Pappardella is just a short walk from Central Park, but it feels like an authentic Italian trattoria. Inside, a colorful mural of Florence sprawls across the walls. The menu sticks to traditional Italian cuisine, using homemade sauces and pastas to craft entrees such as rigatoni bolognese and linguine with roasted Brussels sprouts. Alternatively, diners can sample seared wild king salmon or pollo milanese made with free-range chicken. Pair entrees with a wine bottled directly from a wine river in Italy, or wrap up dinner with a dulcet tiramisu.
The food-and-drink connoisseurs behind 1742 Wine Bar impart the subtleties of vino as customers sip fine wines and tantalize palates with a menu of classic Italian dishes. Thin-crust pizzas support fresh mozzarella and a choice of more than three dozen traditional and inventive toppings, such as jalapeño peppers, zucchini, and smoked gouda. To pair with the kitchen's crispy discs and other Italian classics—from panini to a gnocchi of the day—the staff cull bottles from an inventory that, like a housecat's stratagem for achieving world domination, changes nightly.
French doors and flower boxes welcome diners into a narrow storefront facing the sloping greenery of Ruppert Park. Inside, black-and-white art photography hangs above the dark, wooden bar, which is back-dropped by wooden shelves lined with phalanxes of fine-wine bottles and a full selection of liquor.
Described by co-founder and general manager Shari Schneider as “a Mac computer store” that “crashed into a wood & brick winery,” Vino-Versity slingshots the ancient traditions of wine into the 21st century. Well-versed staffers help “wine rookies” navigate the complex world of vino appreciation, providing tips on tasting, information on myriad varietals, and compasses that always point toward the nearest bottle of shiraz. Their classes illuminate connections between wines and cheeses, and social tasting events give attendees the opportunity to try out their newfound knowledge during conversations with fellow oenophiles.
A vineyard-lined drive and the panoramas of the Sourlands provide a feast for the eyes to complement the rich taste of Old York Cellars' wines, which include malbecs, syrahs, and chardonnays. After taking in the sights from beneath a shady umbrella on the expansive, stone-accented patio, oenophiles retreat to a timber-frame tasting room and sample from the award-winning wines and Brix chocolates. To support the community, the vineyard also holds regular art exhibitions, holiday events, and meet-the-artist events.
Visitors to Westfall Winery descend into the building's secret barrel room to taste fruit-packed potables from Westfall's extensive wine list, all crafted with Old World wine-making techniques amid the picturesque greenery of Sussex County. Inside French oak barrels, fermented grapes age into velvety cabernet sauvignon, local blueberries age into slightly tart blueberry wine, and young castaways age into colorful, barrel-dwelling philosophers. Sated oenophiles can step outside to Westfall Winery’s picnic area to relish a grilled hot dog and homemade chili, and tour the winery’s sparkling pond and white picket fences. At the end of the event, guests can take home a bottle or a case ($12.50+), then use the empty bottles to build a glass-bottomed lifeboat.
After graduating from Vassar College in 1997, vintner Tom Carroll Jr. continued his education in California, where he taught himself about viticulture and enology to achieve a lifelong dream of opening a winery. Three years later, he returned to his hometown to found Crossing Vineyards on a plot of land situated a short distance from George Washington’s Delaware River crossing. The winery mingles historic charm and pastoral surroundings with modern technologies, such as a sterile HVAC bottling system and solar-energy panels. Tom and his parents, also co-owners, built the facility around eco-friendly winemaking practices, such as composting waste and using cover crops, a technique that prevents topsoil erosion and helps vintners sing the young grapevines to sleep.
Crossing Vineyards' European-style wines have won more than 115 awards in both national and international competitions over the past 12 years. The winery offers tastings and wine-pairing classes in an onsite educational area and hosts an annual summer wine-and-music series on its sprawling, 15-acre property.