At ShelaLara Vineyards & Winery, vintners work with modern equipment to produce more than 20 different wines. Using grapes and fruit imported from California and other sun-soaked regions, the enophiles fill tanks with sweet elixirs including their in-house specialty wine slush. The glacier wines, fruit essences, and vintage wines run a colorful gamut from the off purple of the sky just after sunset to the hue of warm honey. ShelaLara’s winemaking process, including fermentation, bottling, and 21-gun salutes following spills, all takes place in Rhode Island.
In 1999, four college friends founded Newport Storm Brewery with some used equipment and two Middletown garage bays. In the 15 years since then, the enterprise has been on an upward trajectory. First off, it moved into a new, 8,000-square-foot facility. Secondly, they expanded into the liquor business and starting distilling Thomas Tew Rum, a dark amber rum with hints of molasses. However, the founders never abandoned beer, their original passion. Their current craft beers range from Rhode Island Blueberry Beer, infused with juice from local berries five days into the brewing process, to Hurricane Amber Ale with Tettenang hops.
Nature is responsible for stimulating all the senses at Cresta Bar & Ristorante, where diners savor fresh ingredients as they bask in the shade on an outdoor patio. Fresh flourishes such as foraged mushrooms and homemade pasta embellish the entrees, which include panko-encrusted cuts of veal and chicken. More than 60 wines pair with the meals so that guests don’t have to determine complementary flavors by licking a color wheel. Diners can eat either inside or on the terrace, where marble-topped tables reflect the leafy branches that criss-cross overhead, leaving matte wrought-iron bistro chairs to lounge on the flagstone patio.
Matthew Amaral is a kind of boozy pioneer in Barrington. As the bearer of the first ever "package store" license in what had been a dry town for years, Amaral was quick to put the honor to use, curating an impressive selection of wines, beers, and spirits at Grapes & Grains. Here, visitors browse a vast inventory that includes more than 40 wines for under $12, a collection of coveted Pappy Van Winkle bourbons, and more than 160 craft beers, which can be dropped into build-your-own six packs. Grapes & Grains was named by Rhode Island Monthly as the best liquor store in East Bay.
For three generations, Christmas trees perfumed the grounds at Leyden Farm & Winery. In 2010, though, the Leyden family became interested in fruit-essence wines and planted strawberries, blueberries, and grapevines amidst the trees, becoming partners with a love for farming and wine. The fruit from the trees they grew eventually became red wines such as Romeo's Red and Samson's Merlot, white wines such as Cleo's Blanc and Sunny's Grigio, or fruit varieties such as Apple Jack Russell or Samson's Wild Berry. Today, visitors to the sixty-acre family farm can enjoy bites of fruit and cheese complemented by tastes of smooth, complex merlot; crisp white wine laced with green apple; or a blush wine infused with fresh-watermelon essence.
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