Florida is known for many things, from sprawling beaches and sunshine to Disney vacations and Miami nightlife. It is a dream destination for many travelers outside of the United States and a must-visit vacation spot for those within the country. Florida means different things to different people, and there could be any number of things that come to mind when you first think of the Sunshine State. However, Florida wineries are probably not one of those things. At least, not yet.
The southeast United States is filled with scenic and unique wineries that make delicious and creative wines. From the mountains of Tennessee to the bayous of Louisiana, there are countless spots to discover, explore and taste. But of all of the wonderful spots, oenophiles may be most intrigued, surprised and pleased by the best wineries in the lovely state of Florida.
There are a number of elements that set the wines of Florida apart from those anywhere else in the country — or the world, for that matter — but the most meaningful difference is made by muscadines. These saccharine grapes are native to the state, and they are the key elements that make the wineries there worthy of a visit by any serious wine enthusiast looking for a change of pace from the same-old.
That is not to say that Floridians cannot produce a traditional, full-bodied wine to match some of the best in the country. While the locations there may not be as well-known or well-established as wineries in California or abroad, Florida grapes can deliver a rich and exquisite flavor when grown properly and fermented by the knowledgeable experts. With all that being said, here are a few of the establishments owned and operated by those experts that make up the best wineries in the state.
3. Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards
One of the most sprawling vineyards in the state also produces some of the most luscious grapes and distinctive wines. Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards in Clermont, Florida is also one of the of the busiest, as tastings and tours are free. While muscadines are prevalent among the menu of the 12 wines produced here, there are no exotic fruit-based wines, and these vintners deal strictly in grapes.
2. Schnebly Redland’s Winery
In stark contrast to the more traditional sensibilities of Lakeridge, Schnebly Redland’s Winery in Miami creates several wines from a variety of fruits, including mango, lychee, passion fruit and even avocado. Combined with the beautiful setting, surrounded by Spanish Moss, this may be the quintessential location when one thinks of Florida wineries.
1. Try Florida wineries a Rosa Fiorelli Winery
Rosa Fiorelli embraces its southern roots and develops its location and wines with a real sense of Americana. Located in a barn, smack-dab in the middle of Central Florida, these vintners create dry, semi-sweet wines fermented from grapes grown in this scenic landscape. More traditional than Schnebly Redland’s and more southern than Lakeridge, this lovely winery is another defining incarnation of the Florida winery.
On a more serious note, it should always be noted to enjoy these locations and the nectar they create responsibly. Driving under the influence is a serious problem in Florida, and while free wine is great, it can also inspire troubles. Be safe and smart when you take the trip down south to enjoy and indulge in these wonderful Florida wineries.