Florida might be more famous for its orange juice than its wine, but you don’t have to go far in any direction to find some great wineries.
From sprawling countryside estates and family-owned fruit farms to hip urban venues and quirky micro vineyards, here are some of the best places to awaken your inner wine connoisseur.
Quantum Leap Winery
Located in Downtown Orlando, Quantum Leap is one of Florida’s newest wineries. The brainchild of environmental pioneer David Forrester and former marketing executive Jill Ramsier, this winery was designed to reduce the carbon footprint associated with traditional wine production.
Raw wine juice is shipped to the facility in large vessels from sustainable vineyards around the world. It is then blended, finished, and bottled on-site. In addition, all Quantum Leap wines are stored and sold in environmentally friendly packaging.
Complimentary tours of the production areas are available upon request. The venue also has an outdoor patio and a tasting room where you can sample a choice of wines paired with cheese, charcuterie, and chocolate. Local art and merchandise are available to purchase, as well as around 20 wines for sale by the bottle.
Sign up for the Quantum Leap Wine Club and you can enjoy discounts on wine and other great perks.
Schnebly Redlands Winery & Brewery
Located in Miami’s tropical Redlands, this picturesque winery and brewery has been voted as one of the best wineries in the USA. You won’t find any traditional wines here – instead, this exotic-fruits-only vineyard produces specialty wines made from lychee, passion fruit, guava, and mango.
Visitors have the option of taking a winery tour (weekends only), as well as wine tasting, beer sampling, or attending one of the venue’s special events. The tour takes around 45 minutes and allows you around the facility to see the entire wine-making process. You’ll also visit the tasting room where you can soak up views of the lush estate and enjoy a refreshing glass of fruity wine.
The on-site restaurant serves delicious farm-to-table cuisine made from local and homegrown produce, along with house tipples such as lychee wine and coconut ale.
Lakeridge Winery and Vineyard
Nestled among the rolling hills of Clermont, this 127-acre estate is the largest winery in all of Florida. Its free daily tour includes a video presentation, a tasting of award-winning wines, and views of rolling fruit fields filled with hybrid and Native American grape varieties.
The tour takes around 45 minutes, and you then have the opportunity to browse the large gift shop which features wines from Lakeridge and San Sebastian (the sister winery in St. Augustine). You can purchase all your favorite wines along with wine accessories and gourmet food selections, before heading out to the picnic area to soak up the sights and sample your goodies.
Lakeridge hosts special events throughout the year including music festivals. You can also take part in the Lakeridge Winery half marathon which starts and finishes with a run through the vineyards.
The Florida Winery
Just a stone’s throw from beautiful Madeira Beach, the Florida Winery does things a little bit differently. Steering away from the typical winery scene it offers tropical wines, frozen cocktails, and house-blend cigars in a fun, funky environment. The facility squeezes a lot of wine out of a tiny space (about 900 sq ft) and all the bottling is done by hand right in the front window.
The tasting bar is open all day and offers free tastings of the entire range of wines. It boasts brightly-colored decor, island-style music, and a full menu of gourmet foods to complement the wines. Wine accessories, home decor, and gift items are also available.
The Gilded Grape
Not only can you taste wines, but you can also actually make wines at the Gilded Grape in Port Charlotte. This establishment offers something totally different from any other winery in Florida with its on-premises do-it-yourself winemaking. The owner is an expert in kit wines and will take you through the entire process of making, bottling, corking, and labeling your own wine. Everything you need is provided and at the end of the process, you’ll come away with around 30 bottles on your own homemade plonk.
The venue also doubles as a wine bar featuring live music on Friday and Saturday nights. There’s a fully-stocked shop too where you can buy a wide range of white, red, and dessert wines, as well as local favorites such as Cranberry Craze, Tropical Lime, and Wild Watermelon.
San Sebastian Winery
A visit to San Sebastian Winery is a great way to spend the day if you’re near America’s oldest city, St. Augustine. The sister to Lakeridge in Clermont, this winery uses Lakeridge’s grapes so there’s no vineyard but you can take a tour of the production facilities and enjoy some free wine tasting. Tours are available every day and no reservations are required except for groups of 20 and above.
The winery houses a retail shop that features San Sebastian wines, wine accessories, gift baskets, and gourmet food items. It’s also home to a rooftop bar that features live music every weekend and serves a range of house wines, domestic beers, and light snacks. The location is great, situated in one of Henry Flagler’s East Coast Railway Buildings just a few blocks from downtown St. Augustine.
Henscratch Farms Vineyard and Winery
As strange as it may sound, Henscratch Farms is a winery the whole family can enjoy. You can take the little ones along for the u-pick seasons; December–March for strawberries, and August–September for grapes. Warm chocolate is available for dipping and the shake shack serves shortcakes, milkshakes, and chocolate-covered strawberries by the pound.
Winery tours around the production and barrel rooms are available upon request. You can also sample a wide range of wines including semi-sweet wine proudly stomped by diligent feet at the annual grape stomp.
The on-site store is built in the old cracker style with a raised floor, sliding barn doors, and an open breezeway. Its shelves are packed with homemade wines, jams, pickles, and souvenirs. You can also stock up on freshly laid eggs, infused grapeseed oil, and jars of raw honey from the farm’s beehives.
Flagler Beachfront Winery
You can enjoy delicious wine and gorgeous views at this quirky beachfront winery in Flagler Beach. The wine is produced using grapes that are trucked in from all over the USA including Flagler’s own vineyards in Ohio.
This winery has some innovative ideas such as bottling parties where visitors get to help bottle the wines and wine-on-tap which eradicates the need for bottles and boxes.
If you’re spending a day at the beach, you should purchase the popular Got Slushed tumbler. It’s a wine slushie made from 100% wine that’s been put in a machine and frozen. There’s an amazing assortment to choose from including traditional and fruit flavors. The tumblers come in a variety of vibrant colors and you can mix your favorite slushie flavors together to create a twisted combo.
Flagler hosts regular special events including live music and full moon festivals. At certain times of the year, you can catch great views of rocket launches from the nearby Kennedy Space Center.
Strong Tower Vineyard
Located in Spring Hill, just a one-hour drive from Tampa, this family-owned winery is one of Florida’s finest. Owners Terry and Janis McKnight grow three grape varieties – Norton, Ison, and Carlos – from which all their wines are created. All of the wines are produced, bottled, and labeled on-site and many have won awards at the Florida International Wine Competition.
The winery offers complimentary tours and wine tasting. It also runs special events including music festivals, grape picking, art classes, and yoga sessions. Guests especially love the bring-your-own-food picnics in the vineyard – you can buy everything you need at the on-site store including wine, accessories, and food items.
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