Looking for the Best Wineries in Florida?
Are you a wine connoisseur? Are you someone who simply likes to sip, swirl and sample wines? If so, you probably don’t think of Florida when you think of exquisite wines, vast wineries, or an assortment of signatures that have been harvested and produced in the southern sun. You may even be surprised to learn that Carlos (white) and Noble (red) grapes are, in fact, most indigenous to the sunshine state and naturally sweetened from their unique vines. However, in spite of what you may believe, Florida has actually produced some award-winning wines.
Luis Fernando Olaverri said that “wine is the only artwork you can drink,” which Floridian’s seem inclined to agree with. Whether you’re looking for a traditional but delectable merlot, a unique spiced wine or even a wine slushy, one fact remains – wine tastings are an undeniable artform. From a sweet, refreshing wine in the spring to a delicious autumn sangria or a warm, mulled winter wine, Florida won’t let you down.
While the Sunshine State may not be the first place you think of when you think of winey locations in the U.S., let the Florida surprise you the next time you come for a visit. Stop in any of the wineries or wine bars, or simply stroll along scenic vineyards and botanical gardens. More than just seafood and surfing, Florida offers some really neat wineries and vineyards you shouldn’t miss out on.
Here are 10 Florida wineries and vineyards that are sure to impress to get you started.
10 Best Wineries in Florida
Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards
Located just 25 miles outside of Orlando, in Clermont, Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards is the largest and one of the top wineries in Florida sitting on almost 130 acres of rolling hills and countryside land! Producing and harvesting only native muscadine grapes with their distinct aromas and flavors, Lakeridge winery was once the home of Florida’s grape industry and can hold up to 200,000 gallons of wine and champaign at any given time.
Also, the exquisite wines made at Lakeridge are full of antioxidants and, therefore, they’re healthier than some others. Open for nearly 3 decades now, winery tours and tastings are both offered here, as well as frequent music and food festivals with two stages for performances, one outdoor on the back lawn and the other indoor by the wine and cheese bar.
Because of that, Lakeridge regularly brings in locals, first time guests and repeat customers. Starting with a 10-minute video presentation on the history of wine in Florida and the wine making process, tours usually last about 30-45 minutes and conclude with a wine tasting of award winning sweet and dry wines, as well as a sparkling.
Lakeridge is open 7 days a week and sometimes they’ll even offer a buy one, get one free entry ticket. Sunday hours are 11am – 5pm but all other days of the week they open at 10am. Closing is at 5pm all week but the last tour and tasting is taken at 4pm. Pets are okay during tours and on the grounds but, during the music and food festivals, only service animals are allowed on the grounds.
The Florida Winery
The Florida Winery is your one stop shop for tasting delicious reds and whites, frozen wine, cigars and interesting gifts! And, the best part, you can sit and sip with a view because they’re just steps away from the beach!
The wines at The Florida Winery are specifically hand-picked by their wine master and made in small batches to allow for crafting limited quantities of unique, bold flavors of vino! Everything from their traditional Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to their signature Orwi orange wine, made from fresh local Florida oranges, is delectable and unforgettable.
Try their Razi wine, made from a smooth blend of White Zinfandel and field ripened raspberries. It has been the Silver Medal Winner in the Indy International Wine Competition and has also been their number one best seller since the beginning.
The Pirate Mead is another great choice, which is an incredible orange blossom honey wine. This one is also award winning, taking home the 2011 and 2012 Indy International Wine Convention Best of Class Honey Wine two years in a row.
To this day, it remains a favorite amongst wine enthusiasts. For something refreshing and different, try any of their famous frozen wines or take home a bottle of their original wine freezes.
These allow you to make a glass of wine at home by starting with their one of their delicious freeze mixes and simply adding your own bottle of wine to it. And with several interesting flavors to choose from like their key lime margarita, mango and even a tasty dream cicle flavor, there’s sure to be a tasty choice for everyone’s palate.
Rosa Fiorelli Winery & Vineyard
This family owned and operated winery and vineyard located in Bradenton, south of Lake Manatee, has been in business for 20 years growing and producing only muscadine grapes for their wines.
It is a small, quaint little spot of less than 10 acres and is found just off the beaten path. With almost a dozen unique varieties to sample on a beautiful patio overlooking the vineyards, Rose Fiorelli is one you don’t want to miss out on. They also serve some light fare to pair your wine with too. The caprese, for example, is delicious with its ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, arugula, basil pesto and balsamic glaze drizzle. Not hungry for something quite as filling?
Try a cheese plate, instead, which always goes well with wine, or sample a few varieties and choose one to take along with you for a nice, leisurely stroll around the vineyards. They’re open for tours on Thursdays, Fridays and weekends which includes an introduction to the winery, some history on the location and the winemaking process. Tastings, on the other hand, cost $12 to taste seven locally crafted wines. Weekday tastings and tours begin at noon and weekend tastings and tours begin at 11am. Reservations are preferred but walk-ins are welcome.
