After traveling to vineyards throughout the United States and Canada during wine-tasting trips, Michele and Paul Crecca realized they could show others how to make their own wine. They founded Your Own Winery
to share their passion and know-how with newcomers to the world of wine.
Today, they help hobbyists produce and bottle more than 200 varietals of wine, including cabernets, pinot noirs, chardonnays, and pinot grigios. The staff will provide free samples to help students decide what kind of wine to make. It can be a tough decision, because winemaking is a six-to-eight week process that spans from primary fermentation to bottling. Each batch makes 28 bottles, and Michele and Paul even help their clients create custom labels, which have ranged from family photos and beloved pets to cherished pictures.
John Gizzi and Diann Greco, the American Wine Society?certified wine judges at Make Wine With Us, teach wine aficionados to create their own wines using grapes harvested in Californian and Chilean vineyards. At the start of the nine-month process (California grapes in the fall, Chile grapes in the spring), winemakers-to-be assemble with fellow enthusiasts to learn the intricacies of the trade. Patrons learn to crush and destem grapes in a machine called a crusher-destemmer, named after the device's favorite Germanic metal band. Following the crushing process, a hydraulic press forces juice into barrels, where it shall remain until the conclusion of its sweet, sweet metamorphosis.
At the end of the nine-month period, newly minted winemakers lean on family and friends to fill, cork, and custom-label the finished product. Budding vintners then tote home their vintages to share with family, friends, and robot butlers with built-in carafes.
When Prohibition ended, Frank Tomasello didn't waste any time. One of the first in line for a winery license, he set to work turning his berry farm into a vineyard. Today, grapevines still flourish on his acres in the Outer Coastal Plain, and his grandchildren turn the fruits into wines that range from sweet whites to fruity reds infused with blueberry.
Before settling into Coney Island Pizza, the eatery's dough-spinners manned Coney Island Catering, a mobile wood-fired oven that supplied pies for soirees and corporate functions. The team and its tools still hit the road for catering assignments and special events. For the most part, however, the oven remains in house, where it bakes specialty pizzas crowned with roasted clams, pulled pork, and pistachios.
Besides pies, the oven roasts other bistro and pizzeria eats, from organic farm-raised Scottish salmon to hot wings tossed in sriracha lime sauce. Complemented exclusively with wines from the award-winning Ventimiglia Vineyard, feasts can end on sweet notes with housemade desserts, including seasonal cannoli filled with autumnal pumpkin or wintry snowballs.
Proponents of the slow-food movement, Bibi'z Restaurant and Lounge's proprietors believe that meals deserve to be savored rather than scarfed down. To that end, their chefs ensure that diners have plenty to relish: they use simple techniques to bring out flavors in sustainable and wild-caught fish, grass-fed Black Angus beef, and locally sourced organic produce, dairy, and poultry. The culinary team incorporates those ingredients into dishes such as vegetarian wild-mushroom ravioli with a butternut-squash cream sauce, pan-seared duck breast with a reduction of Asian five-spice, and gluten-free braised short ribs with a parsnip puree. In 2014, Bergen.com awarded the restaurant with the titles of Best Healthy Restaurant and Best Place for Girls' Night Out.
Hand-selected from sustainable wineries at home and abroad, organic and biodynamic wines?more of 50 of which are available by the glass?add their own nuanced flavors to meals. Barkeeps also quench thirsts with complimentary still and sparkling water filtered in house rather than taken straight from the blowhole of a whale. Each leisurely feast unfolds on Bibi'z's airy outdoor patio or in a spacious dining room replete with a fireplace and a lounge full of comfy leather chairs.
When Anthony Riccio traced his American roots to Italy and discovered his family name on a bottle of Italian wine it sparked his interest in opening his own vineyard. Anthony named Cava Winery after the Italian word for mine, which calls forth his Mediterranean pride while also reflecting the mining history of his home New Jersey turf. Behind the winery entrance's old, weathered, wooden door, this mining theme carries throughout the tasting room where yellow walls bear artifacts such as old axes, lanterns, and black-and-white photographs depicting miners. A stone angel sculpture stands guard over freestanding wood barrels in this same tasting hall, and in the barrel room, oak vessels sit snugly between rough-hewn-stone walls.
Inside the atmospheric confines, guests sip libations while nibbling on specialty pizzas, seasonal Italian-style tapas, and bountiful meat and cheese platters harvested from nearby meat and cheese fields. A calendar of events excites palates year-round with dinners, wine-and-food pairings, and festivals, which invite guests to mingle inside or spread out over the winery's rolling fields.
Experienced oenologist Deneah Bledsoe employs UC Davis training to fashion wines from the vineyards' varied varietals of grapes, all grown in high-mineral-content soil. The roster of reds and whites, as well as fruit wines, ferment and bide their time, penning memoirs as they age in oak and stainless-steel barrels. Each wine can also achieve its own identity through Cava's custom labels, which patrons design with their own artwork and heading fonts.