Wine Spectator 2019 Restaurant Awards recently honored FLG Terroir Wine Bar & Bistro for its outstanding wine program with the prestigious Best of Award of Excellence designation. For the second year running, the Flagstaff bistro is recognized among winners from all over the globe as a top destination for wine lovers.
“I feel honored to be part of that community that takes pride in wine selection,” said FLG Terroir General Manager and Wine Director Frederic Andrew Wojtkielewicz in an exclusive Flagstaff Business News interview. “We look for boutique or craft wines, which are a more classic representation of the world of wines.”
“We’re pleased to shine a spotlight on the destinations around the world that show devotion to their wine program, while also creating a comprehensive global dining guide for our readers to enjoy,” said Wine Spectator Publisher and Editor Marvin R. Shanken in a press release. “Both novice wine lovers and seasoned sommeliers alike actively seek and frequent restaurants with exciting, well-curated wine lists.”
“I’ve had the freedom to do as I choose with this wine list, and that gives me the ability to evolve and take chances,” said Wojtkielewicz, who heads the restaurant owned by Doug Brozovsky. “I get input from everyone. I read about wine and value employee and customers’ opinions. I love talking to people about what they like and learning about their level of experimentation.”
Wojtkielewicz’s curation of 525 selections also reflects the changes in the wine industry that he has seen in the past five to 10 years, and that is a move to wines made with sustainably farmed or organic grapes. “The difference between my wines and the ones you see in grocery stores is that these wines are made by people and not driven by corporations and numbers.”
Although Wine Spectator considered FLG Terroir’s wine list strengths to be in wines from France, California, Italy, Spain and Arizona, Wojtkielewicz believes that its strong suit is in French and Spanish wines.
The Business of Wine
According to Wines Vines Analytics Report, the total sales of wine in the U.S. topped $73 billion in the last 12 months, and the nation remains the world’s largest market for wine. However, growth has been flattening, with U.S. wine sales up only 4%.
“To me, locals are the most important customers that we have,” said the wine expert, who also relies on students, summer residents and visitors to keep his wine bar and restaurant flourishing in its not-so-easy-to-find second-story location. “FLG Terroir is a conversation bar. People come here to relax.” The restaurant’s scratch kitchen serves small plates of wine-focused classic bistro fare, including oysters on the half shell, inventive salads and meat or cheese plates. Chef Kristen Barnett, who trained at Northern Arizona University, is known for her wine-flavored ice creams. A wide selection of craft beers and non-alcoholic beverages are also available.
In 2001, Wojtkielewicz moved to Flagstaff from Chicago and took over the Wine Loft that operated in the space where FLG Terroir is now located. “For the last 18 years, my professional focus is to learn everything that I can about wine,” he said.
“The more that you learn, the more that you evolve,” said Wojtkielewicz, accredited as a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) by the Society of Wine Educators. The approach of the society, according to Wojtkielewicz, is to keep others interested in wine.
The Wine Spectator program has three levels: the Award of Excellence, the Best of Award of Excellence and the Grand Award – with 2,447, 1,244, and 100 winners this year in each respective category. FBN