With its incredible 360-degree backdrop of the vineyards, their large and accommodating event pavilion with formal linen tablecloths and elegantly hung, romantic string lighting, Rose Fiorelli is famously responsible for some very beautiful weddings in the past. So, whether you’re going with friends, family, hosting a special event or just going at it alone, this winery and vineyard is sure to not disappoint. One of the best Florida vineyards.
Island Grove Wine Company at Formosa Gardens
Just south of Orlando, this classy and relaxing winery is an agritourism attraction in Kissimmee that boasts being a vacation for your mind, body and soul.
They offer food, drinks and fun for the whole family. It sits on 7+ acres of beautiful botanical gardens and they serve a delicious variety of quality wines not only from Florida, but from around the world as well. And, in addition to their traditional grape wines, as well as their fruity ones, Island Grove also serves a nice selection of local craft beers too.
Coffees, espresso drinks and teas are other drink options. Since this place offers both inside and outside patio seating, it makes for a lovely choice for parties and events, which they’re happy to host for you. Tours and tastings are both available here with self-served wine tastings available with a preloaded money card which can also be reloaded. While you sip and sample, why not try one of their gourmet flatbreads or French onion soup?
Dedicated to agricultural sustainability and educating others about it, Island Grove was built on three philosophical principles including caring for the planet, caring for people and returning surplus back to the earth.
In order to do this, they grow and produce their own fresh fruits and vegetables and, recently, they’ve even added their own honeybee hive on the grounds. They are closed Monday through Wednesday but, otherwise, they open at 11am on weekdays and they open at 10am on weekends. Brunch is now available every day of the week with $8 mimosas and sangrias and $7 bar appetizers are sold on weeknights. A great winery in South Florida.
San Sebastian Winery
This massive 75-acre establishment is located in St. Augustine, near historic downtown, in one of Henry Flagler’s old East Coast Railway buildings.
San Sebastian produces hybrid and muscadines grapes that make some delicious vinifera wines like Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon as well as Port and Cream Sherry. In addition to these delicious table, sparking and dessert wines, they have a selection of domestic and imported beers, too.
The Cellar Upstairs Wine Bar and Restaurant is situated on the rooftop of the winery and offers incredible views of the St. Augustine skyline, open patios and live music from local and regional talent. Light meat and cheese boards, fresh salads and tasty sandwiches are all available; however, the restaurant is only open on weekends.
With nearly 30 years of production and over 700 awards for excellence, San Sebastian is one of the most premium wineries in Florida and uses only native Noble grapes for their Cabernet Sauvignons, Pinot Niors, Merlots, Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blancs and Rieslings and native Bronz Carlos muscadine grapes for their white wines. They offer complementary 45-minute wine tours with tastings of seven or eight of their most delicious wines.
These tours and tastings start in their upstairs theater for an audio-visual of their wine making process which includes 500-gallon stainless steel tanks for fermenting and storing until it’s ready to be bottled. The gift shop has a full service basket department for custom made gifts that can include a variety of wines, gourmet cheeses and chocolates, spreads and sauces, wine accessories and more. They’re open weekdays from 10am – 5pm and on Sundays from 11am – 5pm.
Chautauqua Vineyards and Winery
Chatauqua Winery is Florida Farm Winery certified and located in the small, charming Victorian town of DeFuniak Springs. This sophisticated winery was established in 1979 and started harvesting Carols and Noble muscadine grapes within ten years, producing award winning wines at affordable prices.
Their 50-acre vineyard is located off-site about 12 miles north but tours of the winery and complementary tastings are both available at Chautauqua.
Tours include the wine making process and tastings are held at their tasting bar which overlooks their stainless steel containers where fermentation is taking place. Try their Port or Sherry for a delicious blend that started over 20 years ago. At Chautauqua, they’re crushing up to 70 tons of grapes at once and their tanks are capable of holding 3,000 – 6,000 gallons! Most of their wine selection is produced there but they do have a few that aren’t local. During the cooler months, when it isn’t quite as hot outside, their lovely outdoor patio area makes for an enjoyable spot to sit, relax and have a glass of wine with friends or family.
Harvest season is also a particularly enjoyable time to visit, around August and September, because you can stroll the vineyards and try a few of their freshest grapes along the way.
The staff are also extroverted, very friendly and extremely knowledgeable about their tasting samples which makes the experience that much more enjoyable and the grounds themselves are always fresh, clean and well kept. Leashed animals may be on the property but not inside the tasting room. Service dogs, however, are allowed anywhere. Chautauqua Vineyards and Winery opens daily at 9am and they’re open 7 days a week.
Emerald Coast Wine Cellars
Emerald Coast Wine Cellars is the Miramar Beach sister winery to Chautauqua (just mentioned) and exclusively sells Chautauqua wines.
This two-story retail store and winery has been in business for over 20 years and offers complementary tastings of all their non-seasonal wines, as well as one seasonal, which are all produced and bottled at Chautauqua Winery. In this casual atmosphere of fine wines, you’ll find tasty reds and whites, port, as well as some delicious blueberry and blackberry wines.
