When you think of wine in the U.S., most people think of California. But Florida has been growing grapes and making wine long before California–since 1564, in fact.
And while in-land Florida may not be a sought-after destination for wine lovers, it should still be known for more than just Disney World. Or maybe the wineries here could be like going to an amusement park for adults, especially if you go to a wine festival. There are several throughout the state you might enjoy. Let’s check them out!
Don’t Miss Out on Trying Florida Wine
On that note, you’ll want to give Florida wine a try if possible. Home to Muscadine grapes that produce white and red wines, Florida has embraced grape production quite nicely. And with over 35 wineries and growing, the Sunshine State is earning its recognition in the wine world.
5 Can’t-Miss Wine Festivals in Florida
Wine festivals in Florida are helping to put the state on the map as a wine tasting destination. These aren’t simple events, either. They’re multi-day extravaganzas that include craft spirits, cocktails, beer, and fine food. Many benefit nonprofits and go above and beyond to make the wine tasting festival an experience.
#1. Central Florida Wine Festival
Address: 121 S. Lake Ave., Lakeland, FL
About the Festival: This is a premier event with over 150 wines, spirits, craft beers, and decadent food samplings from some of the local county’s best chefs, caterers, and restaurants. It benefits the Alliance for Independence, which supports adults with developmental disabilities.
It’s held in an open-air venue, so you can enjoy the Florida sunshine while listening to live music and sipping on fantastic wine.
What a Ticket Gets You: A ticket to this Florida wine festival is all-inclusive. So not only will you enjoy wine, beer, and craft spirits, but you’ll also be well fed and hydrated with bottled water and fine food.
#2. Naples Florida Wine Festival
Address: 2600 Tiburon Dr., Naples, FL
About the Festival: The Naples Winter Wine Festival is another premier wine tasting event. It takes place over three days at the world-renowned Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples and includes fine dining with expertly paired wines and much more.
You can enjoy fine wines while contributing to the Naples Children & Education Foundation. This organization works towards improving the lives of underprivileged and at-risk children in the local area.
What a Ticket Gets You: Tickets to this three-day event include several experiences that go above and beyond wine tasting. You can meet the kids that the Naples Children & Education Foundation supports. Plus, you can experience luncheons, chef-created dinners, a live auction, and dancing–all with spectacular paired wines accompanying each course.
Did we mention that you’ll have a private car and driver too? Can’t beat that.
Traveler’s Tip: If you can’t make it to any of these wine festivals, here are 5 fantastic wineries in central Florida.
#3. Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest
Address: 8099 College Pkwy, Fort Myers, FL
About the Festival: The Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest includes the main event, tasting wines from many vintners, all while exploring the beauty of the Florida SouthWestern State College campus. But the event doesn’t stop there; you can also choose from many themed dinners held in private homes throughout Southwest Florida.
Tickets benefit the SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc, which supports the pediatric health care system including many organizations that serve children with mental health care, educational services, etc.
What a Ticket Gets You: A weekend ticket gets you a vintner chef dinner on the evening before the main tasting, along with entry into the Grand Tasting and Auction event. Or you can purchase entry into the Grand Tasting and Auction event on its own. Either way, you can taste many renowned wines from across the country.
Address: 600 Pier Park Dr., Panama City Beach, FL
About the Festival: Held in a gorgeous open-air park, UNwineD is a weekend full of tasting wine, craft beer, and spirits. Not only that, but you’ll also enjoy the flavors of local chefs and eateries. With booth after booth of all the above, you’ll fulfill your desire for fine beverages and foods.
What a Ticket Gets You: A ticket to this Florida wine festival will get you a gift bag with glasses for unlimited tastings. You can also enjoy your time perusing through Art & Vendor Row shopping for local wares and trinkets. And if you need more to entice you, simply purchase a ticket to the kick-off party the evening prior for handcrafted cocktails and live music.
#5. 30A Wine Festival at Alys Beach
Address: 9581 E County Highway 30, Panama City Beach, FL
About the Festival: This five-day event has everything from wine tasting to elegant dinners to croquet games to mixology seminars–the list goes on. It’s an event that highlights distillers, vintners, and chefs with the highlight of the event being the Grand Tasting. The proceeds benefit the Children’s Volunteer Health Network, so you’ll enjoy the finer things in life during this event all while helping underserved children.
What a Ticket Gets You: It’s up to you what a ticket gets you here. With so many events to choose from, you can create an experience here catered to your unique style. With over 80 wines to entice your palate, along with scrumptious dishes, educational seminars, and fun games, you’ll get your money’s worth.
Wine Festivals Are Exquisite Events
These five wine festivals in Florida offer a true journey into the realm of fine wine and food that create an experience for the senses. After attending any of these exquisite events, your senses will be heightened.
And, your love of Florida wine festivals will make you forget that Disney World is even in Florida. Because Florida is now all about the wine.