On a mild day in Florida, my family and I embarked on a little journey to the largest winery in the region: Lakeridge Winery. Located in Clermont, Lake County, Florida, this winery has been open for 25 years and offers a startling array of vintages to suit all palates.
Our journey began through the doors of the winery proper built in the style of a Tuscan villa replete with stuccoed walls, archways, and wooden rafters lined with grapevines. I was immediately taken by the quaint design of this place: unassuming and yet dedicated to making a first-class beverage.
Our tour began in the wine shop where rack upon rack of hundreds of wine bottles awaited the shoppers. On the south side of the shop there sat numerous accoutrements to wine tasting, storage, display, and fashion chic. In the center of the room sat the bar, a long U-shaped counter behind which sat a plethora of select wines waiting to reach eager lips. But first, we had to take the tour, and luckily we were the first ones in line.
Before us sat 327 acres of luscious muscadine grapes awaiting the harvest, which would come in the next two weeks. The graps would then make their way into the crushers, siphoning out vegetative debris before turning the grapes into a paste. After settling and filtering, the liquor would be ready for the vats.
Above us was this handy little fact, which blew my mind:
Following the tasting, which was of course delicious, enlightening, and somewhat inebriating, my wife took to the shelves to purchase our selected wines whilst I sat on a little bench with my daughter in front of a television watching classic Looney Tunes cartoons. The wines we selected were all based on their light flavor, their simple and unpretentious texture, and their fruity bouquet. Being a sweet wine lover, I was taken with the whites and blushes immediately – the Sunblush, the Southern White, and the Chablis – although their Southern Red caught my taste buds by surprise as well and found its way into our suitcase for the flight home several days later.
So there you have it – an adventure for the senses. Now for some lush food to go with them!