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.
Equipped with in-depth product knowledge and bottles from all over the world, the consultants of PRP Wine International waltz into homes ready to answer nearly any question a novice oenophile may have. As they pour samples for small groups, they explain everything from the intricacies of flavor profiles and the correct pronunciation of “pinot noir” to the most dramatic way to throw a glass of red at a mortal enemy. After tastings, guests can select any of the wine varietals sampled, all of which are chosen by PRP consultants after thorough scrutiny.
Though the days of secretive drinking during Prohibition are long gone, secrets still abound during Speak Easy Sundays at The Hourglass Brewery. By whispering each Sunday?s password to the bartender, patrons gain access to discounted craft beers until 11 p.m. and get their name added to J. Edgar Hoover?s enemy list. Other drink specials are available throughout the week, when libations from top craft breweries like Dogfish Head and Lost Coast flow from taps and bottles. Of course, Hourglass also supplies brews made in-house, from traditionally hoppy IPAs to ales flavored with butternut squash and cinnamon. Food trucks complement the pours every Friday; in upcoming months, Hourglass? taproom will even share space with Pape Bee?s and Wako Taco.
The dark-wood accents that permeate the dimly lit dining room at Romansa Restaurant, Wine Bar & Lounge project a refined, yet casual ambiance. Behind the bar, an upscale collection of international wines reaches toward the ceiling—though few of the bottles are load-bearing.
Throughout this space, servers carry dishes spanning the cuisines of Europe. They might ferry examples of Italian, Greek, and German cuisine alongside American staples, such as burgers and sandwiches. Giving visitors a beat to sip and chew to, the lounge sometimes features live music from DJs late into the night.
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.
With its exposed bricks, arched doorways, and dim lighting, The Wine Room on Park Avenue evokes a medieval monastery. That may be why the sleek, Italian-made Enomatic wine dispenser, which controls bottle temperature and prevents oxidation, looks so much like a Star Trek?era gadget within the pleasantly rustic walls. With the push of a button, the metallic nozzles pour out precise 1-ounce sample-size, half-glass, or full-glass portions. To ensure spouts remain untainted from customer to customer, it cleans itself after every pour.
The Enomatic is one reason The Wine Room earned the title of Orlando's best wine bar from Orlando Magazine. The recently remodeled space now boasts additional seating, a new menu, and a new lineup of machines. Though the technology is impressive, the shop backs up their gadgetry with a staff of actual human wine connoisseurs. These friendly staffers help customers navigate the selection of 156 wines, and offer wine classes throughout the year. They can also recommend bottles to pair with The Wine Room's selection of cheeses, flatbreads, and yachts in need of christening.