TThe professional, knowledgeable staff at Vintner’s Circle share their love of the wine lifestyle with hands-on wine classes that teach guests, family, and friends how to bottle wines, distinguish between different varietals, or pair wine with cheese. The shop’s unique winemaking courses take aspiring vintners through the accessible four-step process, which begins with choosing wine juices from a selection of more than 50 internationally sourced varieties. Participants then fill more than two dozen bottles with their own vintage. They can emblazon these bottles with custom-designed labels and colorful tops. Vintner's Circle also stocks a variety of gifts for weddings, holidays, and other special occasions, as well as wine accessories and gifts for wine lovers to enjoy year-round. Wine-education classes, corporate events, and team-building events are also on offer.
More than thirty years ago, Patricia and Jack Baldwin plunged the stakes of their first vineyard into the fertile soil of their newly purchased parcel of land. By 1985, the couple was hard at work building the foundation for what was becoming a successful microwinery and began to create a many different varietals, from their velvety chardonnay to their tart black-raspberry wine. Today, the vineyard produces more than 15 wines, including its beloved strawberry wine, which has won Best Fruit Wine at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition several times. Baldwin Vineyards also sponsors a Strawberry, Chocolate & Wine Festival, which showcases the pairing of its wines with desserts during tastings.
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.
Even those who weren't there will never forget it. In 1969, more than 400,000 descended on Bethel, New York, for three days of peace, love, music, and mud: Woodstock. Today, a not-for-profit cultural center houses a museum devoted to that legendary event remains. It fittingly hosts live concerts and other events, but the real draw is a collection of promotional material, film footage, and other artifacts from the most important concert of the 20th century.
When Anthony Riccio traced his American roots to Italy and discovered his family name on a bottle of Italian wine it sparked his interest in opening his own vineyard. Anthony named Cava Winery after the Italian word for mine, which calls forth his Mediterranean pride while also reflecting the mining history of his home New Jersey turf. Behind the winery entrance's old, weathered, wooden door, this mining theme carries throughout the tasting room where yellow walls bear artifacts such as old axes, lanterns, and black-and-white photographs depicting miners. A stone angel sculpture stands guard over freestanding wood barrels in this same tasting hall, and in the barrel room, oak vessels sit snugly between rough-hewn-stone walls.
Inside the atmospheric confines, guests sip libations while nibbling on specialty pizzas, seasonal Italian-style tapas, and bountiful meat and cheese platters harvested from nearby meat and cheese fields. A calendar of events excites palates year-round with dinners, wine-and-food pairings, and festivals, which invite guests to mingle inside or spread out over the winery's rolling fields.
Experienced oenologist Deneah Bledsoe employs UC Davis training to fashion wines from the vineyards' varied varietals of grapes, all grown in high-mineral-content soil. The roster of reds and whites, as well as fruit wines, ferment and bide their time, penning memoirs as they age in oak and stainless-steel barrels. Each wine can also achieve its own identity through Cava's custom labels, which patrons design with their own artwork and heading fonts.