7 Tips for Wine Bar George Newbies; Miliotes dishes on his wine list, Orlando’s wine community, & more

George Miliotes hasn’t been spending much time at his home in Orlando’s College Park neighborhood recently.

The Master Sommelier told me he’s been sleeping at the Lake Buena Vista Hilton since last Saturday, the day his eponymous wine bar opened for business across the street at Disney Springs.

Actually, he says he hasn’t done much sleeping, what with the 17 hour days he’s been working to get the long-awaited Wine Bar George up and running.

Tips for First Timers

My husband and I dodged the raindrops last Sunday afternoon to visit the establishment on its first full day of operation (Saturday’s opening started at 5pm). Bottom line, this place is deliciously dangerous for wine geeks. If you are one, here are a few quick tips to make the most out of your experience:

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Tonight’s Last Minute Dinner Plans, Classes and Tastings, and More Winemakers!

Before I jump into next week’s events, there are a few new events this weekend you should know about.

If you don’t have dinner plans tonight, there’s still space left at a six-course pairing dinner at Highball & Harvest with winemaker Kyle Janzen of Napa’s Bacio Divino Cellars.

Also, if your plans tonight involve K’s Friday Night Flights in the garden, I’m told it will go ahead, rain or shine, with optional indoor or sheltered locations available if necessary.

Tomorrow, Vintage Vino in Kissimmee is holding the first in a series of six classes aimed at expanding students’ wine knowledge and outlining the various wine education tracks available (Court of Master Sommeliers, WSET, etc.) for those who want to take it further.

Wednesday, Tim Varan will provide a wine-soaked overview of his recent trip to Bordeaux at Tim’s Orlando, and Swirlery hosts California winemaker Anne Dashe of Dashe Cellars.

Thursday, it’s a free tasting of red blends at Tim’s Lake Mary.

All the details are on the Events Page, along with new listings running into late June. Cheers!

Wine Bar George Confirms Saturday Opening. Extensive Wine List Includes $500 Glass of Bordeaux.

Wine Bar George today confirmed what Orlando Wine Blog first reported a week ago — the long-awaited – and long-delayed – Disney Springs establishment will open this Saturday, May 19 with its full wine list and food menu ready to go. Doors will open at 5pm; regular opening hours (11am-2am) will kick off the following day.

Wine Bar George Exterior by Natasia Lynn
Photo credit: Natasia Lynn

The venue will be helmed by Master Sommelier and Disney alum George Miliotes. Back in the mid-90s, he helped open Disney’s California Grill; he returns to WDW with his eponymous wine bar, boasting what quite probably will be the most extensive by-the-glass wine list in metro Orlando.

Here’s your first look!

The bar-restaurant will offer more than 130 eclectic selections by the glass, representing over 40 grape varietals. Of those, thirty are high-end, rare, and vintage wines that will be available in one- and three-ounce pours too.

Glass prices range from $8 … to $500. Yes, you read that right. If you’re so inclined, you can pay $500 for a glass (or $84 for an ounce) of 1988 Chateau Margaux from Bordeaux. Most offerings, however, hover around the mid-high teens.

Appealing to Disparate Audiences

Miliotes had a fine line to walk when he created this list. He had to satisfy the tourists who’ll stumble in with screaming kids in tow, as well as the oenophiles, wine collectors, and wine industry folks for whom the establishment – Florida’s only Master Somm-led wine bar – will be a destination.

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Wine Marathon Next Week in Orlando!

Orlando wine lovers, you’ll need some serious stamina to take advantage of all the events on offer around town in the coming week. The Events Page has all the details, but here are a few day-by-day highlights to keep you jogging along:

Tomorrow afternoon is BevFly’s May tasting, with more than 30 wines and snacks to help soak them up. In the evening, treat yourself to dinner with two Master Sommeliers at Norman’s May Wine Dinner.

Monday, party with three South African winemakers at Swirlery’s Braai (aka, BBQ).

Tuesday, check out one of the newest spots in town with a pairing dinner at Bites & Bubbles. It’s in the former home of Funky Monkey, Restaurant ASH, and Brooklyn Coffee in Mills 50.

Wednesday, Women for Winesense hosts the proprietors of Napa’s Vineyard {511} for a tasting of their wines (not yet available in Florida!).

Thursday, Tim’s Lake Mary offers a free tasting of wines from the unsung (or maybe lesser-sung) French regions of Provence and Languedoc and from the always singing Rhone Valley.

Friday, cap it all off with a five-course Orin Swift wine dinner at Capital Grille – Millenia.

Saturday, put your feet up, and maybe have a beer. After that wine marathon, you’ll deserve it. But hey, that’s one marathon I won’t mind training for!

Wine Bar George Tentative Opening Next Week

For those of you eagerly awaiting the delayed opening of Wine Bar George at Disney Springs, an anonymous source tells Orlando Wine Blog that the tentative opening date is a week from Saturday – May 19 – pending approval from Disney inspectors.

The establishment, helmed by Master Sommelier George Miliotes, will feature 140 wines by the glass (everything from obscure varietals to Caymus), flights, small plates, and more. Stay tuned.

Spotlight on South Africa, Bonny Doon is Back, Luxapalooza Tasting

If you love South African wine – or if you want to learn more about it – listen up and act fast! Over the next eleven days – including today – you’ll have the opportunity to meet and taste with five South African winemakers at two events right here in Orlando.

Tonight, South African distributor Pascal Schildt brings producers Tremayne Smith and Ginny Povall to Tim’s Orlando to pour their wines, including Black Smith, Three Foxes, Big Flower and Botanica.

A week from Monday (May 14), Swirlery hosts a South African Braai (aka barbecue) featuring Bruwer Raats from Raats Family Wines, Carl van der Merwe of DeMorgenzon, and Lars Maack from Bayten pouring their wines.

These are great opportunities to compare wines from different producers in this country that often flies under the radar and offers great values as a result, and to get invaluable insight from the people who make wine there.

Speaking of winemakers …. if, like me, you didn’t get to meet Randall Grahm of California’s Bonny Doon Vineyard when he was in town earlier this year, you’re in luck! He’s coming back to Orlando next week. He’ll be headlining a dinner at Swirlery on Wednesday, pairing his wines with five courses prepared by Orlando’s favorite chef-winemaker Jamie McFadden of Snowbirds Vintners and Cuisiniers Catering.

One more for the last minute category – tomorrow night, Vintage Vino in Kissimmee is holding a tasting it’s calling “Luxapalooza,” which is worth a mention for the clever naming alone. Napa wines from the Treasury collection are on the agenda, including bottles from BV, Sterling, and Etude.

Details for these and many more events are on the Events Page. Check it out and happy wine-ing, Orlando!