To the Spicola family, wine isn't simply something sipped on at dinner or during a party. Rather, it's the family heritage, which forms a bridge between generations. Today, Dominic Spicola runs the Winery of Ellicottville with his son-in-law, but years ago, he worked alongside his father, Francesco, an Italian immigrant schooled in his home country's winemaking tradition. Together, the duo crushed and pressed annual harvests into barrels of wine, making sure their relatives had enough to fill glasses at dinner and water balloons at family picnics throughout the year.
Today, Dominic and his son-in-law mesh this Old World wisdom with New World techniques to craft chardonnays and merlots, reds and whites. They sell their bottles from an unassuming shop on Monroe Street, where sky-blue walls, family pictures, and shelved knickknacks surround a sun-splashed bar.
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For more than a century, the Woodbury family has tilled the rich, porous soil of the Fredonia area to craft one-of-a-kind, flavorful wines from homegrown grapes. The vineyard’s serene surroundings—from the doting shelter of the nearby Allegheny uplands to the temperate words of encouragement from Lake Erie—work together to rear aromatic, mature, and emotionally balanced crops. Sippers may indulge in the complex flavors of a full-bodied cabernet ($24/bottle), the peppery floral notes of the Gewürztraminer ($24/bottle), or the regional sweetness of a niagara ($9.50). In addition to bottling up high-quality grape juice, the expert vintners at Woodbury shake down local orchards for refreshing fruit wines, such as a tastefully tart cranberry ($12) or delicate apple ($12), simultaneously capable of banishing thin-skinned doctors and impressing teachers with its semidry personality and ability to rinse chalkboards.
Not many people get the chance to dine in a restaurant's wine cellar, but at Vallozzi's, diners can book the underground space for a private dinner or dine in one of four other elegant areas. While enjoying award-winning wines, guests can feast on upscale Italian cuisine in Vallozzi's Classic dining room, which awards the eyes with hand-painted murals and romantic lighting. Alfresco dining options include Casa Elena and the patio, where guests can bask in the breeze without picnicking on an airport runway. Rounding out the quintet of rooms and boasting a handmade maple and olive wood bar, Rosso Bianco blends casual and chic with light-strewn tables, wine racks, and flat-screen TVs.
Executive chef Bryan Hutson and his skilled culinary crew craft a seasonal dinner menu of fresh seafood and eclectic entrees at One Eleven within a cozy eatery nestled within historic downtown Greensburg. Taste buds can hobnob with the baked crab cakes ($26) or revel in the aquatic flavors of colossal shrimp with squid-ink pasta ($23). Muffle the moans of tempestuous stomach elves with one of the steak-centric spreads, such as a coffee-encrusted new york strip steak ($25), or plunge tongues into a succulent serving of fresh salmon ($23) paired with premium spinach from Popeye's temperature-controlled locker.
Most popular offering: loganberry wine
Alcohol: Beer and wine only
Number of Tables: 1–5
Parking: Parking lot
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Pro Tip: very relaxed atmosphere, tours are best when done in sneakers or flat shoes
Savage Winery's name may be a bit of a misnomer, since everything about the farm winery is, well, sweet. There are the wines for starters: sweet concord, niagara, vidal, and loganberry wines are the specialty here, featured along with seasonal strawberry and blueberry wines. Then, of course, there's the location—Savage Winery is situated on an alpaca farm and is also home to a few other rescue animals, cultivating an environment that is both welcoming and compassionate. Of course, that doesn't mean things don't get a little lively now and again. Owner Rich Byington keeps plenty of activities around to stoke his guests' competitive sides while they sample the vintages, including classic lawn games like cornhole, croquet, and whac-a-weed.
On the corner of Buffalo and Main Street, Ten Thousand Wines inhabits a quaint brick building that welcomes visitors to its microwinery and tasting room. As a winery free from ties to a particular vineyard, Ten Thousand Wines' staff can source its grapes from vines all around the world—including Antarctica—a practice that inspired the winery's name. The vintners hand make each variety in small batches and carry more than 40 wines in their retail store. At a tasting bar, open Tuesday–Saturday, curious sippers perch around a quarter-circle bar to sniff and swirl their wines, such as Nooks & Crannies, a cranberry-chianti blend, or the delicate Delaware, made from New York grapes. The shop's resident oenophiles share their passion with guests in 90-minute wine-making classes, bolstered by a wealth of wine kits and raw grape juices. In an article from the Buffalo News, owner Mike Ditonto cites what he sees as the appeal of home winemaking: nostalgia for grandparents' wine cellars and new methods of family bonding more comfortable than supergluing yourself to a favorite relative.