Florida may be best known for its oranges but there is another fruit that is gaining in popularity, grapes! The muscadine grows well in Florida’s heat and there are some adventurous cultivators turning grapes into wine. While there is no Florida wine-region, most of the wineries are dotted along the coast and mid-region. So if you are seeking a break from Florida’s big crowded theme parks, venture out to a winery and toast these intrepid winemakers.
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Day trip Itinerary
If you only have one day to visit a winery while in Orlando, FL, we recommend visiting LakeRidge Winery & Vineyards:
LakeRidge Winery & Vineyards
19239 U.S. 27 North
Clermont, FL 34715-9025
Photo of inside the LakeRidge Tasting Room. Photo by Jeremy Glesner, All Rights Reserved
Located about 40 minutes from Orlando, is LakeRidge Winery & Vineyards. Just off Route 27, this winery sits atop a hill offering views of the surrounding area. Tall palm trees line the driveway that leads to the large Tuscan inspired main house. A giant u-shaped tasting table serves as the focal point to the interior. They like to fill up the table before starting a tasting so don’t be surprised if you’re asked to wait 10 minutes or so for the next tasting to officially begin. They offer tours of the facility and vineyard for those interested in seeing how they prepare the grapes. Dogs are welcome inside the tasting room, on their porch area and on the grounds.
Award winning wines: Blanc Du Bois, Chablis, Crescendo
Our favorites: Pink Crescendo, Sunblush
Dog-friendly hotels, inns and B&Bs:
Search Bring Fido: Homeaway Dog Friendly Rentals
If you’re visiting Florida, it’s likely for their world renowned theme parks, Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. Keep in mind only service dogs are allowed at the parks. Probably for the best, as they can get overly crowded, especially during the summer months. Plus temps soar into the high 90s making for a repressively hot time. Consider taking your buddy to a local doggie day spa or hiring a reputable sitter to keep him/her company while you’re take in the attractions.
Disney and Universal Studios
Disney has four parks for you to consider, Disney World, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Each offers its own unique theme and adventures. Many hotel deals offer admission to your choice of parks included in the final price. Universal Studios has two parks for exploring, Universal Studios FL and Islands of Adventure. Best known for their Harry Potter experiences, the parks also have a variety of themed rides based on popular TV shows and movies. Both Disney and Universal offer separate water parks for those who like to get wet on their vacations.
Photo of Cinderella Castle at Disney World. Photo by Barbara Ann Spengler / CC BY-SA 2.0
Additional wineries to visit
Given Florida’s wineries number in the 20s, and spread out across the state, trying to hit more than one in a day isn't advisable. But if you have time to spare, plan another day trip to one of the following wineries:
Keel and Curley Winery
5202 W. Thonotosassa Road Plant City, FL 33565
Fruits like blueberries, peaches and yes oranges are the stars at Keel and Curley Winery. Blueberry wine is their signature, try all three kinds, made with 100% blueberries. They also offer a Peach Chardonnay, a blend of grape wine and fruit juice. And since you’re in Florida, be sure to taste the Tangerine Tango Zinfandel, made with white Zinfandel grapes and “a touch of Florida Tangerine.” Dogs are welcome inside the tasting room, on the patio and on the grounds.
Tangled Oaks Vineyard & Winery
1317 SR 100, Box 98 Grandin, FL 32138
Tangled Oaks offers a variety of Muscadine inspired wines. Try their popular Nobel Red and Carlos. They also have a fruit blend called Holiday Cheer, “perfect for the holidays.” Dogs are welcome inside, on the patio and on the grounds of Tangled Oaks.
Cover Photo is of the Winery and Tasting Room at LakeRidge Winery & Vineyards. Photo by Jeremy Glesner, All Rights Reserved