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A Guide to Wine Tasting in Florida

Will Beck
Last Updated: February 28th, 2023

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Growing grapes in Florida can be challenging because of the humid and hot climate, unbalanced rainfall, and somewhat infertile soil.

Despite the hindrances, the sunshine state celebrates Sudanwee, Blanc du Bios, Cabernet, Miss Blanc, and fruit wines from coastal wineries to farm wineries.

European grapes have had a hard time growing in Florida’s climate, so in the 1930s, the University of Florida researchers came up with a solution.

They created a hybrid grape from the Muscadine grape family native to Florida and Southeastern America. Muscadine is tough and robust grapes, growing from the New Jersey coast to Florida and west to Texas and Oklahoma.

Today there are over 300 kinds of Muscadin, differing in sugar levels, flavor acidity, tannins, skin color, and polyphenol.

The grapes are red though winemakers create many wines, from full-bodied to medium whites and dry to sweet reds. Muscadin is versatile, allowing wineries to make many wines, even dessert-style ports.

The Best Places to go for Wine Tasting in Florida

  1. Schnebly Winery
  2. Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards
  3. San Sebastian Winery
  4. Keel & Curley Winery
  5. Summer Crush Vineyard & Winery
  6. Chautauqua Vineyards
  7. Strong Tower Vineyard & Winery
  8. Sparacia Witherell Family Winery & Vineyards

1. Schnebly Winery

schnebly winery
Image: schneblywinery

About an hour’s drive Southwest of Miami, some call Schnebly Winery the “taste of Miami” as one of the trendiest wineries in Florida.

When you walk through the majestic double doors, you’ll see why with the grand courtyard, Koi Pond, and the natural coral waterfalls.

Take a tour of the winery and explore the expansive estate, learning the company’s history and its winemaking process. If you and your party feel hungry, visit the restaurant on site.

The menu includes pizza, weekend specials, lunch and dinner, golden hour, and vegan options. There is also a brewery on the premises for tasty microbrews.

Tastings are $25.00 per person with a complimentary glass. Be sure to book a reservation ahead of time. Otherwise, you may have a long wait.

The wine list is quite extensive, including Cat 3 Hurricane, an exotic blend, Cabernet, and Chocolate Passion Fruit. The Passion Fruit wine offers a tangy, delicious, tart, sweet taste to try at your tasting.

Other wine options include sparkling wines, Roses, avocado wine, and award-winning lychee wine.

The winery hosts various events year-round, from concerts to weddings and birthday parties.

2. Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards

lakeridge winery and vineyards

Nestled in the rolling hills of Clermont, enjoy the peaceful and breathtaking grounds of Lakeridge Winery & Vineyard, surrounded by 126 acres of vineyard.

Here, you’ll discover premium and sparkling wines from the Carlos and Welder grapes of the Muscadine variety. The vineyard also produces Vinifera varieties, including Chardonnay, Petite Sirah, Pinot Grigio, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Lakeridge has won several awards, including Best of Show and double gold, for their Blanc Du Bois 2017.

The impressive tasting room stocks a wide selection of wines for you to sample. Enrich your tasting experience by taking a self-guided tour around the grounds and vineyards.

For a more intimate learning experience, ask for a private tour or tastings, ideal for groups.

Weekends are when the winery comes alive with an outdoor stage for live entertainment, delicious food from various food trucks, and plenty of wine. You can set up your lawn chairs or picnic blanket, listen to live music with a gorgeous view, and the best wine.

Complimentary Winery Tours and Tasting happen daily from 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday from 11 AM to 5 PM.

3. San Sebastian Winery

san sebastian winery

Visit downtown historic St. Augustine, and you’ll find the sister winery of Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards. In the old East Coast Railway building, San Sebastian Winery is an 1800-square-foot facility.

Discover the art of winemaking by visiting the tasting room open seven days a week. With complimentary wine tasting and self-guided tours, you tour the 5,000-gallon stainless steel tanks that store and ferment the wine before bottling.

Move through the tour and arrive at the authentic and rustic Barrel Room. Here, the bronze Carlos, red Noble, Welder, and other wines age after the steel tanks.

Once the tour finishes, head to the Cellar Upstairs Bar and Restaurant, where the winery hosts live music. The menu includes baguette and dipping oil, expresso rubbed beef carpaccio, and cellar cheese board.

Live music usually runs Thursdays through Sundays, either afternoons or evenings. The winery’s website offers a detailed schedule, including an option to view the bands’ bios.

4. Keel & Curley Winery

keel and curley winery

You’d go amiss if you didn’t try one of Florida’s blueberry wineries.

Keel & Curley Winery might be the place to immerse in wine tasting with a production record of 35,000 cases of fruit-based wines, totaling eight different flavored wines and three types of blueberry wines.

In Plant City, close to Tampa, some say visiting the winery can even be a romantic date night. Grapes are still in the blends, and you jump on the trolley and take a tour, learning about their process.

