After 22 years in the air force, Water 2 Wine–founder John McFadden established his first custom winery in San Antonio seven years ago. Already the business has spread as far as Milwaukee to the north and Denver to the west, bringing the country's vinophiles more than 100 wines, each of which are fermented on site and available for tastings every day. Those who want to get more involved in the crafting process may sign up to make their own wine and steep themselves in each step of the operation, from selecting the grape varieties, beginning the fermentation process, withstanding a wait of about 45 days, and finally christening their creation by smashing a tiny boat against the bottle. All custom-made wines are plastered with personalized labels made from one of Water 2 Wine’s templates or images that customers design from the ground up.
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 Austin 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.
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.
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.
Wine is an effective cure for ailments such as boredom, conversationitis, and pasta-mouth. At Dry Comal Creek, you’ll imbibe a wide range of home-bred, adult grape beverages that are complex and stimulating in a way that makes grape-juice boxes flush with jealousy. You and a friend will taste an array of 10 wines, from dry whites and reds to demi-sweet wines. The Mongrel Bastardo offers a tongueful of sweetness laced with pineapple and lemon, and Comal Red IX pairs perfectly with barbecue, lending its powerful bouquet of blackberry, cherry, and chocolate. With 10 educational palate-pleasers in your repertoire, you'll get one non-reserve bottle to take home.