Jill Highsmith

Angus Barn Expands Reputation for Wine Excellence

Wins Wine Spectator’s Grand Award for 19th Straight Year

Raleigh, N.C., August 11, 2008 – For nearly 50 years, the Angus Barn restaurant has served up mouth-watering steaks and delectable desserts to thousands of area residents and visitors. Widely regarded as the place in the Triangle to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, business deals and other special occasions, the Angus Barn is also gaining a global reputation for its outstanding wine selection.

For the 19th year in a row, the Angus Barn has won Wine Spectator magazine’s Grand Award – its highest honor. Grand Award winners are recognized for exhibiting “an uncompromising, passionate devotion to the quality of their wine program.” In 2008, only 73 restaurants in the world received the Grand Award.

The Angus Barn is the only restaurant in the Carolinas to win a Grand Award this year. In fact, wine connoisseurs would need to travel to the Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Va., or Blackberry Farm in Galland, Tenn., to find the nearest Grand Award winners.

It was Angus Barn co-founder Thad Eure Jr.’s dream to bring to North Carolina a wine list comparable to those in esteemed restaurants in California. “Many first-time guests are pleasantly surprised to see our 89-page wine list offering 1,800 selections,” said Van Eure, Thad’s daughter and now owner of the Angus Barn. “We’re known as the beefeater’s haven, but we’re also a wine lover’s dream.”

Maintaining Excellence To win the Grand Award once is an amazing accomplishment. To win it 19 years in a row requires unsurpassed dedication, especially in light of Wine Spectator’s increasingly stricter standards. There were 86 Grand Award winners as recently as 2005.

These days, Grand Award winners typically offer 1,500 or more selections, and feature serious breadth of top producers, outstanding depth in mature vintages, a selection of large-format bottles, and excellent harmony with the menu. They must also demonstrate superior organization, presentation and wine service.

Although California reds are the most popular selections at the Angus Barn, they are sure to have a wine to please every palate. Pinot Noir is a very trendy wine at the moment, popularized by the movie “Sideways.” Other popular varietals include Zinfandels and Syrahs.

The Angus Barn’s 26,000 bottles are valued at close to $2 million and range from a $19 house red from Wente Brothers in Livermore, Calif., to a 1961 Chateau Ptrux from Bordeaux, France that lists for $7,5000. Examples of extremely rare wines include a 1910 Barbeito Bual from Madeira Island.

The Certified Sommelier Overseeing this spectacular wine collection is Wine and Beverage Director Henk Schuitemaker, a Certified Sommelier. In 23 years with the Angus Barn, he has educated the staff on fine wines and kept up the collection’s world-class status.

“I try to pick really unusual and different kinds of wines that are a small quantity production and hard to find,” said Schuitemaker.

His love and knowledge of wine has been enhanced through self-study as well as attending Seagram’s wine training course with Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein. Schuitemaker has also attended numerous wine events and classes with Wine Spectator’s Wine Experience over the past 15 years.

To become a Certified Sommelier, Schuitemaker attended intensive wine training classes, and then had to pass a rigorous exam that included a blind tasting, a written exam, a service exam, and an oral exam on wine and food administered by a Master Sommelier.

Schuitemaker has taken introductory Master Sommelier courses and one day hopes to earn that prestigious distinction. Currently, there are only 144 Master Sommeliers so designated by the Court of Master Sommeliers.

“Even though we might have one of the greatest wine lists in the world, you will still find that our goal is to help everyone find that perfect selection that will enhance their dining experience,” said Schuitemaker. “A large selection like ours can be intimidating, so we want customers to feel comfortable in asking for assistance from a wine steward or sommelier.”

The Angus Barn boasts two magnificent private dining rooms and a teaching kitchen in its wine cellar, and will gladly accommodate diners’ requests for tours. To find out more about the Angus Barn and its stellar wine selection, visit


About the Angus Barn
Founded in 1960, the Angus Barn is a distinguished fine-dining establishment in Raleigh, N.C., owned and managed by Van Eure. Featured in Southern Living magazine and on the CBS program “48 Hours” for its cuisine and exemplary service, the Angus Barn has won numerous awards, including the Ivy Award, DiRNa (Distinguished Restaurants of North America) Award, Wine Spectator Grand Award and Fine Dining Hall of Fame Award. In 1997, Restaurant Guild International named Angus Barn Executive Chef Walter Royal as its Five Star Chef of the Year. In 2006, Royal triumphed over a celebrity Iron Chef on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” television show. For more information, visit