Brooklyn Winery's team crafts small-batch, artisanal wines in Williamsburg?and if winemaking in an urban environment sounds odd to customers, they can always find out how it works during Tuesday winery tours. The tour guides walk groups through their entire process, from the moment the grapes arrive at the facility to when the cork goes in the final wine bottle, trapping the wine genie inside for good. Of course, the process varies from wine to wine. The team ages some vintages in stainless-steel containers, while the barrel-fermented riesling is aged, predictably, in oak barrels, an old-school technique that originated in prerefrigeration Germany. The result? A quirky riesling with hints of soapstone, mushroom, and honey.
The team doesn't just reclaim old German traditions, though. For their unpretentious 1,200-square-foot wine bar, they also reclaimed most of the building materials. In the cozy, unpretentious bar, visitors sip vintages pulled from wine racks that were once World War II ammo boxes; the walls, meanwhile, were barn wood in a past life, and the bar itself is made from old church pews, completing the aura of modernity rooted in history.
John Gizzi and Diann Greco, the American Wine Society?certified wine judges at Make Wine With Us, teach wine aficionados to create their own wines using grapes harvested in Californian and Chilean vineyards. At the start of the nine-month process (California grapes in the fall, Chile grapes in the spring), winemakers-to-be assemble with fellow enthusiasts to learn the intricacies of the trade. Patrons learn to crush and destem grapes in a machine called a crusher-destemmer, named after the device's favorite Germanic metal band. Following the crushing process, a hydraulic press forces juice into barrels, where it shall remain until the conclusion of its sweet, sweet metamorphosis.
At the end of the nine-month period, newly minted winemakers lean on family and friends to fill, cork, and custom-label the finished product. Budding vintners then tote home their vintages to share with family, friends, and robot butlers with built-in carafes.
At Staten Island Winery, wine enthusiasts transform into bona fide winemakers. They do so under the guidance of Bob Rando, who holds rank as the winery's owner and as an accredited winemaster. Bob and his team walk aspiring vintners through the process, starting with the crushing of grapes and ending with the bottling of finished products. Participants can even choose what kind of wine they make, either by selecting from the facility's list or coming up with their own blend.
Massimo Scoditti left the comforts of his home in Mesagne, Italy, for New York City with the intention of increasing the prominence of Italian food in the Big Apple. Accomplishing his mission is his restaurant, Brio, which opened in 1990 and has since become something of a staple to Upper East Siders. In fact, it had so many fans that Scoditti expanded Brio in 2011 to include a second location in the Flatiron District. Brio Flatiron upholds the original location’s allegiance to high-quality italian ingredients. Its menu features some of New York magazine’s favorite dishes from the original Brio, including salmon tartare served in a balsamic reduction and linguine smeraldino—a bed of black-ink pasta cradling shrimp and bell peppers. Yet the restaurant also forges a new path with menu items of its own. The cavatelli romanesco, for example, brings the heat with calabrese-chili flakes and Esposito’s sausage crumbled over handmade pasta and cauliflower. Alternatively, the battuta d’agnello features thin slices of lamb served with confetti tomatoes. The second Brio also differentiates itself from the flagship location with a sleeker interior and refusal to answer to Junior.