Three years ago, Deborah Linden began a life’s journey focused on health of mind, body and spirit. Her mother was fighting cancer. Together, they began exploring alternative, natural healing options. They visited a healthy living center in Atlanta to participate in a 15-day healthy lifestyle program to focus on detoxifying their bodies and building their immune systems by adopting a diet that included raw and vegan foods.
“Helping extend the quality of life for my mother opened my eyes to the importance of everyday lifestyle,” Linden says. “The center’s programs emphasized the importance of a healthy immune system, which assists the body in healing itself.”
When Linden, a Southwest Orlando resident for more than 30 years, saw that The Vineyard was on the market late last year, she saw it as the perfect opportunity to open a venue with similar ideals. By offering healthy menu items, complemented by hard-to-find wines, she invites her neighbors to focus on their own minds, bodies and souls.
“What we eat and drink, paired with a positive approach to life, are big first steps in keeping us strong,” she says.
Linden renovated the entire space, adding rustic elements like rich wood tones and exposed brick but also giving it a modern appeal with low lighting from crystal chandeliers and state-of-the-art entertainment features throughout. She felt it was important to honor The Vineyard’s long-time presence in the community, which is why she retained its name.
The Vineyard is described as a wine bar and healthy bistro, currently offering a place to relax after work with an appetizer and a glass of wine. But soon the hours will expand and daytime patrons will see a shift with fresh-pressed vegetable and fruit juices coming from the bar and organic, vegan-inspired menu items served for breakfast and lunch.
The wine bar features a selection of traditional, international and organic wines and craft beer selections. Wines are priced for every budget, from familiar labels like Kim Crawford to more exclusive bottles like Kistler and Sassicaia. Wine bar manager Matthew Hadley says that people buy wines for different reasons, and whether you’re a collector or a connoisseur, there is something for every taste.
The Vineyard also serves a unique offering: wine on tap. Stainless steel kegs with a pouch inside distribute just enough wine for one pour. This keeps oxygen away from the remaining wine so it doesn’t spoil like an open bottle eventually will. The white wine tower maintains a temperature of 45 degrees and the red wine tower is kept at 58 degrees.
The current evening food menu is small but its flavors pack a punch. Light bites include a Crudite platter featuring seasonal vegetables, hummus and cucumber-ranch dressing, as well as a Mediterranean-inspired platter with hummus, stuffed olives, kalamata olives and naan bread. Consider pairing these with Kris Pinot Grigio, a light, crisp white wine from Italy.
Heavier options include the Charcuterie plate with a variety of aged meats and cheeses served with stone ground Dijon mustard, apricot rosemary spice jam and pretzel bread, and the Margarita Flatbread with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, basil, garlic and olive oil layered on top of naan bread. Pairing each of these with a light red wine like Tikal Patriota Red Blend from Argentina offers a sweeter finish that plays off of the acidity in the food.
Indulge with selections like the Shrimp Crustini, small bites of poached shrimp tossed in bang-bang sauce and served over Bibb lettuce and pretzel bread, or the Chardonnay Blue Cheese Mornay, a velvety, white wine infused cheese dip with chunks of blue cheese mixed throughout. The Ahi Tuna Poke Cones take small bites of ahi tuna coated in a tamari-mandarin glaze and tuck them inside a savory sesame cone. Its thoughtful preparation and balance of flavors feels indulgent but light. Balance the rich flavors in these dishes by pairing them with Don Olegario Albarino, a sweet white wine from Spain.
Later this month, The Vineyard will be launching its wine club with a kickoff party featuring a wine tasting and pairing presentation. Members will receive bottles of wine from their specific tier monthly but will also be invited to special members-only events where they can try wines of all price points while learning about healthy lifestyle choices.