You’ll have a farm-fresh experience as the farm supports sustainability. A tour also consists of walking through the blueberry fields.

After the tour, your palate will enjoy the blueberry-infused wines, ranging from sweet to semi-dry to dry. Order from the winery menu with table service on the outdoor patio or tasting room. You and your family can relax near the lake, watching the otter family play.

If wine is not your palate, then Keel & Curley offers beers and ciders made from apples infused with fruits. The Mango Guava IPA seems popular, while there’s Valentine’s stout with strawberry and chocolate notes for a romantic interlude.

5. Summer Crush Vineyard & Winery

summer crush vineyard and winery

Looking for a winery to sip sweet and semi-sweet wine, relax and feel ultra-welcome? Summer Crush Vineyard & Winery will foot the bill. The owner cares about the people, offering hospitality and carefree events.

A family-owned boutique winery, the vintner and owner Gary Roberts created the winery based on his love for Florida history and surfing.

He studied the native Muscadine grapes and discovered that the oldest wine in the New World occurred at Fort Caroline in 1565.

The vineyard grows Carlos, Noble, and Doreen varieties of Muscadine on the 10 acres. Tours are $15.00, separate from the wine tasting at $12.00.

The tour includes discussions about growing grapes in the vineyard, touring the cellar, and how they make the wine.

Every weekend afternoon there is music or special events. The winery is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 AM to 5 PM. Saturday is until 6 PM, and Sunday is 12 noon to 5 PM.

6. Chautauqua Vineyards

chautauqua vineyards

Close to the most beautiful beaches along the Florida coast, Chautauqua Winery possesses an enchanting atmosphere to taste wine and relax.

The vineyards are 12 miles north of the winery, where 50 acres of Noble and Carlos Muscadine grapes grow and harvest. Brought to Chautauqua, the winemaking process of the naturally sweet grapes begins.

Complimentary tastings are available every day during the operating hours: 9 AM to 4:30 PM. Reservations are unnecessary. You can drop by at your convenience, first come and first serve bases.

They have alcohol-free juice for anyone under 21.

During the tasting, you have six wines to sample. The winemaker pre-selects four of the most popular, and you choose two. Chautauqua’s 2020 estate-grown Carlos Muscadine is deep with a fruity aroma, including a full-body palate.

If you have time, visit the nearby historical DeFuniak Springs and experience a part of Florida’s American history.

7. Strong Tower Vineyard & Winery

strong tower vineyard and winery

Some of Florida’s best wine tasting defines Strong Tower Vineyard & Winery. You and your party will enjoy the craft of a wide range of savoring wines, including Norton, Carlos, Ison, Southern Blanc, and Pinot Noir.

Complimentary wine tasting never got better as you sip and take in the scenic views from the gorgeous veranda. You can also reserve the estate for a private party tasting, weddings, or birthday gathering.

Tours of the vineyard and winery are by request. You’ll stroll the vineyard and watch the wine made in the processing room. Discover how the winery made their Gold, Double Gold, and Silver medal awards.

Besides wine tastings, beautiful scenery, and tours, attend one of Strong Tower’s sponsored events, from an “Evening at the Vineyard” that includes wood-fired pizzas and wine sipping under the starry sky to serene yoga classes.

Estate grown and produced. Their wines are natural, low in sulfites, and highest in resveratrol. The Strawberry port comes recommended for any sweet tooth, flavored with rich strawberries and a deep mocha-coffee finish.

8. Sparacia Witherell Family Winery & Vineyards

sparacia witherell family winery and vineyards
Image: sparaciawitherellfamilywinery

A stunning estate settled 275 feet above sea level, showcasing some of the finest wines in the sunshine state. In historic Brooksville with picturesque farmlands, sip wine, and enjoy the refreshing and salty breezes of the Gulf of Mexico.

The family-owned estate offers complimentary wine tastings with a friendly and delightful tasting room. Step out onto the outdoor patio surrounded by views of farmlands and the majestic vineyard.

You’ll marvel at the beautiful scenery while relishing your wine.

Growing native Muscadine and Hybrid varieties of wine grapes, the family practices biodynamic farming with minimal intervention.

This includes sustainable agricultural methods, preserving the environment, and ensuring the complex flavors for each unique vintage.

Savor the Duet Rose with a rich, floral bouquet with a full and lingering palate but soft in the mouth. You’ll taste raspberry, cherry, and hints of strawberries.

The tasting room opens from 12 PM to 10 PM with food and music from 6 PM to 9 PM.

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About The Author

Will Beck

Will is a true digital nomad, taking his work on the road at every opportunity. His first love is coffee, with whiskey a close 2nd. He loves nothing more than enjoying a perfectly brewed coffee with spectacular scenery whilst he coordinates behind the scenes of the Drink Stack blog!

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