AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko

Editor's note: This story was originally published on "National Drink Wine Day" in 2016. It has been updated accordingly. 

Wine in beer's clothing: Vino comes on draft, in flights and even growlers

Wine once carried the reputation as an expensive luxury for an aristocratic set, but these days it's considered a favorite wind-down for a slightly more diverse population. 

That doesn't seem likely to change anytime soon; in fact, a recent study claims that Millennials account for 42 percent of all the wine drunk in America in 2015, more than any other vintage, er, generation. 

Not yet on the Burgundy bandwagon? Or, love the libation, but looking for a new social spot near you? Here are some places to start in D-FW. 

Best for beginners

Cork Wine Bar

We don't call Cork good for beginners because it doesn't also appeal to seasoned drinkers. Its accessibility via touchscreen technology and the fact that it offers one-ounce tasting portions, however, makes it a great place to learn, whether you're a first timer or like to geek out on minute details. 

About those touchscreens: Guests order from self-service kiosks, which list information about each of the 48 options on its rotating list. Pre-load a card with the amount you'd like to spend and buy a tasting portion, a six-ounce glass or bottle. And, while technology is great, don't hesitate to ask staff for recommendations, if you're looking for one-on-one attention.  Need a nosh? Cork offers cheese plates, dips and chocolate desserts.

Upscale ambiance for a hot date

Mercy

There's so much more to Mercy Wine Bar than meets the eye, but let's start there: Mercy describes itself as a "Tuscan village with a touch of South Beach thrown in," and that's clear from the custom iron work and the hand-painted tile mosaic floors to the photograph-lined bathroom walls and the sensual, private "Red Room" upstairs. Expect live music, dim lighting and sexy accents. Yes, it's a looker, but that's just the beginning.  

Mercy sells 100 wines by the glass and an additional 50 by the bottle, with selections representing 12 countries. They also offer create-your-own flights for those looking for something new and a full menu for those who'd like to luxuriate awhile.

Have Mercy.

Have Mercy.

MEI-CHUN JAU / Staff 

Adventurous pairings for hungry drinkers

Malai Kitchen (Dallas)

While not a "wine bar," Uptown's Malai Kitchen made an effort to introduce its wine to costumers last year with wine flight options for those a bit intimidated by the Asian fusion restaurant's 40 bottle list. Owners picked four whites and four reds for separate flights made up with three-ounce pours, which spotlight some of their more unique offerings, and which general manager Joel Levin said is intended to interact with the restaurant's food "either enhancing or quelling the sweet and spicy food flavors."  

In total, you'll wind up drinking about the same amount of wine as you would with two full sized pours for $22. 

Ready for takeoff. 

Ready for takeoff. 

Malai Kitchen


For fans of craft beer's casual culture

Checkered Past Winery

No one ever said wine and beer lovers can't get along. In fact, Dallas hosts a "wine pub" that takes its cues from the unpretentious, laid-back vibes of beloved public houses. Checkered Past Winery "aims to crack the pinkies-out stereotype and make wine approachable for newbies," our Tiney Ricciardi reported back in November. According to its owner, there's only one rule: Drink what you like. 

From rusted decor to ska background music, it is anything but your typical wine bar; that is, until you get to the offerings. Checkered Past emphasizes Texas brands, and offers 30 wines on tap served by the glass or bottle. In January, they also began selling house-made syrah and cabernet, with plans to expand those offerings. Going out with your best beer bud? They also serve a rotating selection of local craft beers, and you can make a night of it snacking on small plates, flat bread pizzas and cheese and charcuterie boards. 

Quiet and cozy neighborhood dive

Brian's Wine and More

"Dive bar" might not come to mind when you think of wine, but that seems an apt descriptor of Brian's Wine and More, a friendly, neighborhood spot frequented by regulars and fans of that "regular" vibe. 

The bar itself is behind the owner's retail shop, which houses a solid selection of moderately-priced bottles, and the sleepy atmosphere makes it a good place to get to know someone with few interruptions.


