The wine connoisseurs at the independently owned Cork & Olive Lake Mary franchise introduce visitors to international wines, most of which originate from small, family-owned vineyards. In addition to pouring samples at a broad, wooden table, Cork & Olive’s team hosts events that range from in-home tastings to the monthly Sip&Dip, where wines come paired with select appetizers. Besides the many bottles of wines, the shelves also display craft beers, sake, chocolates, and cheeses, as well as gourmet olive oils and spices. Specialty services include custom wine-bottle labels for events, special orders for hard-to-find wines, and gifts such as wine aprons and holders and memoirs from picked-over grapes.
Towering oak trees cast their shade across the 3,600 acres of plantation land that surround Florida Estates Winery, but the precious grapes can be found hanging from trellised vines that sprout in their own sunnier patches of soil. Refreshing and approachable, the wine selection includes the soft-bodied Plantation Red as well as the Plantation Blush, which balances its notes of ripe fruit with a gripping core of zesty acidity.
Booth's Brewing outfits customers with quality beer- and wine-making supplies, from Briess dry malts to brew kettles by Blichmann Engineering. Hops-savvy staffers also guide students through the basics of crafting custom beers at home with beer-brewing classes. The sessions familiarize students with standard brewing equipment and ingredients, arming them with the theoretical and practical knowledge to successfully make beer at home without fitting their bathtub with a blowoff hose.
With free wine tastings all day Monday through Saturday and beer tastings on Tuesday nights and Saturday afternoons, Tapping The Vine lubricates taste buds with its extensive collection of lesser-known libations and globally imported specialty wines and craft beers. Browse aisles brimming with fermentation favors and malted liquid gold while the friendly staff offers helpful suggestions to determine if customers' palates might prefer the tarty taste of a Wallace Brooks pinot gris ($16) or the bittersweet chocolatey Charles Smith Velvet Devil merlot ($16), among other white, red, and dessert wines. Barley buffs can analyze the feel of various brews, such as the flavorful Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar ($6.99) and organic Scarecrow golden pale ale ($4.69). Like the mouths of famous rappers, Tapping The Vine wouldn't be complete without an assortment of accessories, including professional-grade bottle openers ($9) and champagne stoppers ($5).
Inside this cozy coffee and wine bar, mellow jazz, blues, and rock music assuage the ears while the palate is pleased by offerings from the iPad menu of assorted organic cheeses, meats, flatbreads, and a sweet-tooth-teasing chocolate mousse (prices range from $4 to $10). Sip specialty coffee drinks ($1–$4), imported beers ($3.50–$4.25), or one of more than 300 internationally sourced wines, including Dr. Loosen riesling, Ghost Pines merlot, and Yalumba shiraz ($5–$17 per glass).
At The Finer Taste Wine & Beer Emporium, Italian-made wine-dispensing machines distribute 100-plus wines gathered from all corners of the globe. Stations for red and white wines or premium products stand ready to pour 1-ounce, half-glass, or full-glass pours with each fill-up. After thanking their dispenser in fluent Italian, patrons can return to their spot—either at a pub table, in the lounge, or outside on the covered patio, where pets are welcome, and where live entertainment can be heard every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening. Gourmet tapas anchor a finger-friendly food menu, and more than 30 craft beers offer a tasty alternative to wine.