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Venues for vino? Check out Orlando's outstanding options for oenophiles



Full disclosure: whittling this list to 10 was very, very challenging, but if you're ready to pop a cork? In Orlando, the wine-centric venues are many and range in atmosphere from "bring your dog" (literally) to "bring your boss."  Take Park Avenue's lovely Wine Room, for example. Its automat-style machines allow guests to sample a 1-oz. pours or full glasses. Staffers make it educational; the wine card and dispensers make it fun! Out in Oviedo, the rustic vibe of DeVine Wine Bar & Grill awaits oenophiles interesting in a decidedly different atmosphere one might expect in an East Orlando shopping center. Downtown, the Eola Wine Company boasts an impressive selection of wines by glass, bottle or flight, along with some divine flatbreads, and if you're looking to go even more "local" with your selections, the Quantum Leap Winery may be just the thing. While the grapes are pressed in their respective, well-known wine regions, the juice becomes vino here in the 407. It's an urban winery in the heart of the City Beautiful. 


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Downtown Celebration is a charming, walkable little burg made more so by unique, local joints like Imperium Food & Wine. As the name implies, vino is Imperium's signature beverage. An extensive selection and knowledgeable staff will be happy to help you make a choice. Live music, weekend specials and al fresco seating up the romance factor for sure, but Imperium Food & Wine makes just as nice a venue for unwinding with friends. And if you're hungry...? Fusion is the word for Imperium's menu, which features a nice array of appetizers â€" Asian to Cajun to French, salads, wraps, sliders and some very unique flatbreads.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: The wine list here is extensive, but fear not: affable staffers are happy to help you navigate to the ideal bottle.

A.D.'s expert tip: Feeling brunchy? Pop in on a Sunday for eats...and drinks, of course; bellinis and beyond.

Read more about Imperium Food & Wine →




East Orlando dining and drinking scene has been heating up the past year, and when it opened, DeVine Wine Bar & Grill was a decided culinary uptick amid its strip mall brethren (which includes a pancake house and a wing joint). DeVine offers creative, seasonal small plates for sharing alongside its expansive collection of wines. Most of these are dispensed via Enomatic machine, which means self-service (great fun for groups in particular), but it's nice to choose the amount of one's pour without having to commit. Those less interested in the grape will find a full bar and expansive cocktail menu to their liking.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: Comfortable, casual digs and tasty small plates for pairing await guests who hit up DeVine, whether for a bottle or self-serve sampling.

A.D.'s expert tip: Daily Happy Hour from 3PM-6PM: $3 Glasses of House Wine, $3 Sangrias, $3 Call Liquors, $1 Off Draft Beers. And on Sundays: $15 unlimited sangria and/or mimosas.

Read more about DeVine Wine Bar & Grill →




Top-shelf live jazz and blues â€" nightly â€" set the tone for the Vines Grille & Wine Bar experience, creating atmosphere that speaks to romance, relaxation, sophistication and, if you take advantage of the stellar wine selection a modicum of inebriation. Live music starts every night at seven, marking the end of happy hour and the beginning of the dinner hour (Vines is also an upscale dining venue and wine shop). Let staffers steer you toward the perfect drink selection. Music plays in the bar, but an open layout lets everyone enjoy the vibe, whether the band is playing hot or cool.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: Vines swings with live jazz, blues and Sinatra-era swing beginning at 7 p.m. Another great reason to pop your cork here.

A.D.'s expert tip: Vines is on the pricy side, but a daily happy hour with half-price by-the-glass wine and bar apps and other nice discounts, can offset the cost of your evening. This joint's fancy.

Read more about Vines Grille and Wine Bar →


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Yes. Really. An urban winery in Orlando. Unlikely? Perhaps, but it's the real deal. Located in the Mills50 area of town, Quantum Leap Winery is the brainchild of two wine lovers who paired their shared interest and respective professional experience and made their dream, creating high-quality wine from the world's premier growing regions, a reality in a state that is far from said real estate. The secret? They bring the juice, culled from South Africa, Napa, and a host of heavenly vineyards from around the globe, to Orlando and finish the wine here. The tasting room is open three days a week and their lovely facility is available for all manner of private events. Check the calendar; wine-and-cheese nights, wine-down happy hours, classes and other events abound.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: Quantum Leap's tasting room and regular events are popular with local foodies and burgeoning oenophiles.

A.D.'s expert tip: Sign up for the e-newsletter and/or like QL's Facebook page for event updates.

Read more about Quantum Leap Winery →




At Swirlery, guests can pop in for a bottle (an on-staff sommelier is happy to assist you in choosing wines and pairings), an education (come if for a community class and learn) or, best of all, a taste of its wares; which include wines from all over the world and a host of local beers, as well. Movie nights make tastings even more fun and the pairings could include anything from cheese to gourmet popcorn. Brunch comes around on Sundays with local food trucks offering all kinds of fresh-made fare to pair with your selection. Friendly, casual, knowledgeable, fun. Stop in.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: This SoDo wine shop/bar is a casual, friendly joint where DJs are known to drop while sommeliers drop knowledge.

