Jan E. Bruse med vinflaske

One of the world’s best wine cellars

Park Hotel Vossevangen has one of the world’s best wine cellars. However, the kitchen, which mostly caters for tourists and conferences, means that the hotel doesn’t make it into the world’s best restaurants with respect to the wine list.

‘This is one of the best wine cellars in the world. But I can’t give the hotel full score.’
That was allegedly what the journalist from the American journal Wine Spectator said to the employees at Vossevangen when he visited in July.

The Michelin Guide for wine

Once a year, Wine Spectator awards what is known as the world of wine’s answer to the Michelin Guide stars. Park Hotel Vossevangen has previously been voted Norway’s best restaurant in terms of its wine list by the newspaper Dagens Næringsliv’s wine guide. This year, the wine magazine deemed the hotel’s wine cellar to be so interesting that it considered including the hotel’s restaurant in the very elite group – the world’s 70 best restaurants with respect to wine. This was not to be the case, however.

‘I wasn’t at work, but was quickly summoned when those who were at work realised that something was afoot. The first thing he asked was where we kept the silver. He then complained that there were lower middle class French tourists in the restaurant. When he was done, he sighed and said that this was one of the best wine restaurants in the world, but that he would lose his job if he recommended the highest score when his boss received complaints about the standard of the restaurant.’

So says a rather frustrated Merete Bø to dn.no Vinguiden. She is a sommelier and wine director at Park Hotel Vossevangen.

Unparalleled in Norway

The wine cellar has been built up by the hotel’s owner Jan Bruse Andersen, and it is unparalleled in Norway today with more than 3,500 different brands and vintages and many thousands of bottles hidden in the hotel’s many cellar rooms.

By comparison, one of Wine Spectator’s favourites, the restaurant at Malliouhana in Anguilla in the Caribbean, which is marketed as one of the world’s best places for wine connoisseurs and bon viveurs, only has 1,400 different brands and vintages.

Wine Spectator awards the Grand Award (highest level), the Best of Award of Excellence (second-tier) and the Award of Excellence (basic level).

Must have silver and a lot of wine

This year, the Award of Excellence was awarded to 2,995 restaurants around the world. The Best of Award of Excellence was awarded to 700 restaurants, while 77 restaurants received the top-level Grand Award. The Grand Award is awarded to restaurants that typically have at least 1,500 different wines on its wine list. Park Hotel Vossevangen has more than 3,500 wines of different vintages and from different producers.

‘We could probably have had more old vintages,’ says Merete Bø, safe in the knowledge that Voss beats New York, Paris, the Caribbean and Hong Kong when it comes to wine.

Other Norwegian restaurants also did well

Two Norwegian restaurants received a better rating this year than last. No Norwegian restaurants were awarded the Grand Award. Seven were awarded the next best category: Craigs Kjøkken and N.B. Sørensen in Stavanger, Huset in Longyearbyen and the Oslo restaurants Klosteret, Oslo Spiseforretning and Lysebu right outside Oslo, in addition to Restaurant Elysée in Voss. Third-level ratings were awarded to the Oslo restaurants Baltazar, Dr. Kneipps Vinbar, Markveien Mat og Vinhus, Statholdergaarden and Skytterkollen in addition to Solvold in Sandefjord.

Norway’s only two-star restaurant, Bagatelle, was not included last year as it submitted its wine list three days too late to take part in the competition. The restaurant’s chef Eyvind Hellstrøm also thought that taking part was very expensive. Bagatelle evidently hasn’t submitted its list this year either.


Tom Marthinsen
Published: 15 August 2006