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.
In 1948, Charles McMillan opened the doors to the home he had built of wood and stone, offering visitors plates of fine, country-style cooking under the name Red Wing Restaurant. Today, this one-time rural residence retains its quaint charm with taxidermied décor—a plethora of birds and animals striking eternal poses against a backdrop of vertical wood paneling. Behind this façade, skilled chefs country-fry steaks they've cut by hand or prepare meals from whatever wild game their favorite hunter might have brought them
A German and a Puerto Rican walk into a tapas bar. It's the setup not for a joke but for an intensely multicultural cafe: Vineyards of the World. Owner Sascha has a working knowledge of more than 300 beers, to which co-owner Yellymary adds a Latin love of tapas. And then there are the wines—more than 30 by the glass. At least one of the partners is always behind the bar if guests need a little guidance sorting through the tapas menu, perhaps in order to decide which flavor of goat cheese goes with a glass of chardonnay or what kind of dip works best if you accidentally spill a doppelbock into it.
Diners appreciate the pairings in a space designed to be maximally welcoming. Live music is featured every Wednesday-Saturday starting at 8 p.m., and the hand-painted sign hanging from the stucco facade presages an eclectic spirit that continues through the rustic murals and fancy-but-cushy armchairs leaning together under the chandelier inside.
Equipped with in-depth product knowledge and bottles from all over the world, the consultants of PRP Wine International waltz into homes ready to answer nearly any question a novice oenophile may have. As they pour samples for small groups, they explain everything from the intricacies of flavor profiles and the correct pronunciation of “pinot noir” to the most dramatic way to throw a glass of red at a mortal enemy. After tastings, guests can select any of the wine varietals sampled, all of which are chosen by PRP consultants after thorough scrutiny.
With its exposed bricks, arched doorways, and dim lighting, The Wine Room on Park Avenue evokes a medieval monastery. That may be why the sleek, Italian-made Enomatic wine dispenser, which controls bottle temperature and prevents oxidation, looks so much like a Star Trek–era gadget within the pleasantly rustic walls. With the push of a button, the metallic nozzles pour out precise 1-ounce sample-size, half-glass, or full-glass portions. To ensure spouts remain untainted from customer to customer, it cleans itself after every pour.
The Enomatic is one reason The Wine Room earned the title of Orlando's best wine bar from Orlando Magazine. The recently remodeled space now boasts additional seating, a new menu, and a new lineup of machines. Though the technology is impressive, the shop backs up their gadgetry with a staff of actual human wine connoisseurs. These friendly staffers help customers navigate the selection of 156 wines, and offer wine classes throughout the year. They can also recommend bottles to pair with The Wine Room's selection of cheeses, flatbreads, and yachts in need of christening.
Amid brick walkways and burnt-red walls, leaves rustle softly. Steam rises in the distance, then quietly disappears. One moment, this place emits smoky hints of cedar; the next, it teems with notes of ginger and cinnamon bark. This isn’t an idyllic college campus on a brisk autumn night. It’s Infusion Tea, a charming café on the balmy streets of Orlando. Sun streams through oversized windows, warming chilly scoops of gelato and triple-decker cream-cheese sandwiches. More than 70 types of tea—including blacks, greens, oolongs, and herbals—can be ordered hot or cool, like most jazz saxophone solos. Though they hail from faraway lands such as China, Japan, and South Africa, many of these teas are organic and fair-trade certified, reflecting values owner Christina Cowherd cultivated while traveling the world in the Peace Corps. Rare, premium teas such as gyokuro transport taste buds to new frontiers as well, whether nestled in a takeaway tin or steeped in a pot made for sharing in house.