Brooklyn Winery's team crafts small-batch, artisanal wines in Williamsburg?and if winemaking in an urban environment sounds odd to customers, they can always find out how it works during Tuesday winery tours. The tour guides walk groups through their entire process, from the moment the grapes arrive at the facility to when the cork goes in the final wine bottle, trapping the wine genie inside for good. Of course, the process varies from wine to wine. The team ages some vintages in stainless-steel containers, while the barrel-fermented riesling is aged, predictably, in oak barrels, an old-school technique that originated in prerefrigeration Germany. The result? A quirky riesling with hints of soapstone, mushroom, and honey.
The team doesn't just reclaim old German traditions, though. For their unpretentious 1,200-square-foot wine bar, they also reclaimed most of the building materials. In the cozy, unpretentious bar, visitors sip vintages pulled from wine racks that were once World War II ammo boxes; the walls, meanwhile, were barn wood in a past life, and the bar itself is made from old church pews, completing the aura of modernity rooted in history.
At Staten Island Winery, wine enthusiasts transform into bona fide winemakers. They do so under the guidance of Bob Rando, who holds rank as the winery's owner and as an accredited winemaster. Bob and his team walk aspiring vintners through the process, starting with the crushing of grapes and ending with the bottling of finished products. Participants can even choose what kind of wine they make, either by selecting from the facility's list or coming up with their own blend.
John Gizzi and Diann Greco, the American Wine Society?certified wine judges at Make Wine With Us, teach wine aficionados to create their own wines using grapes harvested in Californian and Chilean vineyards. At the start of the nine-month process (California grapes in the fall, Chile grapes in the spring), winemakers-to-be assemble with fellow enthusiasts to learn the intricacies of the trade. Patrons learn to crush and destem grapes in a machine called a crusher-destemmer, named after the device's favorite Germanic metal band. Following the crushing process, a hydraulic press forces juice into barrels, where it shall remain until the conclusion of its sweet, sweet metamorphosis.
At the end of the nine-month period, newly minted winemakers lean on family and friends to fill, cork, and custom-label the finished product. Budding vintners then tote home their vintages to share with family, friends, and robot butlers with built-in carafes.
A parade of bas-relief pastoral figures cavorts across the entryway of Delia?s Lounge, signaling both the spirit of revelry and the wealth of mesmerizing visual artifacts to be found inside. A fireplace warms a room stuffed to its plush gills with velvet sofas, leopard-print banquettes, wooden sculptures, and a giant reproduction of the Mona Lisa serenely surveying the cozy scene. Until the wee hours of the morning, the kitchen fills the small, candle-topped tables with a variety of appropriately shareable plates such as pan-seared crab-cakes, chicken quesadilla rolls, hamburger sliders, and shrimp cocktail with house-made horseradish sauce.
New York Magazine dubbed Delia?s a Critics? Pick, averring that ?you won't find tastier, or larger, cocktails in Manhattan.? Martinis range from the spare to the sweet: Hendrick's Gin bears a simple slice of cucumber, apple martinis blend liqueurs, vodka, and an apple slice garnish, and the Godiva white-chocolate martini presents vodka, cacao, and white-chocolate liqueur in a glass lined with a chocolate drizzle.