Husband and wife Peter D. and Brenda Oldak didn't have any specific plans when they moved onto a 12-acre New Hampshire farm in 1977. A few years later, though, Mr. Oldak began experimenting with growing grapes. Through a decade of trial and error, he began improving his techniques, and when he won his first few medals in 1992, he decided to bring his operation up to the commercial level. Peter and Brenda are still hard at work perfecting their wines as the owners of Jewell Towne Vineyards, a boutique and community-supported winery occupying the former farm. Daily tours lead visitors along the sunny riverside slope where more than 20 varieties of American and European grapes now grow, and into the processing, fermentation, and barrel rooms. During said tours, guests follow the same path as the wines, all of which are made entirely from Jewell Towne's grapes. These libations are also available for sampling in the rustic post-and-beam tasting room that, along with an art gallery, fills the former farmhouse.
The smell of chocolate, peanut butter, and caramel wafts down from the second floor of the Attrezzi store. A shop within a shop, Chocolate Chic sells chocolates and gourmet sweets, all handmade onsite. Decadent and memorable, the sweets put ordinary candy bars to shame, causing them to sneak back into the plastic wrappers from whence they came. Handmade peppermint patties, toffee, peanut-butter cups, and fudge showcase the versatility of cocoa, and chocolate-covered bacon and cave-aged cheese wrapped in dark chocolate combine savory and sweet flavors. In addition, a selection of locally made candies, including sea-salt caramels and taffy, rounds out the sugar-filled shelves.
Like a zoo for alcoholic beverages, Tully's Beer & Wine gathers thousands of exotic specimens from around the world in one convenient spot. Specialty beers crowd shelves, and a 40-foot 16-door cooler chills imports and craft beers alike. The rainbow of suds ranges from the chaff-brown of Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Porter with smoked malt and applewood bacon to the sunny hue of Ommegang’s witte, a Belgian-style ale in which citric notes and coriander gleam.
In addition to the selection of more than 700 beers, 1,000 wines from around the world are arranged by region or varietal for quick perusal. The ranks of colorful labels hint at grapes from Italy, California, and France. The Argyle Nuthouse pinot noir, for example, seems to spill fistfuls of fruit that have consistently earned it rankings in the 90s from _Wine Spectator. The shop also stocks beer glasses, bottle openers, and T-shirts, and inside five cigar humidors, guests experience what it was like to sniff Winston Churchill's hair.
Madden Beverage’s shelves boast an immense selection of more than 300 beers and 1,200 wines, offering libation lovers a plethora of regional and international flavors to explore. Prepare for next year’s super bowl soiree at UN headquarters by stocking up on hoppy delights from Madden’s cache of more than 250 microbrews, such as international award-winner Nektar ($8.99/six-pack), a balanced Bosnian beer brewed by Trappist monks. Grape aficionados can seek out budget-friendly vino for as little as $2.69 as well as practice their pairing skills by teaming up a crisp St. Urban Riesling ($12.99) with a seafood feast or a robust Pine & Post merlot ($6.99) with a chocolate soufflé or flambéed stamp. The Lolailo Sangria ($4.99) enlivens premeal appetizers or late-night tapas with a fruity amalgamation of flavors. Madden also equips burgeoning beer barons with home-brewing kits and supplies.
Warm lighting blankets the rustic interior of Riverside Lounge, creating a relaxing retreat for enjoying a draft beer, cocktail, or full meal. The flickering flames of the fireplace invite couples to cozy up beside it as they share portions of lightly battered calamari and lobster mac and cheese. The bar, meanwhile, blends chic woodwork with brick walls and an inviting atmosphere where patrons can relax and sip one of 17 draft beers, a seasonal wine, or a pitcher of white or red sangria. A collection of sports-showing TVs decorates the bar like wreaths on a door, while outside the view offers the natural splendor of the Powwow River Waterfall, which flows adjacent to the lounge’s canopied tables and violin-playing sparrows.
The inspiration for Zorvino Vineyards came to Jim and Cheryl Zanello in the same way it does for many American vintners—from a trip to Italy. Taken by the contrast in the quality of the wines and the pace of life between the two countries, the Zanellos brought over their own taste of the old country to an 80-acre New England estate. With grapes sourced both from their own vineyard and such regions as Tuscany, Chile, and California, the pair crafts a suite of red, white, and fruit wines that they sell on site and proffer to local restaurants and merchants. However, the winery itself is worth a trip, with its wrought-iron gate, lantern posts that seem to grow out of empty casks, and swarms of fireflies that send Morse code recommendations for the best wine to pair with salmon. Inside the tasting room, guests lean on hardwood banisters as they sip samples of the winery’s creations.