A towering wine rack spans an entire wall and glimmers with more than 1,000 bottles. Across the room, a lineup of nitrogen-regulated Enomatic machines dispenses samples from 80 wines to be sipped, swirled, and theatrically spit while reclining on a leather sofa, or while sitting at the long wooden bar. Small, shareable plates populate Sarasota Vineyard's menu in the forms of cheeses, roasted olives, and prosciutto-wrapped figs, ideal for pairing with wines or barley pops from a list of 20 beers.
Winner of two gold metals and five silver medals at the Indy International Wine Competition, the Florida Winery prepares its Vino Florida wine on-location and often infuses it with tropical fruits, including raspberries, strawberries, kiwis, and melons. Vino Florida's blends and traditional wines are sure to please both vino novices and difficult-to-impress wine connoisseurs alike. A bottle of the Vino Florida ORWI, a species of flavorful fermented Florida orange juice, arrives stuffed with enough fruit to stave off scurvy in malnourished sailors' monkeys ($14.99). Free wine tastings are offered at The Florida Winery store, so you can meet the winemakers and hone in a bottle that best complements your taste buds. The shop also concocts ice cream made from its own wine and stocks a diverse supply of gourmet foods sourced from the Sunshine State, including coconut candies, spices, salsas, and more.
Booth's Brewing outfits customers with quality beer- and wine-making supplies, from Briess dry malts to brew kettles by Blichmann Engineering. Hops-savvy staffers also guide students through the basics of crafting custom beers at home with beer-brewing classes. The sessions familiarize students with standard brewing equipment and ingredients, arming them with the theoretical and practical knowledge to successfully make beer at home without fitting their bathtub with a blowoff hose.
The cooks at Café Gabbiano ensure that their Italian creations taste authentic by following a wealth of family recipes. In addition to crafting classics, such as lobster ravioli and chicken breast sautéed with marsala wine, they keep diners on their toes by preparing hand-cut and milk-fed 14-ounce veal chops a new way every night. According to YourObserver.com, more than 220 wines complement meals, and sommelier Marc Grimaud prudently pairs wines and dishes upon request. Feasts unfold across 4,000 square feet, including an outdoor, climate-controlled patio and private dining rooms modeled after wine cellars. For visitors who prefer meals on the go, chefs pack baskets with appetizers and bottles of wine—ideal for romantic dinners on the beach, with quick bites between low and high tides.
Chef Scott Vogel calls upon fresh, seasonal ingredients to inspire his dynamic dinner menu of European-spun sustenance. Practice your dish-passing skills before Thanksgiving by sharing some tasty tapas with your table, such as lump blue crab cakes, which come paired with spicy aioli and Asian slaw ($12), or pulled-duck quesadillas, which will pull at your stomach's heart strings with a symphony of meat, asiago cheese, and roasted peppers ($10). The bistro specializes in fresh fish dishes; opt for the wild-Norwegian-salmon entree ($16) if you have the appetite of a Viking or if your body's omega-1 and omega-2 fatty acids need a mediator. Diners that prefer a finless feast can savor a citrus-soy- marinated sirloin with chipotle balsamic glaze ($18), and vegetarians can indulge in the creamy wild-mushroom and grilled-vegetable risotto ($17). Complement your meal with something from the bar's ample selection of craft beers, specialty martinis, and wines by the bottle or glass.
Though most vintners have made their wines from grapes, the Shook family turned their focus to other fruits. Starting in 1991, they began fermenting batches of juice from mangoes, red raspberries, limes, and oranges. In 1997, they opened their farm winery—a small barn-shaped building shaded by trees—where licensed winemakers and distributors ferment and bottle dozens of varieties of exotic wines stamped with the Sunshine Tree, the Florida Department of Citrus's mark of quality. Their eclectic selection encompasses citrus, tropical-fruit, berry, stone-fruit, and vegetable wines, each made entirely from the juice indicated on the label. The winery also makes and distributes wine-smoothie mixes and wine pouches, sherries, ports, and champagnes.