Believe it or not, Florida is home to a winery or two! California moves over; you got nothing on us! My personal favorite is Lakeridge Winery, located in Clermont. It’s my favorite because the grapes are grown here, the existing vineyard is here, and you can tour the vineyard and sample the products.
About Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards
Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards was officially opened in 1989 in Clermont, Florida. Gary Cox, the general partner, then initiated the venture with a small group of investors from Lafayette Vineyards in Tallahassee. The winery is situated on a 127-acre estate in gently rolling countryside, approximately 25 miles west of downtown Orlando. This area was once the center of Florida’s grape industry.
In the early 1980s, Charles Cox, the current president of Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards, began experimenting with grape cultivation in Tallahassee on a modest 5-acre plot. Over the years, the winery has grown tremendously and currently produces nearly 100,000 cases yearly, equating to more than 1 million bottles.
At Lakeridge Winery, several grape varieties are grown, including Muscadine and hybrid grapes, which have been proven to thrive in Florida’s climate. The winery is known for its commitment to quality wine production, incorporating traditional methods with modern technology. The final result is a selection of award-winning, high-quality wines that have gained recognition and appreciation among local and international wine enthusiasts.
Visitors to Lakeridge Winery can enjoy a comprehensive winery experience, including guided tours, tastings, and participation in various annual events and festivals hosted by the winery. Additionally, the sprawling estate serves as a picturesque venue for weddings, corporate gatherings, and private events.
Visiting Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards
Visiting a winery is a great way to spend the day, and there is plenty for the whole family to enjoy. We’ve been visiting Lakeridge Winery for years, often on a whim. Sometimes for specific festivals or events.
Location of Lakeridge Winery
Address: 19239 US Hwy 27, Clermont, FL 34715
You can’t visit a winery and not taste some wine. Wine tasting is complimentary. Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday – 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. If you take the wine-tasting tour, you’ll watch a video presentation first, then tour the production area. Following this, you will sample all the wines, from dry to sweet. There is a wine awaiting you here!
You can still take a complimentary tour if you attend an event or a festival. You will take it before you proceed to the event.
Festivals At The Lakeridge Winery
Throughout the year, Lakeridge Winery hosts many festivals. I strongly recommend attending one of the festivals for a few reasons:
- There is live music to enjoy as you sip on the wines
- Vendors are offering up all kinds of local and unusual goods
- The festivals are themed, each one unique
Some of the most popular festivals at Lakeridge Winery are:
Annual Harvest Grape Stomp
Once harvest season arrives, it’s time for grape stomping competitions! An ideal family outing, this event is sure to please. You can listen to outstanding local musicians performing live music over the weekend. In addition to complimentary tours and tastings, Lakeridge offers wine, beer, soft drinks, and food.
Some of the proceeds from the event support the Alzheimer’s Family Organization
BBQ & Blues Festival
Clash of the BBQ Titans is an annual event! Several of the country’s top BBQ Rib Competitors will compete in an epic battle for the title of Lakeridge Winery’s “Rib Champion”.
The Wine & Cheese Bar offers a variety of great solo acts while you eat delicious BBQ on our outdoor stage, along with live music from some of the region’s leading blues bands. The event will feature a wide array of arts and crafts vendors offering a variety of art and hand-crafted items. Besides the free winery tour and tasting, you can purchase Lakeridge wines, cold beer, ice cream, and other tasty treats.
Winefest offers a chance to sample the fruits of the previous year’s harvest. From dry to sweet, Lakeridge Winery offers an array of award-winning table wines that will entice newcomers and longtime fans. There will be a display of work by local artists and craftspeople. Throughout the weekend, enjoy live music on an outdoor stage. There are several types of wine, beer, soft drinks, and food for sale at Lakeridge Winery, as well as complimentary tours and tastings of the winery.
Wine & Chocolate Festival
The combination of wine and chocolate is one of the best, especially this season. The Wine & Chocolate Festival is one of the year’s most popular events. There will be chocolate treats from local chocolatiers and art and craft displays from local artisans and craftsmen. The entire weekend will be filled with live music from incredible bands. You can purchase Lakeridge wine, beer, and soft drinks, take a complimentary tour, and taste the winery.
Winter Music Series
Lakeridge Winery’s Music Series takes place every Saturday afternoon during January, with live music on the outdoor stage and at the Wine & Cheese Bar upstairs. Musicians hand-picked from Central Florida’s wealth of talent are all fantastic performers. The Winery offers free tastings, tours, and a selection of wine, beer, and soft drinks.
Wine & Seafood Festival
One year, we decided to check out the Seafood Festival. Lakeridge Winery hosts various events and festivals throughout the year. Some of the events are free; some have a nominal entrance fee.
The Seafood Festival held in March was a massive success for Lakeridge Winery. It was packed! When we arrived, we waited in a long line to park. Parking was impressively organized even though the winery had to open up sections never needed before. And they had many golf carts running people up and down to the entrance. The staff said the audience and their most significant attendance date were much more extensive than anticipated. There are pros and cons to this. This is great for the winery financially and great for the vendors. For the attendees, it did mean long lines for wine and other drinks. We suggested more alcohol stations next year, and people sell drinks like beer at the ballpark.
