Dallas Fort Worth and Houston Have The Best Wine Lists In Texas

The Wine Spectator just published their annual restaurant wine list issue. With all the warts of measuring the quality of wine lists, you can make some generalizations by comparing whole cities. Here are the results for the four biggest cities in Texas.

NUMBER OF STARS FOR RESTAURANT WINE LISTS ACROSS CITIES

CITY                                 3 Star   2 Star   1 Star    TOTAL
Dallas/Fort Worth             1           8            37             46
Houston                              1           6            41              48
Austin                                  0          1            27              28
San Antonio                        0          1            15               16

Some conclusions:

  • Dallas/ Fort Worth vies with Houston for the best wine lists. Dallas is maybe ahead on quality, but Houston ahead on quantity.
  • Austin is less of  a wine town, with the best restaurants feeling that one-star is adequate.
  • San Antonio, given its size and tourist focus, is a comparative wine wasteland. Only the excellent steakhouse Bohanan’s received more than one star.



One flaw with the Wine Spectator methodology is that it is naively based on city names. Therefore, Addison and Irving were treated as separate from Dallas. I added them (along with Fort Worth and other metroplex towns) into one metroplex score.  This makes the measure more informed about where people actually go out. The same for Houston where, for example, The Woodlands is part of the Houston dining scene.

Another problem with the Wine Spectator ratings is that they tend to count rather than weigh. A small wine list that’s still well-matched with the restaurant’s food is underscored against a massive litany of familiar California Cabernets.

The highest-rated Dallas restaurant is Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, as it was last year.

Full results are in the current issue of The Wine Spectator.