While we were on vacation last week, we heard back from Pardis Stitt about the conspicuous absence of award-winning chef/owner Frank Stitt's restaurants from the Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence list. As we suspected, they chose not to participate. (And while I focused on Highlands' wine list in my original post, simply because we are most familiar with it, Paris pointed out that they are pretty proud of the lists at Bottega and Chez FonFon, as well -- and rightly so.)
Here's what Pardis said: "Frank and I made a conscious decision several years ago to not participate. I think back in the day it was perhaps even a greater honor, to be awarded their award of excellence. Over the years as they started charging more and more for it, and just seeing some of the restaurants that I was very familiar with, not necessarily locally but just around the country, [we] just [became] very concerned as to the award process, and felt perhaps it was something we did not need to be a part of."
UPDATE: An editor from Wine Spectator posted a comment in response to this post.