As you approach it, Castel Grisch Winery & Restaurant looks like nothing so much as a quaint farm. Get closer, though, and you'll start to notice hints of the winery within. There's the pyramid of dark wood wine barrels out front, for instance, or the wine-colored carpet in the dining room. That same room has the biggest clue of all: the menu, featuring wines from the Chancellor, a fruity red, to a Riesling fermented in stainless steel.
Castel Grisch's wine doesn't just come in bottles and the glasses—it crops up on the food menu, too, flavoring one of the cheese fondues. And when the chefs aren't melting cheese, they're whipping up hearty sandwiches stuffed with roast beef, Cajun-spiced turkey, or a bratwurst simmered in brown beer. Guests eat these hearty meals in a dining room brightened by white tablecloths or, when the weather's warm and the grapes are warbling, on a back patio overlooking the fields.
As stunning fall colors settle into the leaves of Saratoga County, beer lovers gather at the Malta Drive-In to celebrate the changing of the season with 27 different German and seasonal fall craft beers. Traditional German food complements a wide selection of American seasonal favorites, such as the Fall Summit ale from Peak Organic Brewing Company and the traditional Oktoberfest beer produced yearly by the Spaten brewery. The organizers endeavor to entertain more than taste buds, arranging live musical performances throughout the day from German accordion player Herb Liebenhagen, Saratoga favorite Headband Jack, and the Bluz House Rockers. Visitors also partake in games and contests such as Best Brat Costume or Who Smells the Most Like Cabbage.
Lakeland Winery's winemaking parties bridge the gap between independent home brewers and off-the-shelf wine buyers with engaging and informative viticultural classes. Experts trained in conversational French oversee groups of up to 15 at the winery, where they can choose to sample the store’s award-winning wines for a small fee before deciding which variety to make. After the wine has fermented, groups can cork each bottle and design a label, choosing from designs that include elegant fonts or scenes depicting the messy breakup of the California Raisins.
On Fridays, the familiar aroma of frying fish wafts out of Westvale Fish Cove, luring in as many diners as it did when the restaurant opened its doors in 1948. But chefs keep the deep fryer sizzling throughout the rest of the week too, as they dip shrimp, calamari, and fish into its golden bubbles, yielding bronzed crusts and resonant crunches. In addition to their made-to-order meals, chefs can also wrap up raw seafood for customers to fry at home or to use as a subtle warning in front of complacent pet goldfish.
Vitreous chocolate reservoirs and scratch-made desserts melt on tongues in Bittersweet Wine Bar & Desserts' romantic, subdued environs. Dining duos that opt for the Noah's Ark fondue shepherd morsels of cake, fruit, and brownies into pools of milk, white, or dark chocolate. Three or more friends gather around the Fun-Due's bountiful sugary basin and share dipped morsels along with tips for delivering leftover liquid chocolate into baggie-lined pockets. For un-dipped desserts, the peanut butter dream ($5.75) slathers a chocolate cookie crust in pillowy peanut ribbons, and the death by chocolate ($7.15) hints at penalties for Candy Land treason, as it enrobes spongy chocolate cake and mousse in a creamy chocolate ganache. Diners can take chewing breaks to admire hanging frosted lights that illuminate a marble bar as a pink paint ribbon bisects chocolate and cream walls.
Sponsored by the World of Beer, Empire Brewfest takes over the Chevy Court at the New York State Fairgrounds with a two-day summery celebration of craft beer. Representatives from independent breweries will pour samples of their most popular beers, while an array of food?including gourmet pairings?help soak up the suds. The weekend will also feature presentations from visiting brewers, wine samples, and performances from eight bands who play tunes ranging from the blues to Cajun-flavored rock to jazz-inspired air guitar. For guests who wish to stay on-site, there will also be RV camping with full hook-ups.