As a leading wine educator in Manhattan, New York Vintners helps budding wine enthusiasts define and expand their personal wine tastes and cooking techniques at their high-end wine shop. During basic to advanced classes and wine-themed events, a team of six certified sommeliers and authorized enophiles elaborate on each wine's nuances from the angles of producer, region, and varietal. Smartly matched pairings and hands-on cooking instruction from Executive Chef Ryan Smith unpack the flavors even further. The staff keep a strong focus on terroir—the effect that environment has on a wine's flavor—as they select high-quality biodynamic and boutique wines for the shop's impressive, ever-changing list.
As noted in its Zagat rating, Winebar's intimate table arrangements "make it easy to make new friends." Indeed, from their perch at the long, flower-adorned tables, gathered groups pass around assorted pan-European small plates as new acquaintances clink glasses of sophisticated vino culled from the impressive collection dominating the wall space. Soft lighting glints off this East Village café's crimson accents, reflecting off the tables' glossy wood and illuminating sharable French cheese plates, Italian flatbreads drizzled with truffle oil, and exotic gelato flavors. Winebar's more than 100 varietals hail mainly from Italy, France, and Spain, sparking conversations of worldly travels, semesters abroad, and fruitless pursuits of Carmen Sandiego as guests sip by candlelight or quaff al fresco on the seasonal sidewalk patio.
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.
The friendly enophiles at Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard take an interactive approach to wine education, guiding visitors through the ins and outs of the vintner process and offering sips of rich estate wines crafted onsite. Sojourners can venture to the winery to tipple glasses of chardonnay and merlot inside a rustic tasting room situated in a barn built in the early 1900s, or extend their stays with an annual membership to the vineyard’s unique Vine to Wine program. During the course of the year, program members take a hand in every part of the winemaking process, raising grapes from infancy before crushing and pressing them into adulthood at the vineyard’s custom-winemaker center.
The scenic North Fork vineyard is also home to Sannino's bed-and-breakfast, a single Tuscan-style suite that overlooks rows of growing vines and houses numerous amenities including a marble bathtub, 42-inch flat-screen TV, king-size bed, and spacious private living quarters. Complimentary beach passes and tasting tours await overnight guests, as does a full breakfast every morning. Remote wine-lovers can also peruse Sannino's wares online as they envision themselves traversing the verdant property and testing each bottle’s bouquet by closing their eyes and sniffing their computer monitor deeply.
Inspired by his grandfather’s legacy of superior wine crafting, Harry Robibero took the first step in rebooting the family tradition by buying 42 acres of property in the Hudson River Valley with his wife Carole in 2003. He couldn't start harvesting any grapes just yet, however—there was already an operational winery on the premises. He bided his time, waiting for the opportunity to fill his home's glasses and well-concealed flasks with his own cask-aged creations. In 2007, the original winery announced that it was vacating the acreage, opening the door for Harry to finally cut the ribbon on his family's very own vino haven.
After years of revamping the property, the family now welcomes visitors to savor red and white artisan wines by the bottle or glass while playing board games, watching sports on the 52-inch TV, warming up by the indoor fireplace, or listening to music during one of the winery's weekly events. The Robiberos also helm tasting sessions, in which oenophiles can sample a lineup of their expertly handcrafted libations. During the warmer months, they open the outdoor patio so that their guests can sip on sangria or wine while overlooking the lush vineyards speckled across the fertile valley.
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 they began to create a many different varietals, from their velvety chardonnay to their tart black-raspberry wine. Today, the vineyard produces 15 wines, including its beloved strawberry wine, which has twice won Best Fruit Wine at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Baldwin Vineyards also sponsors a Strawberry, Chocolate & Wine Festival, which showcases the pairing of its wines with desserts during tastings, tutorials, and big-budget reenactments.