Sugar Ridge Winery's rolling acres once held everything from white-speckled fields of cotton to waving meadows of hay. Then owners Don and Michele Andrews planted their first rows of varietal and transformed the land into a verdant, nectar-giving paradise. Michele inherited the acreage from her grandparents and honors their legacy through a red heritage wine that fills the tasting room's antique wooden shelves alongside chardonnays, tempranillos, and cabernets. This pride in the vineyards' history shines through in the decor as well: Outside the tasting room, a wood-sided well stands flanked by giant urns. Shaded by trees, a tranquil fountain babbles on a stone patio and a resident cat and kittens prowl the grounds, guarding the grapes and playing cat games such as Parcheesi. In addition to public and private wine tastings, Don and Michele also host tasting afternoons paired with an outdoor massage and encourage winery visitors to pack their own picnics.
Under the tutelage of French winemaker Benjamin Calais, the experts at Calais Winery craft varietals using traditional French techniques. That's why the winery proudly proclaims itself "The French Winery of Texas," making La Cuvee d'Elme aged in French oak barrels and a Zinfandel-Sangiovese blend with a thick accent. Visitors can drop in for a wine tasting, during which they're invited to sample five wines from the current list. Those with a deeper curiosity about winemaking can enroll in classes that illuminate the process from grape to bottle.
Real Time Sports & Entertainment, recently under new ownership and management, knows that it takes more than just their delicious burgers and hand-cut fries to keep their customers coming back night after night. They host live bands and DJs seven days a week to keep dance floors filled with partiers well into the night, while 22 high-def screens broadcast sports for excited fans. Meanwhile, bartenders whip up cocktails and pour beers that wash down dishes such as Cajun catfish poboys, turkey burgers, or chicken wings, as guests enjoy conversation and a convivial atmosphere. And no matter the day, the dedicated owners promise real people, a basket of fish with your name on it, and a bottle of ketchup with some guy named Heinz’s name on it.
Chef René Peeters is no stranger to cultural diversity, and his menu follows suit. He spent his childhood between the Belgian Congo and southern France, later living in Laos and Greece before finding his throne in Dallas's restaurant scene. Though he's trained in the style of classical French cuisine, Chef René calls upon his well-traveled palate to diversify his cooking style, seasoning dishes with the flavors of passport-stamp inks from around the globe. For nearly two decades, Peeters has helmed the kitchen at Bistro Watel's, serving a menu with foie gras, Lone Star cassoulet, and "Moroccan-ish" chicken tagine. The restaurant's kitchen also hosts a handful of cooking classes that follow themes such as French countryside cooking, sauces, and how to impress a chef in the produce aisle.
Voted one of Guidespot's Best Dallas Wine Bars, Chateau Wine Market & Bodega Bar employs discerning palates to collect a multitudinous variety of quality libations from around the world. At each monthly tasting, Chateau opens up to 20 different wines from their vast selection, selecting bottles that retail from $20 to more than $150. Each fair takes place during a late-month Saturday afternoon from 2 p.m.–6 p.m., and the wine-curious are free to come and go as they please, fitting a tasting in between errands or saving the world from spandexed supervillians.