While most of the country is still slogging through slush and suffering through the winter doldrums, Orlando is heading into spring. These past few days have seen temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s. The daytime weather is ideal for theme park hopping and the night time temperatures are perfect for chilling on a patio, enjoying a glass of wine.
You’ll find such patio and pinot pairings at Orlando’s best wine bars, which are scattered throughout the city and suburbs. Beginning with my personal favorite, The Wine Room is situated on Park Avenue in Winter Park. This DIY Mecca of vino allows wine lovers to serve themselves from their unique Enomatic wine dispensing system. Simply load up a debit card at the front desk and then use it to purchase 1, 2.5, or 5 ounce portions of nearly 150 different bottles of wine. Prices range from $2 per ounce to $15 per ounce.
While you self-guide yourselves on your personal wine journey, be sure to fortify on plates of cheeses and fruits which can be ordered as sampler plates or The Wine Room’s signature fromage flights. The Wine Room also features a champagne bar, retail component, and monthly wine classes.
If you’re in the downtown area, be sure to visit Eola Wine Company, which also has a Park Avenue location. While the downtown location isn’t directly adjacent Lake Eola, I’ve always loved this quiet-ish area of downtown between Thornton Park and Church Street. Besides a bevy of varieties and specialty wine flights, Eola Wine Company also has some excellent light bites ideal for wine pairing such as olive samplers, baked brie and gourmet flatbreads. I’d be remiss if I didn’t divulge that their warm chocolate molten cake is absolutely scrumptious paired with a glass of champagne.
New to downtown is Orlando Tastings, which is located on East Washington Street. With 72 different wines by the glass, even the pickiest of wine lovers is sure to find something they’ll adore. This spot also doubles as a bistro and features a menu packed with artisanal cheese plates, flatbreads, and tapas. Plan a visit during happy hour (Monday to Friday from 5pm to 7pm) when select wines are poured at just $3 a glass.
Finally, what The Dessert Lady lacks in outdoor sipping it certainly makes up for in chocolate… lots and lots of chocolate. Located in the Church Street district, this dessert and wine eatery features a handful of wines that can be perfectly paired with more than a dozen incredibly decadent, mile-high desserts. Ca’t choose just one? Opt for a sampler plate and indulge in tastes of several.