While many brothers grow up as rivals, Paul and John Nunes instead became partners. With a love of wines and wide-open spaces, the two siblings decided to establish a winery rather than surrender 60 acres of family farmland to real estate developers. Today, their labor of love, Newport Vineyards, extracts an impressive roster of reds and whites from the trellises that crisscross the farm, spilling emerald floods of vines. The vineyard team nurtures the grape-heavy plants and keeps them from being recruited by gangs of raisins. The fruit eventually becomes wines such as the In The Buff chardonnay, which is fermented in stainless steel tanks to draw out a bouquet of aromas. The Gemini, one of John Nunes's favorite bottles, is a smooth blend of merlot and cabernet.
Most of the wines spend stints in French-oak barrels, which John points out as he leads tour groups across the grounds. At the rough-hewn wooden tables in the tasting room, glasses click together as the vineyard's staff shares anecdotes about each bottle's origins, aromas, and ideal food pairing. Newport Vineyards also carries a variety of holiday gifts, such as wine, wine accessories, and custom labels.
A lifelong entrepreneur with a green thumb, Dave Neilson transformed Coastal Vineyards from an idea to a reality in 2004. Joined by his wife Linda, family, and friends, Dave continues to tend to his small but continually expanding winery, situated along southeastern New England's lengthy coastal wine trail. Like a shadow cast by Godzilla, the property's thriving vineyards cover eight acres, producing 12 varietals including chardonnay, pinot gris, riesling, and merlot.
No matter the bottle, Dave's goal remains consistent: to lure every ounce of fruity zest from each varietal, specifically by blending flavors to create unique bouquets. To accomplish this, Coastal Vineyards utilizes a combination of stainless steel and oak barrels to ensure it consistently serves up a diverse repertoire of complex flavors, which can be bought or tested in the facility's tasting room when it swings open its doors on the weekends.
Amidst cocktails and noshing, 35 to 40 students of all skill sets recreate classic works of art within hours at Drink and Dabble under the tutelage of comedian and RISD graduate Charlie Hall or his similarly talented staff members. He supplies classes with artistic gear including a blank 16" x 20" stretched canvas, water-based acrylics, and aprons. Charlie selects the evening?s canvas from his own collection or sometimes from famous artists such as Vincent van Gogh and his ?The Starry Night.? He and his assistants guide the class through every layer step-by-step, circling the room to dispense individual tips. During short breaks, he and his students eat, drink, and make merry along to a soundtrack of party tunes. By class? end, the acrylics dry into a new version of a priceless canvas that you can take home.
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.
Under the ownership of Federal Hill native Christopher Conti, Blush Winebar pours half and full glasses from hundreds of red, white, and sparkling libations. The upscale watering hole offers more than 100 wines by the glass, each with its own distinct flavor notes and secret cheese crush. A champagne bar highlights the bubbly beverage with glasses, full bottles, and three-flute samplers as well as a selection of champagne-based cocktails, such as the Blush Boom Boom, a mixture of Moët champagne, pomegranate liqueur, Grand Marnier, and orange juice. Executive chef Jacen Scungio blends fresh, local ingredients to create the flatbread pizzas, sliders, and handmade pastas that populate the wine bar’s tapas menu and keep hungry imbibers from trying to stomp their wines back into grapes.
Challenge Nation pioneered the urban-adventure race with a race season that includes visits to more than 35 cities across the country. Each scavenger hunt is personalized to the hosting city, exploring its many diverse neighborhoods with a series of clues that would test even the most skilled children's-book detective. The teams?composed of at least two people?vie for a $300 first-place prize. The Amazing Race?style competition rewards quick wits and wise planning over physical fitness, so the best way to prepare is by doing logic puzzles while eating Funyuns and lounging in a La-Z-Boy. The top 25 teams qualify, the top five receiving free entry, to compete in the national championship, which rewards winning teams with a $5,000 cash prize.