The Beach Berry Breeze is a common favorite of both locals and travelers alike with estate grown Carlos muscadines and natural peach and orange infused flavors. It’s a sparking wine with 6% residual sugar and 10.5% alcohol. Another fantastic wine is their Winter Berry, which is flavored with cranberry juice, orange peel, cinnamon, cloves and other mulled wine spices. Unfortunately, though, it’s a seasonal wine so it sells fast. The retail store has so much to offer, too, with everything from jams and jellies to skin care products and candles. Obviously, the store has single wrapped wine bottles for sale but you can also purchase pre-filled gift baskets.
They even employee several certified gift bag designers so it makes the process less stressful and is guaranteed to be an appreciated gift. For even more shopping items, they’re on Facebook and Instagram at Miss Emerald Coast Boutique.
Emerald Coast is open 7 days a week from 10am – 5pm for tastings and 10am – 6pm for the store. They are, however, closed for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and Easter, they are not pet friendly and they also do not host private parties or special events.
Strong Tower Vineyard and Winery
Located in Springhill Florida, this charming and expansive vineyard and winery is also a certified Florida Farm Winery and has won both silver and gold awards in the Florida International Wine Competition. A local and tourist favorite, wines from Strong Tower are all freshly grown, processed and produced from start to finish on site.
These wines are produced from three varieties of hand selected grapes with low sulfites and include Norton, Ison & Carlos muscadines, and sweet blueberry, strawberry and watermelon wines. Strong Tower offers complementary tastings in their small tasting room as well as a tour of their processing room and vineyard. Afterward, sip a refreshing glass on the outdoor veranda and simply relax and take in the scenery. Staff here is also very friendly, knowledgeable and not pushy to purchase.
Events at Strong Tower include yoga in the vineyard for all levels of experience as well as being another winery that offers the “U-pick” concept during harvest season, which is fun for the whole family. These fun, kid friendly events often include food trucks and live music but, again, anyone tasting or drinking alcohol beverages must show an ID and be at least 21 years old.
Strong Tower is also available for private events, but it is highly encouraged that you book your reservation as far in advance as you can since their calendar tends to fill up quickly. Wine accessories and gifts are available in their store so be sure to check that out but keep in mind that delicious seasonals like their Masaryktown Blueberry wines sell out fast. Strong Tower opens daily at 11am on Wednesdays through Saturdays.
The Gilded Grape Winery
The Gilded Grape is a modest winery with an elegant wine bar located in Port Charlotte. This small, casual spot isn’t very flashy or fancy but they’ve been in business for over 15 years and all premium wines are made on site.
They’re closed on Sundays and Mondays but, otherwise, they’re open daily from 9am – 5pm for tastings only, not tours, with their last scheduled tasting at 4pm. One interesting thing about The Gilded Grape is that you can make your own wine here. Th process of making your own wine takes about 6 – 8 weeks and, once it’s ready, they even help you bottle your wine.
The wine making kit comes complete with all the necessary ingredients that you’ll need to make your wine and typically produces about 30 bottles when finished. If you aren’t into making your own wine, though, they have over 70 delectable options of reds and whites, as well as both sweet and dry wines that you can choose to sample, all of which are low in sulfites.
Another interesting thing that the Gilded Grape offers are regularly scheduled fun activities. One night could be karaoke and the next night could be wine glass painting. Regardless, there’s something for everyone. But, more than just producing incredibly delicious wines and providing entertainment, they also have tasty foods and reasonable prices.
In addition to an extremely friendly and knowledgeable owner, Paul, the staff is equally so. For a delicious fruit wine, try either their Acai Raspberry Rapture or their Blackberry Blast. For a dessert wine, both the Sunrise Harbour (crème brulee) and the Sunset Harbour (toasted caramel port) are excellent choices. One of the best wineries in Florida for sure.
Schnebly Redland’s Winery and Brewery
This tropical oasis and grandiose estate is located in Homestead, the southern most winery in the United States, and offers a peaceful, serene ambiance with a beautiful courtyard and natural waterfalls.
In addition to winery tours and wine tastings, Schnebly Redland’s also has a restaurant and a beer tasting taproom. The restaurant, The Redlander, is farm to table cuisine and is open for brunch, lunch and dinner. The Redlander, however, is only on weekends and starts serving food at 11am. They also host events that encourage local participation.
One event, for example, includes a day with your pup at the winery while another event includes line dancing. With so many exotic and tropical fruit wines, it’s worth the consideration to be a part of their wine club where you’ll receive new wines quarterly. Schnebly Redland’s is a romantic place for weddings or the perfect place to throw birthday parties or to have an anniversary date.
They even offer packages for these celebrations, including a bachelorette package for an exciting time with friends or family before the big day. If you plan to stay and dine at the restaurant, try their world-famous stuffed avocados with either chicken, shrimp or steak.
They also have vegetarian and vegan options, as well as a kid’s menu that includes all the classics that children love like chicken tenders, a burger, a grilled cheese and pasta dishes. Reservations are recommended but not required. Family owned and operated for over 25 years, this husband and wife team is dedicated to improving South Florida, particularly the Redland area where the winery and brewery are located.
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