At the end of a winding, rust-colored dirt road, Still Pond Vineyard and Winery's tasting room overflows onto a sunny patio where benches make a perfect spot to sit, sip, and relax. Onsite, 11 different muscadine wines are crafted, including a full-bodied blackberry wine, a smooth white wine, and a golden dessert wine.
Dan Vallish has been homebrewing beer as a hobby for more than 20 years. During that time, he often envisioned the perfect place to shop for his supplies. It would have all the specialty grains one could want, an onsite milling facility, and fresh yeast and hops. Ultimately, he made that vision a reality, founding Barley & Vine to be a one-stop shop for beer lovers and beer brewers, complete with a 27-tap growler bar with 26 craft beers and a cider on tap at all times.
Of course, Dan offers more than just disparate beer-brewing supplies. He teaches classes on the subject, or provides cloning kits for beginners, which contain all the ingredients to mimic Irish stouts or American pale ales. He also provides winemaking kits, which produce 6 gallons of fermented libations at a time. He even offers instructions and supplies to make cheese, so that his customers can pair their homemade beverages with the perfect snack.
Whether wearing a horned Viking helmet?cheekily dubbed the official Wine-Making Hat?or working bareheaded, the team at Warm Springs Winery crafts an array of muscadine wines. The sweet red and off-dry varieties of muscadine are produced from grapes grown on the premises and purchased locally.
Donald and Lee Hughes enjoy a lot of perks as the owners and operators of River's Bend Winery And Vineyard. They get to take strolls through their blueberry vineyard, hang out in their event-ready tasting room, and drink the wine that they work so hard to make. They produce a wide array of varietals, from wines featuring the flavors of Georgia-grown fruit such as the Naked Peach, to pinot noirs and merlots fermented from grapes imported from California. They produce so much wine, in fact, that they run a wine club, shipping bottles to subscribers up to six times a year.
Chef George Rasovsky draws upon his Czech heritage and arsenal of European spices to elevate his menu to gourmet realms. His dishes spotlight fresh herbs, organic produce, and top-quality proteins, such as free-range chicken, Atlantic salmon, and filet mignon, as well as rich sauces inspired by French and Mediterranean cuisines. The chef also curates an extensive wine list that includes red, white, and organic selections from Europe, California, and Argentina. This fusion of Southern charm and European elegance extends to the dining room, which occupies a restored historic home outfitted with umber hues, exposed brick, and a dark-mahogany tapas bar.
In spite of its name, Cellar 56 features more than 56 wines from grape-growing regions throughout the world. The emphasis is on accessibility, though; the bar helpfully sells a number of wines by the half glass, allowing guests to sample a variety of wines for a fraction of the price of a bottle. To make the selection even more accessible, reds and whites are divided into small groups by style. That means that tracking down anything from a crisp, grapefruit-tinged New Zealand sauvignon blanc to a spicy Italian primitivo is as simple as scanning the list. The seasonal food menu of tapas-style small plates demonstrates a similarly eclectic approach. Old-World flavors meet New World comfort in dishes such as the truffle-scented wild-mushroom finger sandwiches on toasted french baguettes. Guinness-braised short rib with whipped potatoes evokes memories of a home-cooked stew and the pan-seared salmon demonstrates a bit more refinement with its coriander-caper glaze. Cellar 56's main seating area seems more like a den than a dining room. Bottles fill the three racks that adorn one wall, presenting diners with a neatly arranged display of wines that stretches from the top of the booths to the ceiling. Dark wooden accents, earthen tiles, and warm lighting contribute to the inviting atmosphere at what CBS Atlanta called one of the Best Wine Bars in Atlanta in 2011.