Lupo Italian Kitchen wins Wine Spectator Award

Lupo Italian Kitchen in Rehoboth Beach recently received a 2017 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.

Lupo Italian Kitchen in Rehoboth Beach recently received a 2017 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.

Sommelier Mike Zygmonski, wine director for SoDel Concepts, created an all-Italian wine list for Lupo Italian Kitchen that earned the Rehoboth Beach restaurant a 2017 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Sommelier Mike Zygmonski, wine director for SoDel Concepts, created an all-Italian wine list for Lupo Italian Kitchen that earned the Rehoboth Beach restaurant a 2017 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Lupo Italian Kitchen in Rehoboth Beach is one of six restaurants in Delaware to win a 2017 Wine Spectator Award. "Restaurants continue to raise their game when it comes to wine, and we are particularly proud to present this year's winners," said Marvin R. Shank, editor and publisher of Wine Spectator.

Lupo, one of SoDel Concepts' 10 coastal Delaware restaurants, received an Award of Excellence for its well-chosen assortment of quality producers and a thematic match to the menu in price and style.

Lupo's all-Italian list, which features up to 100 selections, was crafted by Mike Zygmonski, SoDel Concepts wine director and a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. 

"Having a wine director on our team has helped solidify SoDel Concepts' commitment to the guest experience and the staff's training," said Scott Kammerer, president of SoDel Concepts, which also owns The Clubhouse at Baywood Greens and Plate Catering. "Mike has done an excellent job creating unique wine lists at our restaurants. Each one suits the theme, whether it's a seafood restaurant or it offers Latin-inspired cuisine. He's also implemented a wine-education program to help our staff better serve our guests."

Zygmonski, a Lewes native, spent three years working in New York restaurants, including Eataly, where he developed an appreciation for Italian wine.

Judges considered the wine list’s variety and price points when giving Lupo Italian Kitchen a 2017 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.

Judges considered the wine list’s variety and price points when giving Lupo Italian Kitchen a 2017 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.

"When we remodeled Lupo and Chef Parks created a vibrant new menu, I felt that we should only offer Italian wines, like all the great Italian restaurants," Zygmonski said. "It's easy to find good Italian wines because there are so many choices. The challenge is choosing the best selections for Chef Chris' beautiful menu, while at the same time making sure those wines are the best quality at the best price point for the guest."

The Italian-only list is a rarity not only along the Delaware beaches but also in the region. In addition, Zygmonski categorized the wine list by body - light, medium and full - rather than by grape or region. However, the regions are also named, and the user-friendly list has a map of Italy so guests can see the wine's origin.

"It's exciting for a server or manager to pick a great wine that they think our guests will appreciate and that pairs well with the food," Zygmonski said. "To watch them discover and enjoy a new wine is really rewarding."

The complete list of award winners will be in Wine Spectator's August issue, which hits newsstands Tuesday, July 18. To see the list online, go to https://Restaurants.WineSpectator.com. For more information, call 302-226-2240 or go to www.lupoitaliankitchen.com and www.sodelconcepts.com.