Is there anything better than kicking back on a beautiful sunny day with a glass of wine made from locally-grown grapes? Well, there is plenty of both in the Sunshine State. With an abundance of wineries in a beautiful landscape, you’ll find just the place to please your wine-loving palette. Here are our 10 favorite wineries in the state.
Along with a sister wine store in DeFuniak Springs, the Emerald Coast Wine Cellars offers a wide variety of take-home items. The item that stands out the most is the Chautauqua Wines, sold exclusively at this location. Red and white wines are available, along with blackberry and blueberry wines. Staples such as chardonnay, port, zinfandel, sherry and merlot are always in stock. Other items for purchase include jams and jellies, grape juice, skin care items, wine gifts, grapeseed oils and stemware. Candles and muscadine syrup are also for sale. The two-story retail store is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for tastings and tours, with the tastings being free.
This winery offers more than just good wine. After a tasting, continue the journey with a look at the wildlife refuge behind the winery. In the wooded area around the home, many wood ducks can be seen from the observation deck. Free tastings are available, consisting of nine wines and one juice. Most popular through the winery are three flavors: Carlos, Blush and Noble. These are all midrange, sweet table wines, and are all made with their local muscadine grape. When participating in the wine tasting, they recommend sampling in a specific order. Start with dry white, then dry red, followed by midrange sweet followed by dessert, and non-alcoholic muscadine juice.
Apopka is home to this family-run winery. Though small on staff, the wine is large on taste. Closed Mondays through Wednesdays, and open to appointments only on Thursdays. Fridays and Saturdays, the winery is open to the public from noon until 7 p.m., and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Sherry and Pablo began blending flavors back in 2005, and have since won many medals. Locally, they have taken home the gold, double gold and bronze medals from the Florida state fair over the years, and are members of the Florida Grape Growers Association.
Bunker Hill Vineyard is a Certified Florida Farm Winery, with a strong trademark statement. “Handcrafted wine is our trademark. Exceptional taste is our pledge,” the vineyard proclaims. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the vineyard offers complimentary wine and jam tastings. They are an environmentally-responsible winery, as well. The process of using 100 percent recycled wine bottles reduces their carbon footprint by 60 percent. The vineyard uses glass carboys to store and age their bottled wine in their wine cellar. This process eliminates the use of oak barrels and shows the company’s commitment to protecting the environment. A few other activities that sets this winery apart include wedding hosting and internships.
On a 50-acre parcel of land, Monticello Vineyards & Winery is in Northern Florida, in the Red Hills bioregion of Jefferson County. A small farm winery that runs on organic muscadine grapes is also a USDA-certified organic vineyard. Over 18 variations of muscadine grapes are grown at this winery, and during the months of August and September, guests can pick fresh grapes. The winery is open for tastings and sales, with hours set for Saturday, Sunday and Monday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is suggested that appointments be set, and are welcome for visits outside of regular business hours. Wines are available for purchase in both a semi-sweet and dry flavor.
Just steps away from the beach, there sits quite a unique, and award-worthy winery. Inside their 900-square foot work space sits aging tanks, filters and bottling station behind the front window. With 20 varieties in production currently, The Florida Winery produces big in a small area. During their first four years, the company took home approximately 50 awards. Their tasting bar is open all day, with free tastings of all flavors. When visiting, be sure to taste their honey wine. Pirate Mead, an orange blossom honey wine, was the No. 1 honey wine in America two years in a row. The product won best of class honey wine in years 2011 and 2012, at the Indy international wine competition. Another taste-favorite is Razi. This flavor has been the leader of the Vino Revolution, the top seller since doors opened at the winery.
Schnebly’s combines the art of brew and winery press, and features an open-door policy for their workspace. Weekend tours of this winery and brewery are available. Each tour lasts about 40 minutes and takes visitors through the stunning estate, offers the history of the family, and takes guests through the wine making process. You will also have the special chance to visit their brewery, Miami Brewing Company, and learn all about how they craft their brews. See first-hand the steps required create their unique Schnebly Wines and Miami Brewing Co. Beers.
Flagler Beachfront Winery offers a full food menu, allowing for the perfect pairing of wine and bread at any tasting. Grab an outside table, and let the relaxing ocean sounds and sights provide the perfect backdrop for a tasting. Virtually always open, visitors can plan a visit any day of the week. Monday through Thursday, they are open noon to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday is noon to 9 p.m. as well.
Formerly known as Endless Summer, this vineyard and winery is a popular choice for those visitors to Fort Pierce. What sets this winery apart from others is that they are the only Florida winery to have won a gold medal at the 2013 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. All their handcrafted Florida wines are international wine competition winners. They are open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. There are special events announced for weekends, so check out their website before making the trip. Winery tours are at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturdays, with no reservations needed. A brief history of the winery, Florida wines and the growing of grapes will be covered in the tour. Tastings are $8 per person, and includes a vineyard logo wine glass. While there, browse their unique gift shop for the perfect takeaway souvenir.
Open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday noon to 6 p.m., visitors to this vineyard and winery can partake in free wine tastings and tours. Find that perfect flavor and take a bottle or two home. Not able to visit this award-winning winery? Check out all their products through their website, and pay just a $10 flat rate shipping for online purchases. Merlot and Spring Blush are a few well-known flavor choices offered. Join their wine club for savings and unique offers.