The Wine Shop, as the name cheekily suggests, specializes in providing numerous wines in an easygoing, friendly shopping arena. With a densely populated stock of over 3,000 domestic and imported wines, and nearly 1,000 of these bottles priced under $12, there's no shortage of affordable potables to pick from. The smartcard you receive with today's deal actually operates on three machines contained within the store. Not altogether different from old-timey soda fountains, these non-vengeful examples of automata read the amount of credit on your smartcard and allow you to select a glass of wine accordingly. With three machines on hand, each is stocked with a variety of wines curated directly from the stock on hand, containing eight reds and four whites at all times, at varying price ranges. Make your selection and receive a glass of up to 4 ounces from the polished machinery, which keeps wine fresh between pours. Depending on the wines you choose, you can use your card over more than one visit, or use the entire value in one card-swiping go.
"Don't worry if you don't know much about wine," Manager Mike Kurth told the Houston Press just after the restaurant's grand opening in 2010. "I'll find you something you like." Drawing from a palette of more than 170 wines, Cork Soakers' bottle-handlers exude a casual confidence in dispatching potions to pair with a menu of artisanal meats and cheeses. As they consider the flavor notes of herbed Da Vinci gouda, chévre goat cheese, and smoked duck breast, the wait staff never cross over from savviness into snobbery: as Kurth notes, "Anyone who says they know everything about wine is lying. You can always learn more."
While continuing to build their knowledge base, the Cork Soakers team marinates in an atmosphere of full-on wine culture: cork-covered tabletops and menus, wine-barrel light fixtures, and a giant grapevine slowly entrapping the kitchen staff. At the center of the rustic space, a big table carved from a single mighty tree trunk holds a scrumptious brunch spread every Sunday. In fine weather, diners can take their beverages and bites out to the expansive patio.
Intimate tables, high-top chairs, and polished bars fill the 7,000 square feet of indoor space and 6,500 square feet of patio seating at The Tasting Room Wine Cafe's Citycentre location. Whether as a light snack after work or a six-course meal and wine tasting, a constantly evolving collection of menus and bottles picked by the head sommelier ensure delectable results. Walls and shelves sporting a panorama of red and white bottles decorate the lively dining area and private event space. Bartenders keep bottles stored in Enomatic wine-service systems that preserve their organoleptic properties and maintain flavor so that every glass tastes like the bottle had just been plucked from a wine tree and opened. Live music serenades digestion on the patio as guests pair conversations with small plates, elegant entrees, and slices from a cheese and salumi menu.
The wine experts at Water 2 Wine ferment their own varietals onsite and please oenophiles' palates with more than 100 wines from 13 countries. Visitors may sample their diverse offerings by the glass or bottle or learn about winemaking in edifying classes. Water 2 Wine also assists wine aficionados in creating their own custom-labeled batches of wine onsite.
Nestled among the wooden corrals and brick façades of the historic Fort Worth Stockyards district, Cowtown Winery pairs meats and cheeses with red, white, semisweet, and dessert wines handcrafted by an in-house vintner. Amid shelves stocked with emerald rows of bottles, the winery’s tasting bar hosts daily samplings of four premium wines such as the tart Silver Spur red and a pinot grigio with subtle aromas of apple, pear, and aged stetson hat. Handmade gifts crafted by Texan artists portray an array of southwestern motifs, and live acoustic music on the weekends helps to inspire first-time winemakers as they consult with vintners to design custom labels and concoct up to 29 bottles of their own signature wine.