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).
Starting from humble roots in his farmhouse kitchen, Keel and Curley’s founder, Joe Keel, started his winery in 2003 with just 10 gallons of homemade blueberry wine, made from the leftover crop of that year’s berries. Today, the company has grown to produce more than 20,000 cases of fruit-based ambrosias, including blueberry, blackberry, and seven fusion wines forged from a blend of fresh fruit and classic grape-based red and white varietals. After touring the winery's facilities to learn about the winemaking process, guests may sample vintages crafted from strawberries, key lime, and peaches while perched on tall wooden stools behind the bar area of the tasting room. They may also steal away to the outdoor wooden deck, which offers panoramic views of the green vineyards, tree-lined pond, and white gazebo, which plays host to wedding ceremonies and re-enactments of wedding ceremonies. The after-hours wine bar keeps guests entertained throughout the night with UnCorked events featuring live music, appetizers, and happy hour specials.
Bootleggers, a storehouse of brewing equipment and expertise, guides novice alchemists in their attempts to transmute vine-fruit into precious alcohol. Choose from merlot, cabernet sauvignon, port, or other select ingredient kits, the largest of which can produce up to 30 bottles. With the assistance of wine-making professionals at Bootleggers, customers will brew their wine on-site, where it will rest in glass carboys for four to five weeks. Afterward, the Bootleggers staff will lead patrons into a deep cellar, promising them a cask of amontillado. When picking up wines, patrons can either provide their own bottles or buy a bottle, cork, and label kit from Bootleggers (about $56-63).
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.
Drinking wine is an activity that sometimes makes people believe they’re funnier, smarter, and two feet taller than they actually are. Today’s Groupon prolongs the pleasant illusion with $25 worth of wine for $12 at WineStyles in Wesley Chapel. This stellar walk-in wine cellar contains a cozy bar where you can try wines by the glass or bottle—your Groupon is toward either.