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.
Wine U Design’s mission is to educate the public about viniculture and help share fun, social experiences that hone in on wine's many facets. Infinitely more delicious than local bubblegum tastings, Wine U Design holds wine-tasting events, where visitors can sample in-house, artisan-crafted wines paired with carefully curated appetizers. Tour the winery, from the oak aging barrels to the pine fountain-of-youth barrels, and allow guest speakers to upgrade collective wine wisdom with informative discussions about the grape-sourced and festive beverage.
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.
Jaye, the Dallas-born connoisseur behind Proud Wineaux, can tell whether a wine originated on the right bank or left bank of the city of Bordeaux simply by tasting it. This isn't just a party trick or a way to navigate France while blindfolded; it's evidence of more than a decade spent up front and behind the scenes at renowned restaurants such as Jean Georges, Dean Fearing's The Mansion on Turtle Creek, and various New York City hot spots, where she shares her gifts as a wine and beverage consultant.
During one-on-one or group classes, she helps students explore the world of wine in a friendly environment free of pretension. "The moment you begin to release the fear of not knowing, the learning begins," she says on her website. She teaches her students to pair wines with cheeses according to their region or the texture of the cheese.