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BEST WINE SELECTION IN A RESTAURANT Miami 2004 - The Captain's Tavern

The Captain\'s Tavern

The Captain's Tavern

9625 S. Dixie Highway

Pinecrest, FL 33156

305-666-5979

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Readers' Choice: The Forge

Bill "the Captain" Bowers owns and operates this 33-year-old landmark (with the indispensable help of wife Audrey). He'll soon turn 75, but he refuses to retire. "I just can't get enough of the restaurant business," he says. "It's been a great ride and I love what I do." He also loves wine, and can't help sharing his enthusiasm. In that regard, you might say he's been on a mission. Back in 1996 he told this paper: "A bottle of wine shouldn't be the center of the conversation. It should be there for enjoyment. I want people to drink wine at my restaurant every time they come." Judging by his accounting, his loyal customers are doing just that. On average they're spending $1000 each day on wine with their fresh seafood. The money goes a long way, too. Bowers is famous for keeping his wine prices low -- very low. He never charges more than twice the wholesale cost, and that's for the cheapest wine; the more expensive the bottle, the less the markup. (Most restaurants charge at least three times wholesale price.) And consider the unique wine list: a mind-boggling 500 different selections, mainly from California. Some prices: MacMurray Ranch pinot noir $16, Wild Horse pinot noir $16, Kendall Jackson sauvignon blanc $14, Canyon Road cabernet $12, Geyser Peak cabernet $14. Some retail stores charge as much.

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