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 dancing, 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. He supplies classes with artistic gear including a blank 16" x 20" stretched canvas, water-based acrylics, and aprons that protect outfits from paint more effectively than showering in paint-thinner. Charlie selects the evening’s canvas from famous artworks including Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night,” though students can opt to try their own painting instead. He guides his 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.
True to its name, Sons of Liberty Spirits Company began with a revolutionary thought. While observing the proliferation of microbrews and seasonal craft beers, the company's founders wondered why the same model of constant innovation had yet to translate to the world of whiskey distilling. With a horizon-chasing attitude, they set out to fill that void—and haven't looked back since. Rather than deriving flavors from squeezing out every bar rag in Rhode Island, their small-batch, single-malt whiskeys draw inspiration directly from celebrated beers. Double-distilled from darker strains of pure malted barley and aged in charred and toasted oak, Uprising captures the complex, aromatic punch of a stout beer; Battle Cry blends rye and honey malt for a finish that resembles a sweet, fruity Belgian ale. And like many breweries, Sons of Liberty concocts a seasonal pumpkin-spice variety reaped from Rhode Island orchards.
Though driven by a novel concept, Sons of Liberty quickly established itself in the whiskey community, garnering acclaim from publications such as Maxim, Paste Magazine, Boston.com, and Whisky, which holds annual World Whiskies Awards. In the meantime, its trophy collection has continued to swell, as the distillery has captured awards from the American Distilling Institute, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and the World Whiskies Awards.
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.
Nikki’s Liquors is the hoppy home of one of the state’s largest selections of American and foreign craft beers—boasting more than 1000 selections in its fermented arsenal—as well as a vast bevy of wine and spirits. Browse the walls of beer ($5–$17) for something new to fill the drink holders in your straw-outfitted thinking cap, or pick up the ideal bottle of wine ($10–$50) to aromatically complement the next monster-truck-themed dinner party. Soda ($2–$5) is available for customers looking to avoid hangovers, and an extensive selection of spirits allows whiskey and rum connoisseurs plenty to browse.