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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Florida's wine trail

When one of the publications I deliver for extra cash had the headline "Traveling Florida's Wine Trail" my ears picked up.  I happen to like wine and while I would not consider myself an expert by any means I do understand  how the environment affects the taste of a wine, how the variety of grapes used in the wine can affect the taste and other "snobby" things along those lines.

I like the idea of jumping on the Burgman and following the scenic back roads to some of the better Florida wine producers.  I also like a little history and discovered that my adopted state was making wines for a full 300 years before California became a state.  The problem of course is that Florida, with it's hot sticky summers and dry winters is not really conducive to wine making.  Disease and molds were common issues and it was not until the 1920's that breeding programs were developed to create disease-resistant grape varieties suited to our sandy soils and often miserable climate.  Florida wine makers ended up using more fruit and the native Muscadine grape.

An idea started to form in the back of my head about traveling to some of the nearby wineries.  After all one of my goals this year was to get out more on the bike and explore my adopted state.  Taking the back roads to a destination that was close, but not to far.  Using Mapquest I quickly found that there were five different wineries within an hour ride of me.  Picking up a bottle or two of a good local product would not only help the economy, but might introduce me to a good wine or three.

So I think I've a goal this coming summer.  To visit the following places, most of which are within 75 miles and would take about an hour of riding time.  I love Rosa Fiorellia Winery - Susan, my lovely girlfriend and I went for a wine tasting dinner there some time ago and as such I'm not including them on my list.  However it's certainly possible to do and I feel confident that I could to this on my bike pretty easily.
So in no particular order I hope to visit the following places soon:

Strong Tower Vineyards - Spring Hill, FL. 
Lakeridge Winery - Clermont, FL.  
Keel and Curley Winery - Plant City, FL.  
Florida Orange Groves Winery - St Petersburg, FL. 
While I'm not a fan of fruit based wines the last two mentioned are fruit based wine producers.  I've tried a Blueberry from Keel and Curley before and didn't find it to bad.  I tried a kumquat wine and a few others from Florida orange Groves before...and was not impressed.   But I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and try something different.

Now for the required safety talk.   Don't drink and drive.  (edited since Mapquest was not working correctly.)

1 comment:

David Masse said...

Well there's another thing we have in common: a significant other whose name is Susan!

I enjoyed that post. Keep them coming.