Just when you think no more game changers could possibly find a space in Disney Springs…
Wine Bar George
…along comes something like Wine Bar George.
We first explored Wine Bar George when it opened just this past May. It is located in The Landing of Disney Springs, which is home to other standouts from newer favorites like Morimoto Asia to places we’ve adored for a long time, like Raglan Road. (And that just scratches the surface.)
Wine Bar George is the only wine bar in the Sunshine State owned by a Master Sommelier, George Miliotes. His history with the Disney company notably includes being part of the opening team at the Contemporary Resort’s California Grill.
And right upon entering the wine bar, you’ll find an atmosphere and vibe unlike any other in Disney Springs…
…or, in fact, all of Disney World.
Simply put, Wine Bar George is lovely.
Entering downstairs, the first bar is front and center, and makes a great showcase for the bar’s wine bottles and glasses.
Over 130 wines are showcased in Wine Bar George, available by the glass, bottle, and ounce. (We’ll talk about this a little more later.)
Moving upstairs, the space remains refined and low lighting and candlelight even provide touches of elegance.
But the overall feel is still comfortable with brick and woods in abundance, and even a few couches for relaxing.
And though the entire space seats 210 guests, the way the areas are divided and arranged offers a surprisingly intimate and even cozy feel.
The outdoor terrace will be especially appealing as the cooler months arrive in the late fall.
The space (you can take a full tour here) well reflects the whole idea behind Wine Bar George: it’s a place where everyone from wine novices to wine experts (or people simply looking for a great bite to eat) can feel at ease and welcome.
Another part of the atmosphere that can’t go unnoticed is the presence of the man behind the name, Master Sommelier George Miliotes. Though of course it can’t be guaranteed that Sommelier Miliotes will be there during your visit, it is absolutely worth noting that he has been there nearly ever day since the opening — he is by no means an absentee landlord. And in fact, he’s friendly, engaging, and down to earth.
The staff follows suit, with most being very knowledgeable about wine.
Sommelier Miliotes partners with Chef Ron Rupert, who was also a member of California Grill’s opening team and is now the Executive Chef for Wine Bar George. So let’s see what they’ve created together for the menu!
As we examine the menu, let’s dive right into the current Wine List at Wine Bar George! Whites, reds, sparkling and champagne, along with wines on tap are highlighted on the menu.
You’ll also notice Outstanding by the Ounce offerings. The Outstanding by the Ounce program allows guests to try very high end wines by the ounce at an affordable price.
And here is something I definitely want to highlight: anyone can order any one of the wines by the OUNCE. Not many — if any — wine bars offer this. This, in essence, makes all of the wine quite accessible to anyone who wants to try them!
George’s Finds, wines on tap, specialty cocktails, beer, and cider make up the remainder of the plentiful drink offerings.
Food features Small Plates and Boards, along with Family Style Plates.
The Dessert offerings include The Chocolate Experience, which pairs three wines with three chocolates.
If your visit falls within lunch hours (from 11:00 AM until about 4:00 PM), you’ll have access to the additional Lunch Menu, complete with suggested pairings listed on the menu. (If you’re visiting late night instead, remember that Wine Bar George is open until midnight on Sundays through Wednesdays, and until 2:00 AM on Thursdays through Saturdays.)
One of those lunch options is the Steak Frites (my main reason for visiting Wine Bar George on this particular day was to GET. THAT. DISH.), which tops a generous pile of French Fries with the tender, flavorful Skirt Steak that is also served Family-Style. A caramelized onion aioli finishes the dish.
The portion is generous, the dish is delicious, and I would definitely order this again. And, yes, there’s all the amazing aoili-and-steak-juice soaking into those fries at the bottom — SO GOOD.
Okay, it’s onto the regular menu! Now, do you fancy a pour…
… or three 🙂 ?
Remember, if you have any hesitation about which wine to order, the staff — and even Sommelier Milioties, if you catch him, which you very well may! — are knowledgeable, friendly, and make the experience entirely non-intimidating for those who aren’t connoisseurs.
In fact, the learning process is really part of the fun even for the servers imparting the knowledge, from what I could tell.
Small Plates include the Crispy Mac and Cheese Bites, which you’ve previously heard me rave about. And, frankly, I’m about to do it again.
The “crispy” here refers to the fried, golden breading. The macaroni and cheese tucked inside remains soft, melty, and gooey. With the tomato nage (a broth, essentially), the dish is Chef Rupert’s version of grilled cheese and tomato soup, so it’s like comfort food in small bite form, and it’s terrific.
I love that there is an element of fun in some of the items, even within a more refined dining experience. (P.S. You can also find these TO GO at The Basket, the Counter Service component of Wine Bar George!)
Porchetta Spiced Pork Cheeks are served in a cast iron skillet atop a very creamy triple cheese polenta with orange gremolata for additional flavor.
Cheek meat is remarkable for being both lean and tender at the same time, and the Wine Bar George version wowed my dining companion. I wasn’t sold on them, though. I found the other dishes more flavorful.
The guest-favorite Chicken Skewers are topped with an Asian slaw and seasoned with togarashi to deliver some heat! (I’m not a big slaw fan, so I ordered my slaw on the side.) These were excellent — savory with a tiny kick.
At this point, it gets a little difficult to narrow down the choices. Because, truly, everything was excellent. My recommendation would be to grab a group, if it works within your traveling party, and just order up a bunch of the small plates. I don’t think you could really go wrong.
In addition to the plates, though, is something else you really can’t miss — any one of the three Boards: Artisanal Cheese, Charcuterie, and The Big Board.
If you’ve been reading DFB for any length of time, you know how I love my cheese! I can never pass up a good cheese board, and given the opportunities for pairing with a Cheese or Charcuterie Board, they are pretty much a given must-do here.
The lovely Artisanal Cheese Board is prepared with the Chef’s selection of four artisanal cheeses varying in strength of flavor and textures. Almonds, olives, and jam complete the board, along with my very favorite accompaniment: a bit of honeycomb.
I love the perfectly golden grilled bread served with the cheeses; a wonderful touch. Larger parties may especially enjoy sharing The Big Board, which presents six cheeses and five crafted meats.
And that completes our latest — but not our last! — visit to Wine Bar George!
Nosh or Not?
My first impressions of Wine Bar George were further confirmed on my most recent visit. You should visit Wine Bar George if:
- You are a wine drinker on any level — from novice to connoisseur. You will quite likely learn something or have access to a high-end wine that you may not have tried previously. (Or possibly both!)
- You enjoy great food in a lovely setting! Even if you choose not to imbibe, Wine Bar George serves up some seriously great food, so don’t rule it out.
- You are out to sample some of the reinvigorated night life in Disney Springs, with its more adult focus.
You may want to skip a visit to Wine Bar George if:
- You don’t have the time to linger (in which case, you might want to check out The Basket at Wine Bar George).
- You are traveling with little ones and believe the atmosphere and cuisine may be lost on them.
Wine Bar George has a unique niche, even with the abundance of terrific offerings in Disney Springs. Truly outstanding food, a more intimate setting (which can be difficult to find in Disney World), and the chance to try some fantastic wines make Wine Bar George well worth a visit.
It’s a great place for groups of friends hoping to sample lots of different foods and drinks together while also being the perfect place to grab a table for two for date night. There’s a reason this place is a favorite among Orlando-area locals — it’s great food, great wine, great atmosphere, and worth the price.
Wine Bar George is welcoming to walk-ups, but Advance Dining Reservations can also be made.
You’ll find Wine Bar George in The Landing of Disney Springs. See more of the dining that the area has to offer in our DFB YouTube Video!