It’s not that things haven’t been happening on Southern Wine Trails this month, quite the contrary. Two new wineries are opening in July, and at least two others are making progress toward opening later this year.
While this writer is trying hard to keep up with all the news, it makes for a busy summer when writing a guidebook is also involved. I am currently two chapters away from completing the Florida Wine Country Guide to North Florida Wineries, and I’m starting to see the light at the end of the vineyard.
Last week, Micanopy Winery south of Gainesville hosted its first group in their vineyard. The concept is a bit different from a normal “stop and taste” winery. They are taking groups and families for a day in the country, offering some Florida history and old fashioned fun. More on this later.
Sokol Vineyards’ tasting room in Ocala opens this Thursday (July 27th) after a couple of highly successful “soft” openings earlier this month. Their bait and tease marketing strategy has Ocala buzzing with excitement, so we wish them a wildly successful grand opening.
As of this writing, there are 18 wineries in North Florida from St. Augustine to Pensacola. Three of them are on the beach and one actually has an ocean view. Others are tucked away in the country, deep in Old Florida. They are located on main roads and off the beaten path, but all of them offer a taste of Florida wine and a unique opportunity to talk to people who actually make wine for a living.
The North Florida wineries guidebook will soon be in the editing stage (hopefully), so I’ll keep you posted with the progress. The book includes in-depth interviews with the wine makers and complete contact information for the wineries. You’ll also learn what wines the wineries are making and what grapes and fruits they’re growing, some wine history, where to find wine festivals and events, and even a few wild, wonderful, wine recipes for you to try at home.
Call me crazy, but this is the third wine book (and the sixth travel guide) I’ve written, and I won’t lie, it’s a lot of work. The research alone is murder, tasting all that wine just so I can report back with the facts. But it will all be worth it when you, dear reader, open the pages and begin your own adventures.
Until, then, happy travels.