Studio Earns 2017 Wine Spectator Grand Award

For the fourth consecutive year, Studio, the award-winning signature restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach, has received the elite Grand Award from Wine Spectator magazine. Along with its modern French food with California influences created by Executive Chef Craig Strong, Studio’s wine program retains its place in the exclusive club of only 89 Grand Award winners across the globe.

Wine Pour
Wine from Studio’s collection of 30,000 bottles (Photo by Baldemar Fierro)

“To be recognized by Wine Spectator with a coveted Grand Award is always a greatly prized honor, and our entire sommelier team is tremendously proud of this affirmation of our work,” said Wine Director Troy Smith. “We’re grateful and thrilled to be considered alongside the world-class restaurants on this list of winners.”

Studio Wine Director Troy Smith
Montage Laguna Beach Beverage Manager Troy Smith

According to Wine Spectator, The Grand Award “is the ultimate recognition for restaurants with world-class wine programs. This coveted award is presented to restaurants that show uncompromising, passionate devotion to the quality of their wine program. These wine lists, which typically have 1,000 or more selections, deliver serious breadth of top producers and outstanding depth in mature vintages, in addition to selections of large-format bottles. Along with superior presentation of the wine list and its excellent harmony with the menu, these restaurants offer the highest level of wine service. Wine Spectator inspects all candidates for the Grand Award to evaluate the overall dining experience and cellar.”

Wine tags from Studio’s collection of 30,000 bottles (Photo by Rachel Weill)

Studio’s wine program is comprised of approximately 2,500 selections with 30,000 bottles in inventory. The list, which is highly dynamic and constantly evolving, features a variety of formats with a particular focus on half bottles, giving guests the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of unique 375 ml selections. The restaurant’s sommelier team is comprised of four full-time sommeliers, three of whom hold the advanced sommelier diploma from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Ongoing education of the entire service staff is a priority, including weekly blind tastings as well as annual sommelier certification examinations in conjunction with the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Studio Restaurant
Wine from Studio’s collection of 30,000 bottles (Photo by Rachel Weill)

Strong’s modern French cuisine pairs well with chardonnay and pinot noir, so Studio has made these areas of focus, sourcing a variety of producers, price ranges and appellations, both domestic and imported. Other areas that merit special attention are selections of red Bordeaux and Italy, as well as California cabernet sauvignon. In addition, Strong is particularly passionate about the cheese and dessert courses at the restaurant and, therefore, offers a wide variety of dessert wines with special emphasis on vintage port.

A full profile of winners is at and will appear in the August 31 issue of Wine Spectator, available on newsstands July 18.