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Lakeridge Winery, Clermont - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Other Florida

A winery in Florida? Well why not? They certainly have the climate and just 18 miles up the 27 past Clermont is the 127 acre Lakeridge Winery-you will see it on the right hand side before you come to the exit for the Turnpike.

It first opened it’s doors in 1989 and has seen some phenomenal growth in recent years with visitors upwards of 110, 000 per year. Just as the wine begins with a small grapeseed so did the owner Gary Cox start really small. Firstly by planting 5 acres of vineyards at his home before taking the plunge and branching out into making it a commercial venture.

The grapes that are cultivated in the vineyards surrounding the winery are Muscadines and hybrids bred for their resistance to disease and their ability to cope with Florida’s warm humid climate and relatively mild winters. The site that the winery is on also has good drainage and air circulation.

Each ton of grapes yields and amazing 165 gallons of wine or 833 bottles. Not all the grapes used for winemaking are grown at Lakeridge they do have some local grape growers under contract.

On the day we visited we had already been up to Mt Dora for the day and just happened to be passing by on the right side of the road and thought we would call in for a quick look.

We were given a warm welcome at the pleasant rather Spanish looking building and we didn’t have to wait too long for the next tour to begin. No booking is needed and the tours are continuous throughout the day until 5pm.

Unfortunately for wheelchair users most of the tour is up a flight of stairs and there is no lift. Disappointing I know. I just waved the non-wheelchair users on- but the friendly staff did put on the same dvd of the winery that was shown upstairs. You just miss out on the tour of the bottling and labelling plant. While I was waiting for the rest of my party-or for the party to start-hic! I just went outside and had a look at the view of the vineyards-very relaxing and peaceful out there.

So not too disappointing. However the best bit-the wine tasting-all takes place around the large bar downstairs-so no problems there. Your bar host will tell you a little about each wine before pouring you a generous glassful of about 5 or 6 delicious different varieties.

After you have discussed the merits of each one you then have a chance to purchase your favourite wines and accompanying gourmet cheeses, crackers, olive oils as well as a browse around the gift shop which sells everything that no home bar tender can do without-bottle openers, wine coolers, picnic sets or even have a gift box made up to your specification at a price to suit any budget.

It is worth joining the emailing list for news of upcoming events as they have a programme that runs throughout the year often admission is free or maybe just $2 if they have music as well.

This was a lovely afternoon out-and all for free and I can well recommend it.

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