I bet when you think of Florida you envision palm trees swaying in the breeze, white sandy beaches, lots of sunshine, and miles and miles of orange groves! Well, you’d be conjuring up the right picture but did you know that Florida is also home to quite a few wineries? Yes, you’re reading it right. The Sunshine State is into grapes!
Not only do we have wineries harvesting muscadines and carambolas and creating merlots and sparkling vintages, but we also have one that specializes in citrus and berry flavors. How about a glass of mango or key lime to get your taste buds tingling?
Now, wine-making and grapes is news to me because I had no idea the wine industry was flourishing in my part of the world but evidently, from what I’ve read, wine has been made in Florida since before the Pilgrims landed! One note I read said the first wine that was made in Florida was done by the French Huguenots in 1562. That’s going back a ways!
There are 10 working wineries in the state and each has become a tourist attraction by providing tours to experience the wine-making process, wine tasting so you can expand your horizons and to try something new, and providing retail shops so you can purchase your favorite wine.
Here’s a little information just to pique your interest.
At an international wine competition a few years ago, the Florida Orange Groves, Inc, and Winery received a gold medal for its tangerine wine. The Florida Orange Groves, Inc and Winery do not use grapes in its process. Its products are made strictly from citrus, berries, and different types of fruit. If you enjoy the flavor of citrus, you’ll enjoy what they have to offer.
Wine competitions are important venues for any business and for the wine business, they have established Florida as a source for fine wines.
Check out the San Sebastian Winery in St. Augustine, which also competed in the competition and came away with the silver medal for its “sherry-style” muscadine wine.
Eden Vineyards and Winery of Alva, located near Ft. Myers, has the dual distinction of being the southernmost winery in the U.S. and being Florida’s oldest operating winery. It was also a winner at the competition with its tropical carambola wine and received the bronze medal for its accomplishments.
Located in the panhandle region, we have the Chautauqua Winery where you’ll find the largest vineyard in Florida. They have won both national and international competitions with their muscadine wines.
You’ll find wineries located on the east coast, west coast, and panhandle. Have a look at this directory of wineries located throughout the state to find the ones that will be the most convenient.
It would certainly make a nice day trip to visit any one of these vineyards, just be sure not to sample too much and drive.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and if you’ve visited any of these locations, please drop me a line. I’d like to share your experience with our readers.