TThe professional, knowledgeable staff at Vintner’s Circle share their love of the wine lifestyle with hands-on wine classes that teach guests, family, and friends how to bottle wines, distinguish between different varietals, or pair wine with cheese. The shop’s unique winemaking courses take aspiring vintners through the accessible four-step process, which begins with choosing wine juices from a selection of more than 50 internationally sourced varieties. Participants then fill more than two dozen bottles with their own vintage. They can emblazon these bottles with custom-designed labels and colorful tops. Vintner's Circle also stocks a variety of gifts for weddings, holidays, and other special occasions, as well as wine accessories and gifts for wine lovers to enjoy year-round. Wine-education classes, corporate events, and team-building events are also on offer.
As a lifelong resident and explorer of New Jersey, Vaughn Tiedeman possesses an intimate familiarity with the region’s natural beauty and hidden entertainment gems. He started Living Adventure Tours to get folks out of the city and exploring the natural majesty of the northeast. He and his guides lead an endless array of seasonal activities such as hiking, kayaking, and hot air balloon tours during the warmer months. As winter sets in, they lead snowshoeing journeys and wine- and beer-tasting tours of the vineyards and breweries nestled throughout the scenic countryside.
Andre's is a humble, family-run Euro-American eatery, which Zagat members recently named one of the Top Restaurants in the United States. Andre de Waal, chef and owner of Andre's, and his wife Tracey opened their restaurant in an old storefront building in 1998, adorning the exposed brick walls with their wedding photographs and paintings by local artists. Their eatery offers a rotating menu that is inventive, elegant, and comforting. Though the situation may turn at the drop of a switch, diners can currently begin the evening with house-cured salmon, cucumber salad, and fresh herbs ($8.50) or duck confit, penne pasta, and black truffles ($9) before they are ready for rare-roasted tuna and white-bean chorizo ($29).
David Schmeltzle's first attempt at home winemaking resulted in a foaming 55-gallon barrel of grape juice, a basement that smelled strongly of acrid fermentation, and a polite request from his wife that he find somewhere else to make wine. Instead of giving up, David decided to transform his passion for fermentation into a business concept, founding Vintners Circle as a way to teach the public to understand and appreciate wine and even craft their own.
The dedicated oenophiles at Vintners Circle commit themselves to teaching the public how to taste and assess wines with confidence. Introductory classes explain how to approach a glass of wine from swirl to sip, and the staff usually keeps a few bottles open at the stores, allowing visitors to try small samples.
Beginning with pre-pressed grapes from one of 15 international vineyards—including sites in France, Australia, and the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley—staff members can also show customers how to transform 6 gallons of juice into 28 bottles of wine in just seven to eight weeks. The process involves four major steps over that time, allowing patrons to stop by periodically and control the development of their wine through primary fermentation, secondary fermentation, clearing and stabilizing, bottling, and designing a custom label. At the end of the two months, customers leave with more than two cases of ripe, effervescent zinfandel, floral viognier, or another varietal from the 50 available winemaking kits.
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It can be hard to find craft beer from all over the country in one place, unless you're at Big Brew NY, which introduces attendees to more than 250 craft beers from breweries such as Flying Dog Brewing from Maryland, Bell's Brewery from Michigan, and Stone Brewing Co. from California. With such a wide array of regional styles and unlimited tastings in four-ounce souvenir glasses, chances are good that visitors will find something they haven't tried before, especially if they have amnesia. To complement all the suds, the festival features live entertainment and tasty food, including beer-infused hors d’oeuvres served to VIP ticket-holders.
Despite its Bavarian lodge–style façade, Prospect Tavern doesn't tie itself down to any one cultural cuisine. The kitchen team draws from all around the world to design its eclectic upscale pub menu. Signature dishes such as a slow-roasted prime rib and lobster macaroni and cheese share the spotlight with herbed steaks, fresh salads, and vegetarian sandwiches. Many of these come with their own suggested drink pairings, which can be chosen from more than 10 craft beers and a robust list international wines. Food and drink aren't the modern pub's only attractions: throughout the year, special events range from live acoustic music and social karaoke to model UN meetings.