Barry Cothran from the Rutherford Grill is named 2009 On-Premise Wine Marketer of the Year by Restaurant Wine Magazine, with La Crema Winery being named as Winery of the Year for 2009.

I believe it’s no coincidence that the Rutherford Grill is one of my favorite restaurants, and La Crema is one of my favorite wines. I discovered Rutherford Grill while working at Mondavi, and I discovered La Crema years ago when I first moved to California. While working at K-J, La Crema was poured in their tasting room (as it’s owned by Jess Jackson) – but is not being poured there any longer. I used to love opening another bottle to make sure it wasn’t corked or oxidized.  What a thrill that was!

Rutherford Grill’s wine director Barry Cothran has been named the 2009 On-Premise Wine Marketer of the Year by Restaurant Wine magazine, in its recent issue (#129).

The annual award is given to an individual working full-time in the hospitality industry who has direct influence on the design and implementation of an operation’s (or company’s) wine program, and has achieved considerable or unusual success during the previous 18 month period.

Cothran, who has been this Napa Valley restaurant’s wine director since 1997, is also the company-wide wine director for Hillstone Restaurant Group, a 48-unit company best known for its Houston’s concept (of which there are now 31, in five states).

According to Ronn Wiegand, “As we know, 2008 was a difficult year in the U.S. economy, and especially for the nation’s upscale restaurants. Nevertheless, Cothran helped Rutherford Grill post a 14% wine sales increase in 2008 (over 2007), and also played a major role in boosting Hillstone’s company-wide wine sales by 15% in 2008-this latter, by essentially doubling the number of wines offered customers all Hillstone establishments. (Other Hillstone concepts include Bandera, Gulfstream, and R+D Kitchen.)”

Complete details of Rutherford Hill’s wine program are found in Restaurant Wine, issue #129. Visit Restaurant Wine’s Website for more details.

In the same issue, publisher Ronn Wiegand, MW MS, has selected Sonoma County’s La Crema Winery as its Winery of the Year 2009. As in previous years, only one winery in the world is selected for this distinction, based on the quality, value, and consistency of its wines during recent years.

RESTAURANT WINE is a bimonthly journal on wine for the hospitality and wine industries, and has been published by Wiegand since 1988. For more details on these awards, plus many more stories about the food and wine industry, visit Ronn’s site.