Texas is known for many things, and Texas Winos wants to make sure that wine and beer are two of them. To bolster their mission, the libation-loving staff of the business whisks visitors away on tours of area breweries and vineyards. Beer tours travel around the Central Texas area visiting local breweries and sampling their wares. During vineyard tours, guests sample an array of varietals while learning about the winemaking process from vintners. But it's not all drinking and learning. Many tours have themes, including Mardi Gras, Roaring '20s, and Superheroes and Villains, in which customers are encouraged to don apropos ensembles and pretend they can see through wine.
In Italy, a "sagra" is a festival where a community comes together in celebration of a local ingredient or dish—a tradition that fits Gabriel Pellegrini's enoteca and trattoria in both spirit and practice. Classic, bistro-style Italian cuisine joins local, Texan ingredients to create an entire menu worthy of commemoration. But that isn't to say all the ingredients are local—house-cured meats accent plates of handmade pasta, and imported Mediterranean cheeses join house-made mozzarella atop hand-stretched neapolitan pizzas bubbling gold in a wood-burning stove.
Shaking up Italian Tradition
Pellegrini's dedication to craft and quality carries over into the bar at Sagra. Shelves brim with liqueurs, grappas, and wines imported from Italy, but the bartenders grow their own herbs, make their own bitters, and infuse syrups and spirits in-house for cocktails such as the La Roma, a rye Manhattan infused with orange-flower peel.
Upon sampling sips from among more than 100 wines culled from 13 countries, guests craft personalized batches of their favorite variety. Water 2 Wine?s knowledgeable winemaking team assists patrons in taking crushed grape selections and beginning the fermentation process by apologizing deeply to the grapes for being savagely crushed. After approximately eight weeks, customers return to prepare bottles and take them home. In addition to tastings and winemaking experiences, Water 2 Wine hosts sundry events, including wine glass painting classes, parties, and private soirees.
Today's Groupon gets you $60 worth of French cuisine for $30 at Aquarelle Restaurant Français, the elegant restaurant the Austin Chronicle calls "one of a handful of restaurants bold enough to offer rabbit, sweetbreads, and other organ meats to the sometimes squeamish Austin palate." It serves gourmet cuisine, such as black truffles and fresh duck foie gras, in a romantic turn-of-the-century home in downtown Austin.