Alligators, beaches, theme parks, Daytona 500 and orange orchards… Wine isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Florida. But the sunny state is a wonderful climate for growing Muscadine grapes that are sweet, delicious, and perfect for winemaking.
Florida sets the stage for incredible views, wonderful weather, friendly people and wine worth travelling for. It is a calming and beautiful escape from busy city life and somewhere that you can totally and completely unwind.
Picture yourself in a beach lounger, catching some sun, gripping an icy-cool glass of Florida’s finest Chardonnay. There are plenty of wineries to choose from that have much to offer. Doing a tour of Florida’s wineries will promise you the chance for fine dining, wondrous wine tasting, purchasing of your favourite bottles, magical scenery, and a chance to get to know the lovely people who make magic from the fruits of the vine.
Whether you are booking your trip to Florida to visit family, planning a trip to the wineries, going away for a romantic weekend or even just planning a day out, you are guaranteed to enjoy the beauty that Florida’s wineries and vineyards have to offer.
A Brief History of Wine in Florida
Florida is said to be the birthplace of wine in America.
St Augustine on the northeast coast of Florida has been producing wine since 1565. The first wine grapes ever to be planted in The States were planted in Florida by Spanish missionaries in the 16th century. They did so in order to grow grapes to make wine for their religious practice using sacramental wine.
How Many Wineries are in Florida?
The total of Florida wineries is only 35. While this may not seem like much in the wine industry, the quality of each winery speaks volumes and they all have plenty to offer anyone coming to visit.
What is the Oldest Winery in Florida?
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San Sebastian Winery, founded in 1996 is located at 157 King Street, St. Augustine, Florida. This stunning venue is located in one of Henry Flagler’s old East Coast Railway buildings, just a short walk from the historic downtown area. Winemaking on this farm dates back to 1562.
This award-winning winery has plenty on offer, whether you would like to relax overlooking the view of the vineyards or do some wine tasting in their one of a kind tasting room, you will be sure to be received with a smile and good service. They have a restaurant and bar, wine tours, winery, wine and jazz bar, restaurant, and gift shop.
What Wine is Florida Most Well Known For?
Florida is most well-known for Blanc du Bois, Miss Blanc, and Suwanee, as well as any and all fruit wines.
Top 5 Florida Wines
- Shneblys Malbec Red: A deep and rich bottle of red with a dark fruity body and floral undertones. Acidity is at a medium and the tannins support the fruity and intense flavour of this wine. It has a deep velvety texture with hints of Blueberry, Plume and Cocoa.
- Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon by Lakeridge Wineries and Vineyard: This is a classic bottle of 2014 red with a deep and rich colour. With scents of plum and thick fruit, it is a complex wine. It is textured and full-bodied sharing its hidden undertones of mocha, vanilla blackberry, and cherries.
- Reserve Petite Sirah by San Sebastian Winery and Vineyard: A beautifully unique bottle of dark ruby red that’s smooth on the tongue and immensely well balanced. It is deep, rich and complex and takes an experienced palette to distinguish the notes of blackberry and spice. It also has hints of vanilla with fine tannins, this holds it in good stead when used for pairing with certain foods and desserts.
- Chautauqua Chocolate Port: An unusual bottle of rich Port fortified with Brandy, made from estate-grown Noble Muscadine grapes. It is aged in barrels and has a unique flavour of nuts, currants & black cherries. The Port is rich and dark and infused with coca beans for that rich chocolate taste.
- Black Raspberry Merlot by Key and Curley Winery: A rosy coloured red full of delicious fruity scents hailing from sun-ripened raspberries and roses. It is a light bodied wine with rich raspberry undertones. It pairs wonderfully with so many things, such as Aged cheese, mint, fresh herbs, mushrooms or a berried sauce on grilled beef, salmon, tuna, black olives and dark chocolate.
Best Wineries in Florida
Here are the best wineries you have to visit when in Florida.
Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards
- High ranked winery in Florida
- Incredible views
- Florida’s largest winery
- Hybrid grape growing, unique and delicious wines
- Tours, accommodation and so much more
Schnebly Redland’s Winery
- Spanish moss-lined waterfall, tiki huts, and wooden barrel tasting tables
- No Muscadines or traditional wines
- Wines made from mango, lychee, coconut, avocado, guava and passion fruit
- Tours, tasting room, million dollar views and waterfalls
The Gilded Grape Winery
- Located in Port Charlotte
- Make and individualise your own wine
- Wide range of out of town grapes and exotic fruit to choose from
San Sebastian Winery and Vineyard
- Located in St Augustine in Northeast Florida
- Wine shop and tasting room
- Educational tours and food pairings
- World class quality jazz club
- Fine dining restaurant
- Quantum Leap Winery:
- Located in downtown Orlando
- Environmentally and sustainably run
- The wines are international but packaged and labelled in Orlando
- Barrel room and tasting room open to the public
- Wine tasting and delicious wine and food pairings on offer
Strong Tower Vineyard and Winery
- Located in Spring Hill
- 3 grape varieties
- Family friendly
- Fruity and unique wine selection
- Tours and on-site tasting
- Outdoor veranda with stunning sunsets
Flagler Beachfront Winery
- Ocean views
- Slushed wine
- Use of wine from all over the U.S.
- Tapas and gourmet desserts
- Outdoor patio furniture
The best wineries in Florida are ready and waiting to welcome you. Whether you’re wine tasting, pairing, buying a few bottles to take home or simply enjoying all of these activities, you’re sure to find a farm that you love.