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Lakeridge Winery Florida
On our last visit to Florida we had been up on the north east coast of Florida to visit St Augustine, and during our stay we took the opportunity to spend a very pleasant afternoon at the San Sebastian winery. During our tour not only did we discover the finer points of wine tasting, but also that the same company owned a large vineyard and winery just outside Clermont, near Orlando in Lake County.
As we were staying just ten miles away down US27 it seemed too good an opportunity to pass up. The exact location of Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards is 19239 N US Highway 27, which is just north west of the city of Clermont. As with its sister winery up in St Augustine, Lakeridge offers free tours and tasting events throughout the day starting at 10 am, but the main purpose of our visit was to see what else was on offer.
The first major difference between the two wineries was location. In St Augustine it was close to the city centre whilst here in Clermont it is set on a hilltop overlooking a working vineyard of over one hundred acres, which we were told, produces different varieties of muscadine grapes. The view across the valley to a small lake is quite stunning given that Florida is often perceived as flat, and sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine in hand and the sun on your face is quite idyllic.
We were visiting in May when the grapes are just beginning to burst through the foliage but perhaps we should have waited until the following month when the winery celebrates its harvest festival. Our guide told us that it is a very busy time of year and the festival attracts visitors from across the state. The event features arts and crafts, as well the obligatory wine tasting, but the main attraction is grape stomping which sounds terrific fun and something we will have to try to fit into a future trip.
Our guide, sensing our look of disappointment at missing out on the forthcoming harvest festival was quick to point out that they have a number of other festivals throughout the year including a jazz festival to celebrate Mother’s Day. A nice touch was that they ask visitors for a $2 donation, which goes to a worthwhile charity of the winery’s choice.
Whilst the festivals make for special trips to the winery, the scenery surrounding Lakeridge is all the incentive visitors really need to make the trip worthwhile.
Back in the gift shop a plethora of wine paraphernalia and gourmet foods are also available together with a selection of fine wines of which the Southern Red, a semi-sweet red table wine made from the Noble variety of muscadine grape, is a best seller.
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