When I was researching Carolina Wine Country The Complete Guide back in the last century, one of the winemakers made the statement, “you can make wine out of anything.” He was illustrating the fact that, although most of our wine experience is with European varietal grapes, humans throughout history have made wine from a lot of different fruits.
Muscadine grapes, of course, were the first wines made in America, but anything that will ferment is fair game; strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mangos, and blends of these and other fruits make light refreshing fruit wines. So it’s no wonder that the Florida wine industry has embraced fruit wines. Florida grows a lot of fruit.
Most Florida wineries can be found in the central to northern parts of the state. Here’s where fruit grows so abundantly. In fact the farthest south that blueberries grow comfortably is the area near Arcadia, Florida where Island Grove Wine Company, the biggest blueberry grower in the state, maintains about 100 acres of a low-chill variety.
Some wine makers grow a variety of fruits for their wines. Florida Orange Groves Winery in St. Petersburg, Florida is the largest distributor of fruit wines, 43 different wines in all, made from citrus, tropical fruits and even vegetables. How about a glass of carrot wine?
Truth is, the idea of wine is only limited by your idea of what wine is. If you’re a Vitis Vinifera purist, then by all means, enjoy sipping your Chardonnay or Merlot. Muscadine lovers, enjoy that musky flavor of America’s native grape. But if you’re bold, if you want something different, try a blueberry, a strawberry, or a kiwi wine. Royal Manor Winery makes a kumquat wine that will know your socks off. No really!
So, when you’re out exploring Florida wine, leave your predispositions at home and take along your sense of adventure. This is the state where you’ll find the most variety. From Flagler Beachfront Winery beach slushies to Lakeridge Winery’s Ruby Port, you can literally get your fruits and veggies fermented, because you can make wine out of anything.