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.
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 and flavors to create an entire menu worthy of commemoration. But that isn't to say all the ingredients are local. Imported Mediterranean cheeses and cured meats join house-made mozzarella atop hand-stretched neapolitan pizzas before bubbling gold in a wood-burning stove.
Such dedication to craft and quality carries over into the bar. 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 that are inimitable in freshness and flavor.
Located in the heart of Austin, the building's custard-yellow and sunset-orange walls complement the warm earth tones of well-trodden floorboards. Black banquettes and chairs surround white linen-draped tables. During the day, natural light streams in through the windows, but at night the soft glow of flickering wall sconces and pendant lamps suffuses the dining area—a suitable atmosphere for a romantic evening or shadow-puppet reenactment of the Battle of Philippi.
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.
The staff at Texas Winos brings out the fun and unconventional side of wine. Eager to share their passions, they take guests to the state's finest vineyards, allowing tour-goers a behind-the-scenes look at the winemaking process while meeting new friends. Hands-on experiences include primers on how to expertly taste wine as guides expound on the vagaries of the fermentation process and explain exactly where baby grapes come from. Holiday-themed tours inject festive seasonal glee into tours, with special events on fetes such as Cinco de Mayo.