A licensed urban winery, Time to Make Wine churns out batches of wine and winemakers. The facility presents 2,400 square feet of temperature-, humidity-, and light-controlled space, inside which visitors learn how to concoct personalized potables. When needing a sip of inspiration, visitors may also browse Time to Make Wine's own products, or stock up on accessories ranging from corks and wine kits to fermentation containers.
A towering wine rack spans an entire wall and glimmers with more than 1,000 bottles. Across the room, a lineup of nitrogen-regulated Enomatic machines dispenses samples from 80 wines to be sipped, swirled, and theatrically spit while reclining on a leather sofa, or while sitting at the long wooden bar. Small, shareable plates populate Sarasota Vineyard's menu in the forms of cheeses, roasted olives, and prosciutto-wrapped figs, ideal for pairing with wines or barley pops from a list of 20 beers.
Presented by the River District Alliance, the annual Fort Myers New Year's Eve Downtown Countdown helps tens of thousands of local revelers ring in the New Year in style. As midnight approaches, the main stage's ball drop counts down the waning seconds till the New Year and braces visitors for the keynote spectacle: a dazzling fireworks display over the New Caloosahatchee water basin. The bands and DJs play long after the display, entertaining crowds until as late as 2 a.m., at which point guests are encouraged to return home and set all their clocks one year forward.
Avenue Wine Café introduces guests to dozens of wines and more than 70 distinct beers designed to imbibe in-house or at home. Wines hail from diverse lands including Italy, Argentina, and Spain, and patchwork a robust menu fit for a variety of occasions. Toast to the splendor of Argentinian grapes with a glass of Trumpeter merlot ($8) or savor a sweet glass of Harlow Ridge chardonnay ($8). Patrons pining for a thick beer can grab a bottle of Left Hand Brewery's milk stout ($6) or sniff out the scent of gingersnaps and citrusy hops in a draft pint of Hennepin Belgian-style ale ($8).
The cooks at Café Gabbiano ensure that their Italian creations taste authentic by following a wealth of family recipes. In addition to crafting classics, such as lobster ravioli and chicken breast sautéed with marsala wine, they keep diners on their toes by preparing hand-cut and milk-fed 14-ounce veal chops a new way every night. According to YourObserver.com, more than 220 wines complement meals, and sommelier Marc Grimaud prudently pairs wines and dishes upon request. Feasts unfold across 4,000 square feet, including an outdoor, climate-controlled patio and private dining rooms modeled after wine cellars. For visitors who prefer meals on the go, chefs pack baskets with appetizers and bottles of wine—ideal for romantic dinners on the beach, with quick bites between low and high tides.
Wine shop and wine bar WineStyles stocks more than 225 wines, most of which are from small- and mid-size producers from around the globe. It takes the guesswork out of pairings, labeling all the bottles with their unique flavor profile—or Wine Style—so customers know which wine goes with which food dish. For those who want expert help, the knowledgeable staff works one on one with each customer to find a wine to suit their tastes. Customers can also sample a selection of 20 wines at the tasting bar, purchase wine by the glass, or purchase more than 20 specialty and craft beers from around the world.
Vino aficionados who love to regularly try new wines can take advantage of WineStyles’s two wine clubs: the Taste Club and the Learn Club. The Taste Club offers customers two wines per month selected by the chief taster. The Learn Club offers them three per month. Club members pick up their bottles each month at the shop, where they can relax in wine clubs’ club house.