The festival was centered around seafood. Approximately 15 food vendors offered various delicacies such as ceviche, lobster, oysters, crab, and more, all in multiple styles—some vendors specialized in fried fare, some in raw, and some both. You could snack or get a full-on crab boil. We enjoyed the food. Here is a tip: don’t go hungry! We should have eaten first. I say this because we ate at the first vendor, and there were other choices I would have chosen first had I seen them. Even if you eat before you go, you’ll still need to eat a few hours in.
You all know I enjoy shopping, especially for jewelry! Well, forget the wine! Attending this festival was worth it for the jewelry alone. I added three unique pieces to my collection!
A spoon necklace from The Open Bottom Jewelry. I picked the pendant for the spoon necklace and had a custom chain made on-site that was much longer than the original chain. If you go for a bracelet, you can add your charms and customize them. This is my favorite piece of the day; it will be the first of a few silverware jewelry pieces for me.
This next piece is a choker style with an oversized flip-flop pendant with a pink diamond. This one is casual and appropriate for Florida. Again, you can customize, mix, and match the chockers with pendants.
The third piece is a pearl choker with a three-piece dangle of leaves. Very dainty and corporate-ready. This one was extremely cheap, $22, with earrings and handmade!
Lastly, my girlfriend purchased three of these Funny Farm Boo-Tik wine glasses. Guess what friends will be getting for Christmas this year – floozies for ladies and manzies for the fellas! You can customize these in any design you can dream up.
Here is the best part of shopping. All of the vendors are American; all of the products are made in America. Who would not enjoy shopping while sipping a glass of wine, with music in the background, and supporting the local community? This might not be important to everyone, and I am not a stickler. However, I enjoy helping our community, hearing their stories, and seeing our people do their thing and make a living.
Music At Lakeridge Winery
There is typically a band playing at Lakeridge Winery. Some of the events are themed around music, such as jazz. Everyone congregates around the stage with the drink of choice and socializes. It gets jam-packed; be prepared to share your space and make new friends.
What You Need To Know
- You can visit even where no event or festival occurs and take the complimentary wine-tasting tour.
- There are events all year round; check the schedule here.
- If you are attending an event or festival, you must bring a throw or fold-up chair to sit on.
- Regardless of the theme, food vendors and drink stations exist at the front section to the right stage. The lines here were much shorter than those within the themed area.
- Grape stomping is in June; this is an enjoyable thing that the whole family can enjoy.
- Beer is sold at all the events for those who do not like vino!
- You can buy any of the Lakeridge Winery wines you sample and take them home.
- Pets are not allowed, so leave Fido at home. And, no – an emotional support Fido will not cut it.
- The gift shop at the winery has all kinds of goodies! It’s not just wine. You can buy anything wine, cheese, or grape-related!
- You can walk through the grapevines, but be warned: there are rattlesnakes! It’s well signposted, but people continue to throw caution to the wind for that photo. If you must, ensure you have jeans and a good pair of boots.
How much does it cost to tour Lakeridge Winery?
Guided tours are free unless there is an event or festival running. If there’s an event of festival there’s a fee to enter the winery.
Guided Tours and Tasting are offered 7 days a week starting at 10:00 am each day, with the last tour offered at 4:00 pm. Tours usually run every 30-40 minutes and begin with a 10 minute video presentation, which guides you through the entire wine making process and the history of Florida wine. Your personal Tour Guide will then show you the winemaking area and the spectacular view of the vineyards where the grapes are grown and harvested. The guided Wine tasting offers a selection of award winning wines ranging from dry to sweet, and also sparkling. The winery tour and wine tasting lasts approximately 45 minutes and is educational for the whole family! Last chance for touring and tasting offered until 4:00 p.m.
What kind of wine is Lakeridge?
Lakeridge Winery produces a wide variety of red and white wines along with sherries and ports.
What kind of grapes does Lakeridge Winery use?
Lakeridge Winery grows Muscadine grapes. There are three Muscadine grape strains in Florida: Noble (red), Welder (white), and Carlos (purple), all of which are disease-resistant and adaptable to Florida’s hot, humid climate.
Who’s not looking for a great day out with the family that does not cost a fortune? I think we all are, and while the theme parks are great, they are bank account busters! Pack up your beach chairs, bring a ball for the kids, and spend a day listening to a band while shopping or sampling the food. Taste all the wines, enjoy a glass or two, and create new memories at a local winery.
If you visit, let me know what you think! Which wine was your favorite?
Looking for more posts on Florida? Start here:
- 10 Tips For Summer Travel In Florida
- Disney World Resorts on A Dime
- Ten Best Airboat Rides Near Orlando
- Homosassa – Is It Better Than The Crystal River?
- Rainbow River – Why You Should Visit
- The Crystal River – Scalloping and Swimming With Manatees
- The Dome Houses of Cape Romano – Marco Island, Florida
- Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo
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