I almost forgot about our visit to Lakeridge Vineyards. Whilst editing my photos I came across a few snaps of reminder. I did not enjoy the wine which probably explains my forgetfulness. However we must take the good with the not-so-good.
Kerry had done some research and found this winery. It’s website stated “Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards opened its doors in February 1989 in Clermont, Florida and sits on a 127-acre estate in gently rolling countryside some 25 miles west of downtown Orlando. This area was once the center of the State’s grape industry. After years of phenomenal growth, Lakeridge ranks as Florida’s largest premium winery, and remains a pioneer in the development of premium and sparkling wines from the native Muscadine grape varieties Noble, Carlos and Welder, as well as Vinifera varieties to include Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon. This excited us to visit the “birth place of the American wine industry” as claimed on it’s website.
We travelled to the winery in our Ford Taurus with Kerry at the wheel. Spotting what I as navigator thought was the turn to the vineyard, Kerry took us down to the “cell door”. We had come to the local goal (jail for any American’s reading this blog). Backing out and going 500m further down the highway we came to our destination.
The cellar is in a Spanish style with vineyards spreading over the hills behind it. It looked quite impressive. So we entered to sample the wares.
We joined the winery tour which was bit different. We first of all watched a 10 minute video on the creation of the winery then took a tour through the vat room out to a rear deck and then back through the wine storage room (not in casks by the way) and then through the gift shop to the tasting bar. Now I had never had Muscadine varietal wine previously and quite frankly I found it unpalatable. Although disappointed with the wine, I was taken by a San Sebastian Lighthouse – a fortified wine in a bottle resembling a lighthouse. I am yet to sample the wine but the lighthouse looks pretty good on the bar at home.
We ended the visit with a picnic. Our neighbours in the vineyard picnic area were celebrating something with cake and sparkling wine (dread the thought of sparkling Muscadine and sugary cake ekk). They had far too much cake so we were offered a slice each but passed on the wine.
I have tried a number of Californian wines none of which used Muscadine grape and found the wine in some respects comparable to our own Aussie wines but the Florida wines must be an acquired taste.