been winning the Wine Spectator Grand Award (three glasses) since 1988 – the only restaurant to win the honor in all of the Caribbean.
Graycliff is also the winner of our 10Best Readers' Choice Award for Best Restaurant in the Caribbean, as well as the first restaurant in the Caribbean to receive five stars. Attend one of their wine luncheons complete with tastings and a tour of the cellar, which served as an American Naval soldier garrison in the 1770s. Guests can also arrange a group dinner in the cellar's private dining room surrounded by Spanish vintages.
Grand Old House | Grand Cayman
The Wine Room private dining at Grand Old House — Photo courtesy of Grand Old House
The island of Grand Cayman makes an impressive showing in the Wine Spectator annual awards. Seven of the 10 Caribbean restaurants receiving honors call the island home, including this longtime culinary institution. Grand Old House shines for its California, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Rhône, France, Piedmont, Champagne and Spain selections.
The restaurant keeps a select collection of its nearly 2,200 varieties in the handsome Wine Room, a private dining room for up to 10 people.
Blanchards | Anguilla
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With more than 500 wine selections, this fine dining mainstay supplements its global cuisine with an ever-changing wine menu specializing in California, Burgundy and other French wines. Its wine steward travels regularly to France to curate the offerings.
"Our philosophy about wine is all about enjoyment and we completely avoid the attitude often associated with a great wine cellar," the owners promise on their website.
Amanyara | Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
The Asian and water aesthetic of Amanyara — Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton
Amanyara counts its strengths in California, Bordeaux and Italian vintages. Whether you're drinking in the view from the sleek, Asian-inspired circular bar, The Restaurant or a romantic seaside table for two, wine caps the experience at this design-forward luxury property. Its 9,500-bottle collection includes 590 different selections.
Jade Mountain Club | St. Lucia
Wine-drinkers can toast the view of the Pitons from Jade Mountain Club — Photo courtesy of Jade Mountain Club
The sophisticated wine list at Jade Mountain circles the globe: Argentina, Chile, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Lebanon and Israel along with France, Italy, Germany and the United States. It includes 245 selections, about a dozen of them available in half-bottle size and more than 20 by the glass.
The list is particularly strong in the sparkling wine department, with prestige cuvees and vintage champagnes such as a Krug 1996 with a $1,160 price tag. Given the romantic, toast-worthy, twin peak view from its dining space, champagne seems ultimately appropriate.
These are the crème de la crème of the Caribbean
These are the crème de la crème of the Caribbean
Screaming Eagle | Aruba
Dine alfresco, indoors or even in bed at Screaming Eagle — Photo courtesy of Screaming Eagle
With its sleek, modern look and chef-driven trendy cuisine to match, Screaming Eagle specializes in boutique California wines. It stocks 2,155 bottles of 325 different labels, including one that fetches $30,000.
Should you plan on imbibing heavily, you can even book a Dinner in Bed. Besides their fantastic wine collection, they consistently win kudos for their creative Euro-inspired food.
Balter | St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Light, airy and wine-focused Balter — Photo courtesy of Balter
The island of St. Croix has grabbed fame in the past decade for its dining excellence, including a 7th place spot in our Readers' Choice Awards for Best Restaurant in the Caribbean. Along with that amazing dining comes noteworthy wining. There is nothing same-old about chic Balter with its inventive global style, and that goes for its wine list as well.
Among its 135 selections, you will find sections devoted to "Interesting and Funky" whites and reds from little-known vineyards with a focus on California and French vintages. Of its 440-bottle collection, nearly 30 are available by the glass.
1919 Restaurant | San Juan, Puerto Rico
The wine cellar within 1919 Restaurant — Photo courtesy of Condado Vanderbilt Hotel
Not surprising on a Latin island, a large proportion of 1919 Restaurant's 160 varieties of wine come from Spain. California and France are, too, well-represented in the 1,500-bottle, floor-to-ceiling wine cellar that occupies one side of the dining room.
A classic feel with water views defines the upscale resort restaurant, which offers prix-fixe menus with wine pairings and special winemaker pairing dinners starring the chef's contemporary, artisanal dishes made from locally sourced ingredients.
Galangal | St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Galangal feels like an adventure. An adventure that takes your taste buds to Thailand, to France – and with its wine imports from Franken and Baden – to Germany. The warm combination of modern and ancient, relics and art furthers the sense of discovery.
Its extraordinary inventory of 1,840 bottles, 200 labels also includes the vineyards of California and Italy to complement its contemporary Asian cuisine.
Calabash Cove Resort & Spa | St. Lucia
The Calabash Cove Cellars — Photo courtesy of Calabash Cove Resort & Spa
The Calabash Cove Cellars are stocked with a carefully curated selection of global wines available to guests of the resort's Windsong Restaurant and C Bar, two venues with exquisite views of the Caribbean Sea.
The menu lists only a couple dozen vintages, but what it lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality and originality. It covers all varietals, but is specifically strong on sparkling wines, French whites and reds.