Florida Guide > Miscellaneous
Florida Wineries and Vineyards
When you think about Florida many things come to mind; Sun, Disney World even Orange groves. The one thing that never seems to appear on anyone’s list is grapes and the products that come from them, like wine.
Now it’s at this point that most people think that the Florida’s climate while very nice for tourists is not an ideal one in which to produce grapes. Even if you could manage to grow a crop then surely the resulting wine would not be much good.
Again you would be wrong as some of the wines from Florida have won gold medals at wine shows. Now while these were not large international shows it at least proves that this is an area that is worth investigating if you like wine.
We are not wine connoisseurs but do like to taste the local product where ever we go. We have toured the whole West coast from San Deigo to Seattle stopping at many wineries. Now Florida is never going to cause those growers any sleepless nights. However there were one or two wines that we came across that would drink very well on a warm summer’s evening while watching the sunset over the pool deck.
I am jumping ahead of myself a little here and should perhaps take a general view of what you can find in Florida. If you ignore the Florida Keys then the state is still over 450 miles long from Miami up into the Panhandle. The location of the state dividing the Atlantic from the Gulf of Mexico means that the temperature and climate range can change considerably from South to North. There is less difference in the summer but in the winter months there can often be a twenty degree temperature span between the Southern and Northern ends of the state. This climate affects both the type of grape and how it’s grown. It has even caused some of the growers to produce some wines from fruit other than grapes, but I will deal with that later.
An attempt has been made to try to build this industry into a collection of better producers. The FGGA ( Florida Grape Growers Association ) was formed and the members have invested in developing grapes more suited to the conditions in Florida.
There are now 26 winery’s in the state of Florida, 16 of which have been certified by the state. During our many trips around the state we have been fortunate and unfortunate enough to visit many of them. They very roughly break into four areas; the southern group, the central group which are with easy distance of Orlando, and the northern and Panhandle groups.
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