Like Mike Tyson, wine is usually robust, is often boxed, and should never influence tattooing decisions. Imbibe the spirit of a champion with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of wine tasting at OC Wine Mart & Tasting Bar in Irvine.
OC Wine Mart & Tasting Bar takes the intimidation out of choosing the consummate bottle from endless walls of vintages. The Self-Serve Enomatic Wine-Tasting System automates the slurping process with artificially intelligent corkscrews and up to 24 varieties of gulps starting at $1, including noted labels such as Opus One and premium Bordeaux. Choosier patrons may also remove mouth guards to quaff from a plethora of 1-ounce samplings, such as the brown-spice and toasted-oak tang of Caymus Cabernet ($5) and Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet ($7). Additional sippings such as the Rombauer Chardonnay ($2.75) slather the tonsils in golden pear and melon nectars, while The Prisoner ($3) from Orin Swift Cellars bathes the gullet in a flavor flood of black currant and cherry. Customers can complement their wine selections with an artisan cheese and salami platter ($17.99), a collection of four cheeses, salami, sea-salt and olive-oil crackers, fresh fruit, quince paste, and marcona almonds.
OC Wine Mart’s earthy tones, floor-to-ceiling windows, and wines, ranging from the casual to the fit-for-Dionysus, impart a social ambiance suitable for gatherings of friends that conjure thoughts of Olympian family reunions, where Poseidon usually splashed the whole premises and left Zeus soaked and pouty at a foldable table.
OC Wine Mart & Tasting Bar
Twenty-four wine bottles line the circumference of two stainless-steel cylinders, both of which add a futuristic flourish to the middle of the room. With the touch of a button, the machine dispenses a 1-ounce sample of any of the wines—red at room temperature, whites at 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Praised on Foodbeast, this self-serve tasting bar, called the Enomatic wine system, lets guests sample an array of wines before committing to a long-term relationship with a single—or several—bottles. This method is just one of several ways OC Wine Mart & Tasting Bar owner Julie Lim takes the intimidation out of wine buying.
At her boutique wine store, Julie fills the shelves with vintages from both well-known and under-the-radar vineyards, with some of her favorites including Silver Oak Cellars, Caymus Vineyards, and Cakebread Cellars. She and her team thrive on helping guests find the best bottle—whether they're hunting for wine, craft beer, or a fine liquor. Once guests feel confident in their selections, the staff can help them compile gift baskets for holiday parties or year-end performance reviews. Committed to green practices, the staff eschews foam packaging in favor of molded-pulp shippers, derived from 100% recycled materials. Such practices earned Julie a place on OC Metro's list of 20 Women to Watch, plus her boutique a place on Gayot's Top 10 Wine Bars in the United States.