Herds of buffalo and cows graze between hundreds of fruit-bearing trees. But it’s the grapes sprouting throughout Cassinelli Winery & Vineyards' 110 wooded and open acres that matter most. Each hand-selected and sustainably farmed grape emerges from the earth to take its first step toward becoming one of 12 wines produced at the vineyard. Those include a 2009 barbera reserve and a 2009 merlot, bronze- and gold-medal winners, respectively, at the Maryland Governor’s Cup, a cup always filled with wine or melted cheese. Five total medals have distinguished Cassinelli wines, which the company’s sommeliers share at their tasting room, events, and a quartet of outlets throughout the state.
Guided by wine connoisseurs-turned-creators, Auburn Road Vineyard & Winery bottles a passionate appreciation for fine wine into every vintage made on its secluded countryside property. Tours gather at The Enoteca, the vineyard's wine bar, before venturing out into the fields to see the green and purple bunches that start the oenophilic life cycle. Journeys continue to the barrel room, where rows of sealed oak casks rest and gradually transform their liquid stores into wine and corks into monarch butterflies. Tour-goers rest their feet and test their palates during the wine tasting back at The Enoteca as they comb the depths of varietals, such as the merlot reserve 2008, with velvety flavors of toasted vanilla and cherry, or the White Bottle chardonnay, a green-apple- and oak-infused drink named after the Beatles' White Album.
Flickerwood Wine Cellars is a family-built, family-owned-and-operated winery that was named Best Wine Shop by the Philly HotList. Their vine-harvested, lovingly crushed fruits create seasonal vino for the tasting—choose from more than 20 varieties of reds, whites, and blushes from sweet to dry and then back to sweet again. White-wine connoisseurs can opt to bathe the buds in Chardonnay Gold, a dry white with a citrusy honey-olive flavor and a touch of oak, while the Cabernet Franc's dry, peppery red hits rouge rogues with a hint of berry and boysenberry. Or, try the Ruby Z, a rose-colored fruity wine blended from native North American grapes. Bring your own foodstuffs to bolster your tasting experience and take home a bottle of your favorite wine to continue the tasting at home.
The Newark Film Festival hosts a wide collection of Oscar-nominated, independent, foreign, and limited-release films. Cinema darlings such as Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris and Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life share theater space with indie fare including the gospel music documentary Rejoice and Shout. The fest provides a valuable outlet for local filmmakers’ shorts and features, and hosts a 30-second commercial contest for members of Delaware Independent Filmmakers to out-advertise each other for cash prizes and World’s Greatest Grandpa mugs. This year, the Newark Film Festival introduces OUTflix, a fest-within-a-fest that exhibits LGBT films, ranging from Peru’s Undertow to A Marine Story’s gritty take on true events. Groupon holders can snag a quintet of friends for a single showing and post-film hide-and-seek game, or hoard the set for solo enjoyment of six different films.
Built in 1750, the old bank barn on the Sweetwater Farm bed-and-breakfast property boasted a diverse resumé before it fell into disrepair more than two centuries later; it held malting barley for distilled spirits, sheltered herds of livestock, and even hosted a party or two. After a two-year renovation completed in 2010, the barn came out of retirement to fulfill its new purpose: hosting french-oak barrels and stainless-steel fermentation tanks—custom-made in South Africa—that quietly ferment and age small-batch wines from the property's 5-acre vineyard.
Grace Winery's European-origin varietals, grown on California vines that were transplanted by hand and carrier pigeon, include merlot, pinot gris, and petit verdot. Winemaker Sean Kramer combines new technology with tried-and-true tradition to create wines such as the bright 2010 rosé, which was served at the brunch the day after Prince Albert of Monaco’s wedding. His other wines include the 2010 chardonnay reserve, aged for 14 months in french oak that imbues it with dark caramel and butterscotch flavors, and the crisp 2011 pinot gris, whose light honeysuckle aromas lead to delicate hints of citrus and melon.