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.
Towering oak trees cast their shade across the 3,600 acres of plantation land that surround Florida Estates Winery, but the precious grapes can be found hanging from trellised vines that sprout in their own sunnier patches of soil. Refreshing and approachable, the wine selection includes the soft-bodied Plantation Red as well as the Plantation Blush, which balances its notes of ripe fruit with a gripping core of zesty acidity.
The wine connoisseurs at the independently owned Cork & Olive Lake Mary franchise introduce visitors to international wines, most of which originate from small, family-owned vineyards. In addition to pouring samples at a broad, wooden table, Cork & Olive’s team hosts events that range from in-home tastings to the monthly Sip&Dip, where wines come paired with select appetizers. Besides the many bottles of wines, the shelves also display craft beers, sake, chocolates, and cheeses, as well as gourmet olive oils and spices. Specialty services include custom wine-bottle labels for events, special orders for hard-to-find wines, and gifts such as wine aprons and holders and memoirs from picked-over grapes.
When Rosa Fiorelli and her husband crossed the pond from Sicily, they found the landscape of eastern Manatee County to be remarkably similar to their Mediterranean home?and ideal for growing grapes. In their backyard, they planted five rows of grapes alongside their humble garden, and reserved a corner of the garage for winemaking. From such modest beginnings, Rosa Fiorelli Winery expanded exponentially, going on to produce a long list of award-winning wines. Today, visitors can explore the 3,000-square-foot winery and 10-acre vineyard, getting glimpses into all the stages of winemaking, from grape cultivation to foot-squashing and fermentation.
With free wine tastings all day Monday through Saturday and beer tastings on Tuesday nights and Saturday afternoons, Tapping The Vine lubricates taste buds with its extensive collection of lesser-known libations and globally imported specialty wines and craft beers. Browse aisles brimming with fermentation favors and malted liquid gold while the friendly staff offers helpful suggestions to determine if customers' palates might prefer the tarty taste of a Wallace Brooks pinot gris ($16) or the bittersweet chocolatey Charles Smith Velvet Devil merlot ($16), among other white, red, and dessert wines. Barley buffs can analyze the feel of various brews, such as the flavorful Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar ($6.99) and organic Scarecrow golden pale ale ($4.69). Like the mouths of famous rappers, Tapping The Vine wouldn't be complete without an assortment of accessories, including professional-grade bottle openers ($9) and champagne stoppers ($5).
Inside this cozy coffee and wine bar, mellow jazz, blues, and rock music assuage the ears while the palate is pleased by offerings from the iPad menu of assorted organic cheeses, meats, flatbreads,
and a sweet-tooth-teasing chocolate mousse (prices range from $4 to $10). Sip specialty coffee drinks ($1–$4), imported beers ($3.50–$4.25), or one of more than 300 internationally sourced wines, including Dr. Loosen riesling, Ghost Pines merlot, and Yalumba shiraz ($5–$17 per glass).