The fourth generation vineyard growers of LoMac Winery use locally and estate grown grapes to produce small batch premium varietal wines to please both sommeliers and pinot gris glugging greenhorns. Every weekend, the veteran vintners uncork bottles for complimentary wine tastings, creating an intoxicating oasis for parched wine worshippers roadtripping across the countryside. After sampling the wares, guests customarily excuse themselves for private trade-talks with their gustatorily-gifted tongues and olfactory oracles before deciding if they’d like to bring home the 2002 merlot ($17), the 2001 syrah ($13) or the 2009 pinot gris ($15). You may also apply this Groupon toward the vineyard’s 2006 Pinot Noir ($35 per bottle), their specialty, which is crafted from estate grown grapes on land passed down to the owners from their grandfather.
Moravia Wine's Howard Hammond is the patriarch of the family vineyards. For Howard, farming is a family tradition that stretches back to the late 19th century, when his Danish ancestor, Hans Jacob Jeppesen, arrived in America aboard a Norwegian vessel named "Moravia." Today, Howard, his wife Barbara, and a new generation of Hammonds carry on that tradition at the family's vineyards, a 400-acre estate in West Fresno. There, they produce Moravia wine inside a World War II-era farm and equipment barn. The barn's interior has undergone major changes to accommodate the production process and frequent tasting events. But its exterior still uses the original brickwork, maintaining the building's character.
A Double Gold Medal award winner for its 2007 Lucas Vineyard zinfandel at the 2010 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, Ramos Torres Winery produces several Central Valley–grown wines under the direction of Oscar Ramos, who holds a degree in enology and a minor in enosophy (the study of wine's thoughts). An in-store wine tasting will let you and a beverage buddy tiptoe your taste buds through a selection of five Ramos Torres varietals and fermented concoctions, which may include the 2008 Vino Tinto, a careful blend of cabernet sauvignon, petit sirah, petit verdot, and alicante bouchet. The 2009 Conversations blends apricot aromas, muscat blanc, and the citrus sensations of orange muscat—tailor-made for sipping atop a bucking bronco. Tasters are then challenged to select between a bottle of the Vino Tinto and a bottle of Conversations.
After spending a long month overhauling the interior, replacing the carpentry, and upgrading the electrical work, Risé Martin and her husband Mark were ready to fling open the rehabbed doors of Martin’s Bar. The couples’ upgrades included six flat-screen TVs, a pool table, and new lighting designed to illuminate a stage that hosts live musicians throughout the week. Now, visitors to Martin’s can sidle up to the granite bar to sip on high-end cocktails or domestic drafts while watching the game or requesting that the night’s musical act play Hot Cross Buns.
To make the search for fermented grapes almost as enjoyable as drinking them or throwing them at passing busses, Vino 100's friendly and knowledgeable staff of winetrepreneurs assists customers in making informed wine selections without the need for clunky vinometers and high-powered wineoculars. Vino 100 stocks more than 200 wines priced at $25 or less and more than 200 wines priced at $26 and up, as well as dozens of bottles costing equal to or less than the square root of the daily NASDAQ index. Amid its charmingly rustic décor, visitors can grab a bottle of Seven Hills Riesling ($15), De Tierra Merlot ($18), and more. The type of bottle all depends on whether they want to massage taste buds during dinner or inject a giggly romanticism into an evening that's usually spent playing Yahtzee and watching dance-contest recap shows. You can also peruse a wide selection of craft beers and savory meats and cheeses.
Give your nostrils something to smile about and your eyes something to chew when you pull up a chair to one of The Tasting Room's wine-laden tables. Your evening of wine-tertainment guest stars a lineup of five or six boutique wines that are hand selected by the grape-washed hands of The Tasting Room's knowledgeable staff. Wine flights vary from week to week, but many of the selections hail from California's rich Central Coast. With this deal, tasters can refill their glasses with a complimentary bottle of Raywood Vineyards cabernet or chardonnay, each with delicate flavors that can pamper palates during a hearty dinner with old friends or during a manatee-driving monster-truck rally. The cozy spot also offers appetizers delivered from local restaurants for purchase while you sip.
For three generations, the family at Ficklin Vineyards has nurtured 35 acres of portuguese vine varietals to sustain a supply of small-production California-style port wines. Plum-flavored notes blossom from bottles of spicy Old Vine Tinta port ($15), and bottles of chocolate, hazelnut, and raspberry passport ($14) arrive at palates with fruit-infused flavors and up-to-date customs papers. Sauces such as the raspberry-chocolate port sauce ($18) help to accentuate desserts, and the L'Andalus orange aperitif wine ($30) inaugurates pre-dinner revelries with hints of apricot, honey, and orange blossom. To commemorate the rarity of exceptional growing seasons and Harlem Globetrotter losses, the Ficklin family bottles a vintage-dated port in limited quantities of 1,000 cases. Eight vintage ports have been bottled in the past 50 years, marking seasons such as 1996 ($36), 1988 ($41.25), and 1957 ($360).