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.
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.
Swirling, sniffing, and sipping are as familiar as breathing to the sommeliers at The Wine Cellar. They invite patrons to join them in complimentary wine tastings to be sure they’ll find just the right bottle to complement a romantic meal, dinner party, or moped christening. In addition to small-batch and local wines from boutique vineyards, the shop imports pinot noirs from around the globe, shirazes from Australia, and Italian vinos of all varieties.
At Grape Beginnings, passionate wine aficionado Frank D’Aponte splits his time between producing his own high-quality vintages and instructing others on how to do the same. Frank has a decade of winemaking experience under his belt; as a third-generation winemaker, grape juice runs through his veins. Frank has deepened his knowledge with extensive travel throughout the Napa and Sonoma valleys, studying under master winemakers such as James Allen of Sequoia Grove Vineyards. Novice vintners delve into every aspect of the process, including pressing fresh grapes from California, Chile, Italy, and Argentina, racking in oak barrels, and bottling with custom-made labels.
In 2009, Raffaella Pagano and her son, Anthony, decided they wanted to start a new era of fine dining in Bradley Beach. Having already owned and operated a family restaurant on Ocean Avenue, the Pagano family saw their new enterprise as a way to carry on a legacy that had begun decades earlier. Today, their family torch burns brightly from within Pagano's Uva Restaurant & Wine Bar, where chefs craft innovative Mediterranean and Italian dishes using seasonal produce, seafood, and authentic oils and cheeses. Diners dive into those dishes while soaking in the ambiance of two distinct areas, including a cozy bar and lounge framed by dark woods.
A parade of bas-relief pastoral figures cavorts across the entryway of Delia?s Lounge, signaling both the spirit of revelry and the wealth of mesmerizing visual artifacts to be found inside. A fireplace warms a room stuffed to its plush gills with velvet sofas, leopard-print banquettes, wooden sculptures, and a giant reproduction of the Mona Lisa serenely surveying the cozy scene. Until the wee hours of the morning, the kitchen fills the small, candle-topped tables with a variety of appropriately shareable plates such as pan-seared crab-cakes, chicken quesadilla rolls, hamburger sliders, and shrimp cocktail with house-made horseradish sauce.
New York Magazine dubbed Delia?s a Critics? Pick, averring that ?you won't find tastier, or larger, cocktails in Manhattan.? Martinis range from the spare to the sweet: Hendrick's Gin bears a simple slice of cucumber, apple martinis blend liqueurs, vodka, and an apple slice garnish, and the Godiva white-chocolate martini presents vodka, cacao, and white-chocolate liqueur in a glass lined with a chocolate drizzle.