While in Sonoma on business in 1992, tech entrepreneur Max Lloyd fell in love with the fermented grape. Though his father and grandfather had been in the business of winemaking, it wasn't until his encounter with California-grown, European-style varietals that he resolved to dabble in the family trade himself. Launched as a part-time project in Virginia and transplanted to its current location in 2001, Grove Winery and Vineyards culls its grapes from two estate vineyards that span more than 70 acres in addition to a handful of local vineyards. The staff meticulously handpicks the grapes and gently presses them with a basket press to yield their fresh milk.
Travels In Wine Tours' co-founders, Kimberlee Young and Derek Schuler, share their love of wine, food, and travel with curious tourists through tours designed and led by certified sommeliers. Epicurean scenic tours of boutique wineries, personalized luxury Napa vacations, and custom weekend getaways marry viticultural education with flavorful indulgence as guests take in picturesque panoramas of vineyards that stretch to the horizon before curving upward and forming bridges to the moon.
At any given time, the Rioja! WineKeeper's handsome wooden casing houses 12 bottles in a temperature-controlled setting. These conditions keep the wines fresh and result in a full-flavored pour. A quick flick of the tap and a crisp white or bold red streams into Riedel crystal, the only glassware used at Rioja! A Wine Bar. Between these sophisticated pouring and storing methods, and the sheer immensity of the full selection—some 800 wines—Rioja!'s dedication to the appreciation of wine is palpable.
Their tapas menu was designed with elegant pairings in mind and—much like playing "spin the bottle" at the UN—highlights flavors from around the world. Prosciutto bruschetta, stuffed dates, and a chorizo and manchego plate show off the kitchen's Mediterranean leanings. South African-style jerky, on the other hand, indicates a willingness to infuse an Old World dining tradition with New World recipes. The bartenders also keep a healthy selection of craft beers from brewers such as Bell's, Duck Rabbit, and Founders.
Triad Homebrew Supply’s full-time purveyors of yeast, brew kits, buckets, and tubes dedicate themselves to making homebrewing accessible to all. Long dissatisfied with the paltry materials available in local stores, the owners stock everything from recipe books to elderberries, and they even provide an after-hours number that customers can call to get emergency supplies. Brewing classes, held roughly once a month in the lot outside the store, give newbies an introduction to their art or an efficient way to use up the lifetime supply of barley they won in the lottery.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Chinqua Penn Plantation houses a 1920s mansion once owned by Thomas Jefferson Penn and Beatrice Schoellkopf Penn, its luxurious environs flanked by fields of grapes and packed with an eclectic collection of art. Embark on a guided educational tour of the countryside abode's 27 rooms to marvel at masterpieces such as the entryway's Mosaic of Moses and the dining room's American Gothic painted entirely with ketchup. The mansion's artistic furnishings are culled from 30 different countries, all ensconced in internationally themed chambers such as the Chinese Room and the Italian Room. Attendees can fly chaperone-free in a self-guided garden tour to admire the plantation's greenery, nestled within 22 acres of maintained landscaping. Sync up your watch with the 1928 stone clock tower or discuss celebrity gossip with the cast-lead Cupid statue in the courtyard.
Studio 91’s elegant gallery space and boutique wine selections combine the passionate products of both artists and vintners, regaling the eye with fine art and the palate with fine wine from family-owned vineyards. Budding oenophiles get to tipple a 3-ounce tasting from a batch of four boutique wines, served in a combination of either two white wines and two red, one white and three reds, or all reds. To match each sip with sustenance, Studio 91's servers will raid the Mouse King’s treasury and bring forth a cheese plate of gourmet brie, aged sonoma jack cheddar, sliced apples, olives, walnuts, and fresh bread. Gourmet chocolate toffee almond truffles, accompanied by fresh raspberries and whipped cream, dance out with the last glass of red wine. The Studio 91 crew's guidance for properly tasting a vino will sharpen your senses to such nuanced flavors as black currant and democracy.