When Harmony Winery co-owner Kevin Croak was a teenager growing up on Long Island, he experimented with making wines from sugar and the juice of wild berries. "I used to hide them in the cemetery behind my house, hoping my dad wouldn't find them," Croak told the Indianapolis Star. "But I didn't understand about fermentation, and the bottles blew up." Luckily for visitors to the cozy tasting room and winemaking studio, Harmony Winery has mastered all aspects of the vino-crafting process. Now, they invite their guests to do the same through fun, informative classes and you-make-it bottling sessions.
Clients stop in to sample some of Harmony's 35 different vintages amid luxurious leather sofas, a warm fireplace, and friendly company, pairing their wines with fine chocolates and seasonal dinner selections. Guests can cozy up to a tasting bar or commune in an event space outfitted with a big-screen TV and surround sound. Aspiring vintners hone their crafts with the winery's extensive selection of supplies, which includes custom labels for weddings or holidays, bohemian-crystal decanters for letting wine breathe, and vacuum pumps for trapping wine-spoiling poltergeists. Harmony Winery also demonstrates how cost-effective and healthy homemade wine can be, and how self-crafted vino can have lower levels of tannin and sulfites.
In an interior that blends the aura of a club with that of a good friend’s living room, minimalist geometric paintings reminiscent of Rothko’s work hang alongside classical portraiture on the walls. Beneath the swaths of color, patrons direct their own tasting experiences with self-serve Enomatic machines, which draw from dozens of bottles to dispense servings of 1–6 ounces of red or white wines. More than 30 domestic and international wines star on the wine list, from sweet rieslings to cabernet sauvignons to the deep red of a rebellious bull’s Camaro. Sharable plates, including baked brie with apricot compote and flatbreads topped with steak and Stilton blue cheese, fuel conversation.
In 2007, Vine and Table remodeled and metamorphosed from a humble wine and cheese caterpillar to the WiFi-emitting artisan monarch it is today. The hybrid grocer and café offers up a selection of epicurean delights that includes chocolates and candies, wine, beer, and spirits that hail from across the globe. Partnering with both artisan cheese makers in Indiana and the best cheesemongers from across the globe, Vine's diverse selection of cheeses provides milky bliss for every palate. Blue De Graven ($19.95/pound) is a creamy blue cheese from Denmark with a mild back end that substitutes saltiness for a pinch of sweetness. The six-year-aged Widmer Cheddar ($21.99/pound) is a rich, nutty cheddar that works wonders in soups and on sandwiches, whereas the whimsical stilton with blueberries ($19.99/pound) is equal parts sweet and tangy, making for a delightful dessert cheese or rub-on fragrance.
Designed exclusively for Groupon, your class combines the high points of Grape Inspirations’ Wine 101 series into a two-hour Language of Wine course (a $30 value), and throws in a signature wine glass (a $4 value). The friendly, expert vintners at Grape Inspirations will first teach you how to taste wine like a sophisticated swirler with glass held aloft. Next, you’ll become a proper wine and food matchmaker, sure to never mistakenly seat a Merlot next to its sworn enemy, lime JELL-O. Finally, take a peak at the business side of wine, with tips on purchasing, storing, and serving wine. The course will also cover wine faults, the sand traps of winery, and how best to avoid them. Classes are offered from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Thursday until your Groupon expires and on select Tuesdays (see sidebar). Be sure to call ahead for availability; additional classes may be scheduled based on demand.
Powered by than more 5 score of collective experience, the staff members at Great Fermentations share their technical know-how with the public through classes and an intimate knowledge of the store's merchandise. Beginner-friendly beer and wine courses teach fundamentals of tasty beverage creation, overviewing the process, ingredients, sanitation, and how to do a proper keg stand. A huge selection of beer and wine making supplies makes it easy for alumni to go forth and prosper with all the appropriate equipment and ingredients. Great Fermentations also stocks provisions for creating homemade sodas, wines, and a variety of cheeses.