Windows on the World occupied the entire 106th and 107th floors of One World Trade Center in New York City. From 1976 to 1993 it ranked number one in dollar volume in the United States, generated more wine sales than any other restaurant in the world, and was, according to its wine director, Kevin Zraly, the most famous dining establishment on Earth.
But that wasn’t good enough for Zraly, who also founded the Windows on the World Wine School, which graduated more than 16,000 students. What’s more, he is a vice president of the Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, plus he’s a recipient of the European Wine Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the James Beard Award for Wine & Spirits Professional of the Year, and the Food and Beverage Association’s Man of the Year Award. He’s a member of the Board of Trustees of the Culinary Institute of America, and he’s been featured in The New York Times, People magazine, The Wall Street Journal, GQ magazine, Newsweek, and USA Today.
Pretty impressive stats.
And yet Mr. Zraly has also, since 1985, been the author of the Windows on the World Complete Wine Course, a book he’s updated every year.
Yes, all that, in addition to the sobering fact that he lost 72 friends and coworkers on September 11, 2001.
I just tonight received the 20th anniversary edition of Zraly’s coursebook. Judging by the table of contents and by the syllabi of wine courses taught elsewhere, the book appears to parallel most Level One Sommelier Courses (the first of three certification courses), so I’m eager to devour it.
I’ll let you know how it goes.