While Florida may be considered an unconventional wine destination, the Sunshine State is home to sweet Muscadine grapes that produce excellent wines worth sampling. Combining traditional wine processes with Florida’s unique personality and flavor, these wineries break all the rules with fruit-inspired wines and sparkling citrus varieties. From romantic vineyards to oceanfront properties, here are some of the best wineries in Florida to visit.
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Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards, Clermont
Consistently ranked the top winery in Florida, Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards is an expansive 80-acre property with picturesque landscapes of rolling vineyards, making it a popular choice throughout the year. A great place to get a taste of Florida’s “wine country,” it’s located only 25 miles outside of Orlando in Clermont. Florida’s largest premium winery, visitors can come and take a tour of the facility or attend one of their annual events, concerts and festivals. Tours take place inside the lodge, where you’ll be able to taste a few of the 12 wines produced here. The tours are led by entertaining guides, where you’ll watch a video presentation and then be given a chance to see Florida hybrid bunch grapes including Stover, Suwannee, and Blanc De Bois.
Schnebly Redland's Winery, Homestead
Truly an ambiance like no other, Schnebly Redland’s Winery in Homestead boasts a Spanish moss-lined waterfall, tiki huts, and wooden barrel tasting tables. Wine enthusiasts can get out of their comfort zone here, as you won’t find any muscadines or traditional wines. Instead, this exotic fruits only vineyard is home to specialty wines made from mango, lychee, coconut, avocado, guava and passion fruit. Weekend Tours take around 30-40 minutes, where you’ll be taken through the entire winemaking process. Pop in the Tasting Room on one of Florida’s hot summer days and soak in views of a lush courtyard and waterfalls before indulging in a refreshing glass of fruity wine. The events calendar at this winery is jam-packed throughout the year, pairing live music events with their delicious range of wines.
The Gilded Grape Winery, Port Charlotte
Offering something totally different than other wineries in the state, The Gilded Grape Winery in Port Charlotte is one of Florida’s best-kept secrets, offering individualized wine and the opportunity to make some for yourself. Separating themselves from the competition and steering away from the typical winery scene, here you’ll find wine crafted from juice imported from out of the state. Visitors have a range of grapes and exotic fruits to choose from in creating their unique concoction, and in two months you will be able to take home your masterpiece and show off to your loved ones. The traditional merlot, deep orange chocolate port and seasonally inspired tangerine lemon wines are just a few of the local favorites here that have people coming back for more.
San Sebastian Winery, St. Augustine
A beautiful property in northeast Florida, San Sabastian Winery in St. Augustine is a sister to the award-winning Lakeridge property in Clermont. Founded in 1996, the wines here are made on the property, where a tasting room offers a variety of choices to sample in addition to a wine shop to bring home your favorites. The vineyards are elsewhere in Florida, but wine lovers can still participate in free tastings and educational tours. Pairing St. Augustine’s stunning skyline with refreshing glasses of wine, are The Cellar Upstairs Wine, Jazz & Blues Bar is a perfect spot to listen to live music and dine on light fare. The location is great, nestled in one of Henry Flagler’s old East Coast Railway buildings just a few blocks from downtown.
Quantum Leap Winery, Orlando
Located in Orlando in the heart of downtown, Quantum Leap Winery is one of the state’s newest wineries. Created by a former food and beverage industry executive and an environmental industry pioneer, this winery was designed with a philosophy of environmental sustainability. While wines come here from around the world, they are unique in that each of these treasures is blended and packaged in Orlando in order to reduce their overall carbon footprint. With environmentally conscious practices, you can come for the wine and feel good about enjoying quality wine while also respecting our environment. Visit the Barrel Room and Tasting Room for an old-world ambiance perfect for wine tasting, and pair it with a selection of cheese, charcuterie, and chocolates.
The Florida Winery, Madeira Beach
A small venue that packs a lot of punch, The Florida Winery in Madeira Beach offers a range of wine made in-house. An award-winning winery just steps from the beautiful beaches in the area, space here is quintessentially Florida. This tiny 900 square foot winery bottles their wines by hand right in the front window, and with over 20 varieties and 60 wines being produced, visitors are spoiled for choice in their delicious libations. A tasting bar is open all day with free tastings of their entire range of wines, where island style music and brightly colored decor take you away from your daily stressors. A menu full of gourmet foods complements the wine well, from coconut candies to hot sauce, while wine accessories, home decor, and gift items are also available.
Strong Tower Vineyard & Winery, Spring Hill
Open since 2001, Strong Tower Vineyard & Winery is located in Spring Hill. What started as a planting of a few vines became an inspiration for hard work and perseverance. In 2008 Strong Tower became a Florida Farm Winery, where 11 lush acres are now home to three grape varieties each chosen for its own unique flavors and characteristics. Both expert wine enthusiasts and casual wine drinkers will enjoy the seasonal blueberry, strawberry and watermelon wines, and their “U-Pick” harvest season is the perfect family outing. Tour the processing area and vineyard to see how wines are processed and watch the final step in labeling the bottle. Visit the on-site wine shop with plenty of delicious wines to take home, from whites, reds, blush that range from dry to sweeter, while wine tasting on-site at their lovely veranda is also a popular activity.
Dakotah Vineyards & Winery, Chiefland
A family winery a couple of miles north of Fanning Springs, Dakotah Vineyards & Winery invites you to sit amongst the lush veranda of grape arbors that surround the property. A peaceful oasis surrounded by nature, the winery’s deck is where to soak in views of Canadian geese in the sky and Koi and baby ducklings throughout the property. Dating back to 1985, the original vineyard had a combination of fresh fruit muscadines and wine muscadines. Now, this 20-acre property boasts the perfect place to spend an afternoon, where you can sample 9 wines and one juice. The most popular wines here are carlos, blush and noble, midrange sweet table wines made from the local muscadine grape. Sweet lovers should also make a note to try the port and cream sherry dessert wine, while dry chardonnay, merlot and cabernet sauvignon will appeal to other palettes.
Flagler Beachfront Winery, Flagler Beach
If you want slushed wine with beach views, Flagler Beachfront Winery is the place to be. Making wine using grapes from all over the United States, this winery has some innovative ideas that capture the appeal of even non-wine drinkers. Combining unobstructed ocean views and frozen wines, visitors flock here from around the state to taste the perfect remedy for Florida’s hot summer days. With flavors like raspberry, blueberry or watermelon slushies, visitors can even mix flavors and keep their drink cool in a “Got Slushed” tumbler. Host to a range of Winemaker Tastings, food and wine pairings and full moon parties, this venue is always busy. Stop in and soak in the laid-back atmosphere on the outdoor patio, as tapas plates and gourmet desserts go perfectly with a refreshing glass of wine.
Summer Crush Vineyard & Winery, Fort Pierce
A family-owned winery, Summer Crush Vineyard & Winery is a must-see in Fort Pierce, as it’s the result of the owner’s love of surfing, history, native muscadine and fruit wines. Vintage surfboards line the walls in addition to other related memorabilia, while handmade wine barrels set the scene for a unique tasting bar. Rocking chairs urge visitors to relax and unwind, while the 10-acre vineyard and festival area highlight the white sandy beach, pavilion, landscaped pool and wooden swings. Take a tour of the facility to hear about the winery’s history and a walk through the cellars where they make the wine.