The wine connoisseurs at the independently owned Cork & Olive Lake Mary franchise introduce visitors to international wines, most of which originate from small, family-owned vineyards. In addition to pouring samples at a broad, wooden table, Cork & Olive’s team hosts events that range from in-home tastings to the monthly Sip&Dip, where wines come paired with select appetizers. Besides the many bottles of wines, the shelves also display craft beers, sake, chocolates, and cheeses, as well as gourmet olive oils and spices. Specialty services include custom wine-bottle labels for events, special orders for hard-to-find wines, and gifts such as wine aprons and holders and memoirs from picked-over grapes.
Towering oak trees cast their shade across the 3,600 acres of plantation land that surround Florida Estates Winery, but the precious grapes can be found hanging from trellised vines that sprout in their own sunnier patches of soil. Refreshing and approachable, the wine selection includes the soft-bodied Plantation Red as well as the Plantation Blush, which balances its notes of ripe fruit with a gripping core of zesty acidity.
It's no wonder Vines gives equal weight to "Grille" and "Wine Bar" in its name. The Restaurant Row anchor is hugely popular for its top-quality meats and fresh-caught seafood; a meal could begin with grilled octopus or oysters Rockefeller before transitioning to a cut of Prime filet. But the wine list is at least as impressive, a catalogue of 600-plus bottles from around the world that's been recognized with a Wine Spectator Best Award of Excellence. After dinner on any given night, guests can linger over a fine cigar or a gentlemanly mouthful of chewing gold as they listen to live jazz music from the likes of Tonya Phillips Staples and Barbara Walker.
A self-proclaimed “T-shirt democracy,” Mother Falcon opens up the floodgates of fashion design, digitally printing t-shirts with customized art, graphics, and text. The staffers invite clients to create their own statements with a process that begins with a blank canvas. Customers can bring their own tops, or browse the shop’s selection of blank T-shirts, many of which hail from brands such as Anvil, Bella, and Next Level. Customers then bring in digital files of their own artwork, photos, haiku, or official SAT score reports. Finished pieces emerge hot from the printer in as little as 24 hours.
At Juliana’s Orlando, head chef Carl Cherkaoui adds a dash of detail to his Italian cuisine with his thorough mind for sauces, spices, and herbs—a passion he developed while studying the culinary arts in Morocco, France, and Germany. His globally informed flavors grace house specialties such as the crabmeat-crusted grouper fillet and the pan-roasted pork loin in a balsamic glaze. And in the eatery’s main dining room, he and his waitstaff encourage diners to sip Italian and Californian wines amid the glow of a fireplace that someday hopes to be promoted to oven.
Choice is a double-edged sword. That's why even though Vines Wine & Spirits stocks its shelves with a multitude of its titular beverages, it has a surefire way to make sure customers aren't overwhelmed with the choices. The shops' staff picks list is a carefully selected rundown of wines that represent a range of varietals and prices, from the upper-shelf Achaval-Ferrer Malbec characterized by spicy flavors and a long finish to the budget-friendly, full-bodied Bodegas Teso La Monja Almirez. This approach goes hand-in-hand with their mission to make shopping for wine and spirits a friendly and inviting experience, a goal further bolstered by their wine club and educational events.