Selection and sophistication

Veritas Wine Room

If you're looking for a moment of truth at the bottom of a glass, may we recommend Veritas Wine Room? The name itself points to enlightenment. Within, you'll find a well appointed tasting room with elegant, yet comfortable, decor, and a diverse selection of nearly 400 wines from around the world, 30 of which are offered by the glass on rotation. The level of service, professionalism and knowledge should come as no surprise, Veritas is owned by Brooks and Bradley Anderson, restaurateurs who have made a name in Dallas' fine dining scene with sister concepts Boulevaridier and Rapscallion

If the weather's right, enjoy a cheese or meat plate on the patio, overlooking bustling Henderson Avenue, or cuddle up inside with chocolates from Texas' own Wiseman House.  It tops our list of for first date spots; it's quiet sophistication setting just the right tone to get to know someone or to rekindle a flame. 

Jerry McClure/Special Contributor

For the social butterfly

Cedar Springs Wine Walk

Want to meet new people, browse some of the city's most eclectic shops and take in an evening stroll, all the while enjoying a glass ... or three of vino? Then a neighborhood wine walk is for you. 

The Bishop Arts District offers walks on the first Thursday of every third month, with local merchants staying open late and many offering discounts. Glasses are $15 and tumblers are $25 and may be filled with tastings at each participating shop on the walk. The neighborhood has also added a regular Mimosa Walk at noon on Sundays. 

Deep Ellum's walks are typically monthly, depending on weather, and many are themed; for instance, there was a special Christmas edition and for Valentine's Day, they switched it up for a special Mimosa Walk. Glasses are $10, and walkers pick up a "passport" at check in, which is stamped at each participating merchant, which offer samples.  

Update: Other neighborhoods have joined in on the fun. Downtown Plano features a regular wine walk, as does the Cedar Springs neighborhood. Know of another? Tweet us @guidelive with a heads up.

Scroll through for a glimpse at past Deep Ellum Wine Walk fun: 

Psychic encounters and happy hours

Two Corks and a Bottle might just win for most unique shop. 

Wednesday Night Show Tunes

Tucked away between Cedar Springs Rd. and McKinney Ave., the tiny shop offers a quiet respite from the Uptown grind. What really stands out, however, is the shop's jam-packed event calendar, featuring happy hours, live music and quirky events like a monthly psychic night with medium Cheryl Andrea. Looking for a show tunes singalong? Love wood-fired gourmet pizza? There's always something going on, and it always involves wine. 

The shop sells its own label wines by the glass and bottle, and also offers the chance to learn wine making with a Bottle Your Own Vintage option. You choose a vintage, create a custom label, "pitch the yeast" with Two Corks' supervision and return in a few weeks for a bottling party with friends and family to learn how to bottle, cork, cap and label your very own wine. 

Get the creative juices flowing

The Art of Wine

Drinking wine itself makes for a lovely evening, but for the crafty, artsy set, The Art of Wine Dallas offers Wine Glass Painting classes and Canvas Painting classes six nights per week in Preston Hollow. The shop supplies everything you need as well as instruction for the two hour class sessions. Cost is $39.99 per canvas painting class or $25 (which includes appetizers) for a wineglass painting class.

Worth noting? Classes begin at 6:30 p.m., but Happy Hour precedes them from 5-7. Why not get there early, get the creative juices flowing? Everyone paints better after a glass or two. 

Maria M. on Yelp


Location, location, location

Cru Wine Bar (Allen)

Not everyone lives in Dallas proper, of course, so Cru Wine Bar offers locations at Uptown Dallas' West Village, Watters Creek in Allen and The Shops at Legacy in Plano, as well as Love Field Airport for jet-setters in need of a wind-down on the way out of town.

While menus and offerings may vary slightly by location, Cru offers more than 30 wines by the glass, flights with three two-ounce pours  and 300 bottles at varying price points. They pair it with "Napa style" food like filet mignon, artisan cheese plates, stone fire pizza and shareable plates like lobster and shrimp potstickers or fig and gorgonzola burschetta. Each of the North Texas locations (barring Love Field, of course) features patio seating and happy hour specials. 

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