A.D.'s expert tip: Hook into Swirlery's social media campaigns to see what they're sampling and serving.

Read more about Swirlery Wine Bar →




Fabulous wine and craft beer and a tantalizing food menu (Yes, actual food; not just bar bites and tapas!) make the Parkview an excellent selection when you're in the mood for a comfortable drinking venue, but wouldn't say no to lunch or dinner if the opportunity presented itself. Warm woods and exposed brick make for a chic but comfortable setting; and tasty, reasonably-priced fare to accompany your wine selection up the ante. Kale Caesar salad, goat cheese quiche, house-cured pastrami and many more mouthwatering selections are on tap along with the beer. Feeling brunchy? Pop by on Sundays for a mimosa flight. The Parkview is as good a choice for a family lunch as a Friday date night.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: Excellent wine and beer merges beautifully with an upscale but wonderfully unpretentious atmosphere at the Parkview.

A.D.'s expert tip: All kinds of events, from movie nights to beer dinners, populate this venue's calendar. Keep up with them on Facebook to stay on top of the goings-on.

Read more about The Parkview →




Eola Wine Company's downtown location, just a couple of blocks from Thornton Park and practically on top of Lake Eola Park, is resplendent. Inside, rich woods and exposed brick warm patrons like a robust red. Outside, the bright views of downtown engage, like a crisp white. Of course, you're welcome to a flight of bubbly if neither of those pique your palate. In addition to its extensive grape stock, Eola Wine proffers a delightful menu of light bites, wraps, tacos and flatbreads to pair with your vino selection. Craft beer enthusiasts will find a nice selection of these, as well.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: Downtown chic meets Napa-style rustic at Eola Wine Company. They've got a great food menu, as well. There's a sister venue in Winter Park, too.

A.D.'s expert tip: Excellent people watching at their al fresco tables, particularly on weekends.

Read more about Eola Wine Company →




The Tuscan-styled Wine Room makes use of a system of self-serve, portion-controlled Enomatic wine dispensers to facilitate service. And seriously? It's fantastic. Staffers here are not only passionate about wines, they are more than happy to spend time sharing their knowledge. With a little effort, they'll guide you to an $8 cabernet that rivals the most expensive bottle in the joint. The "automat" style makes sampling fun. Put some money on their debit-like wine card, and sample as many of the 150+ bottles as you want by plugging your card into each dispenser. Great for date nights, special occasions, friendly nights out.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: Aside from its warm atmosphere, the Wine Room ranks for making real the universal dream of vending machines that dispense wine. Bring on the bacchanal!

A.D.'s expert tip: Cheese and charcuterie lovers be warned, they offer flights to pair with your wine.

Read more about The Wine Room →


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Disney Springs ®


The Master Sommelier diploma is the highest distinction a professional can attain in fine wine and beverage service, And Disney Springs is home to the only Master-Sommelier led restaurant in Florida: Wine Bar George. With more than 130 wines by the glass, bottle and ounce, and a food selection including small plates and larger, family-style offerings that serve 2-4 guests, WBG is expansive, with two bars, a dining area and lovely patio seating on the second level (as Disney Springs views are loveliest with fine wine in hand). Knowledgeable staffers are happy to point you in the direction of the perfect glass or bottle.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: Taste affordable Master Sommelier-curated wines or go big with small tastes of the most famous pours in the world at this Disney Springs venue.

A.D.'s expert tip: Hot and on the go? Forgo WBG for its adjacent Bottle Shop to sample the signature "Frose," a frozen wine beverage that's ideal for sipping and strolling in the Florida heat.

Read more about Wine Bar George →


The Imperial at Washburn Imports (Orlando)
Photo courtesy of The Imperial Wine Bar & Beer Garden


Located amid Orange Avenue's burgeoning "hip strip" of Ivanhoe Village, the Imperial Wine Bar & Beer Garden should really be on everyone's list. Why? If you've ever pondered the potential joys of having a bar inside your favorite store, you won't ask. This unique haunt, nestled inside Washburn Imports (a phenomenal home furnishings showcase with pieces from the far-flung corners of the world) seems decorated for Bacchus himself. And yes, everything is for sale. Pull up a stool fashioned from centuries-old railroad ties or some such thing and enjoy the wine and microbrews. The Imperial's menu provides excellent pairings for hungry patrons. And let's face it: Ii you're going take anything home against your better judgment while under the influence, it may as well be a gorgeous $1,500 reclaimed-wood bookcase. Check out their sister venue in Sanford and keep an eye out for a new Winter Park venue to open in 2019!

Recommended for Wine Bars because: A drink at the Imperial, amid treasures redolent of exotic, far-off places, is like walking into a photograph from your favorite travel magazine.

A.D.'s expert tip: A prime location in eclectic Ivanhoe Village means you can begin or end your evening with the Imperial and still explore the myriad dining, shopping and yes, other drinking options this neighborhood affords.

Read more about The Imperial at Washburn Imports (Orlando) →


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Meet A.D. Thompson

Amy Drew has spent nearly three decades as a professional writer and roughly half her life as a Floridian. The words, she has found, come easier with bare feet and rum.

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