Grapes naturally exist in three forms: solid, liquid, and raisin. Imbibe the fruit's most drinkable state with today's Groupon: for $10, you get a wine tasting for two, plus a bottle of cabernet sauvignon or seyval, at Basignani Winery in Sparks (up to a $25 value).
Nestled in the heart of Baltimore County's horse country, Basignani Winery stocks barrels full of handcrafted wine produced with Old World viticulture methods. In a tasting room that overlooks the rolling hills of the 11-acre local vineyard, visitors sample Basignani's dry, unfiltered, and minimalist wines, some named after the vintners' children and favorite French words. After a half-hour of sipping and schmoozing, wine-sodden tongues can debate taking home cabernet sauvignon (a $15 value) packed with blackberry and currant flavors, or the bottled fluids of the crisp seyval grape (a $10.75 value). Visitors may prepare for a picnic or take a scenic tour throughout the 25-year-old grape grounds, controlling the impulse to stomp plump vine-fruits and drink them off the ground.
Established in 1986, Basignani Winery cultivates and bottles hand-crafted red and white wines using a traditional cellar method and techniques perfected over several years. Owners Bert and Lynne Basignani have named some of their favorite wines after their four children, such as the dry Elena, a white seyval blend aged in oak, or the Lorenzino Reserve, a rich blend of cabernet sauvignon and franc melded with fruity merlot. Wednesday–Sunday, the winery holds half-hour tastings of its creations and encourages—weather and Dionysus’s mood permitting— self guided tours of the vineyard. A 20-minute drive north of Baltimore, the winery boasts rows of plump green and burgundy grapes hanging off vines as the winery’s resident border collies run and play in the fields. In spring, vibrant fuchsia petals burst from branches and delicate blush blooms droop low to the ground to provide cover for a romantic meal or microfiche exchange among visitors.