Margaritas may often be the beachgoer’s beverage-of-choice, but the Suncoast is also a perfect place to enjoy local wine. Florida’s wineries are refreshingly atypical, so wine traditionalists beware! Muscadine grapes, which are native to the state, are sweet and crisp and lend themselves to more modern takes on the beloved nectar of the gods. Vineyards experiment with fruit infusions, personalized mixes, and many forego grapes altogether in the winemaking process. Here are seven of our favorite places to taste Sarasota wine.
1. Sarasota Vineyard
Sarasota Vineyard is a warm, friendly downtown spot for catching up with friends or taking a first date. The wine list changes regularly and always includes a variety of both old and new world wines. The restaurant has over 100 wines on ‘tap’ in wine dispensers so you can try new and exotic wines in the size of your choice. A card machine lets you choose the type of wine and amount you want for a truly personalized wine tasting experience.
2. Siesta Key Tropical Wines
Just off the coast of Sarasota, you’ll find Siesta Key Tropical Wines and some of the most fun you can have tasting wine. Sample a variety of Florida local wines as well as a few others, ranging from ice wines and ports to low-sulfite tropical and traditional wines. Where else can you find Kiwi Pear Sauvignon Blanc and Blueberry Pinot Noir?
3. Vin Cella
If you’re a wine collector, then you will appreciate Vin Cella not only for its functionality when it comes to wine storage but also for its old world elegance. It is touted as a country club for wine lovers, featuring a wine cave, clubhouse, concierge services, and exclusive tastings of fine wine.
A yearly wine storage lease includes full member privileges and access to all of Vin Cella’s luxurious amenities. The Tuscany Room is elegant and romantic and offers a spectacular view of the vineyards. The Aficionado Lounge is suited for smaller, more casual meetings and is decorated with Persian carpets and plush leather couches.
4. Bijou Café
Ready for a leisurely evening of wine tasting and shopping? Visit The Bijou Café on the first Friday of each month and bring $20 to taste some of the finest wine selections in town. The wine list includes imports as well as local wines from Sarasota, Tampa, and St Petersburg.
Would you like some wine with that cheese? Sample a plentiful cheese board as well as delicious hors d’oeuvres to accompany your wine selection. Many of the nearby art galleries and shops have extended hours to give you time to browse while you sip, and there is almost always free entertainment!
5. Florida Orange Groves Winery
If you’re more adventurous or like to explore fruit wines beyond traditional grape, there’s a winery not too far away that has just what you want! The Florida Orange Groves Winery is Florida’s original tropical fruit winery and produces over 43 different varieties of premium tropical fruit wines, all of which are gluten free! Try fun flavors such as Key Lime Champagne, Hurricane, and Mango Mamma and take a unique gift home from the gift shop.
6. Goodfellas Cafe & Winery
Goodfellas serves up homemade Italian food that’ll remind any wiseguy of his mamma’s cooking, and artisan wines to complement it. Sip a glass of one of their classic-wines-with-a-twist, such as the Orange Seville Seduction Sangria or the Reese’s Strawberry Riesling. Sign up for a personalized wine making class and learn how to use the winery’s fermentation, racking, and bottling equipment. At the end of the class, you will take home your very own wine, complete with custom vinyl labels, corks, and shrink seals of your choosing.
7. Rosa Fiorelli Winery
Perhaps the most traditional of the Florida wineries, Rosa Fiorelli Winery, is the only grape winery and vineyard on the gulf coast of Southwestern Florida. These old world wines feature locally grown grapes harvested from the ten-acre vineyard. Call ahead to schedule a time to tour the small family-run winery and vineyard, or enjoy the monthly “Wine and Dine Dinner” in the vineyard.
From traditional to exotic, there is bound to be at least one Sarasota wine that you’ll enjoy. Give these wineries and wine bars a try and let us know what you think! If you’re in the neighborhood or looking to move to Sarasota, we hope you’ll stop by our temporary leasing office for a hard-hat tour. You can also take a virtual tour of our luxury apartment homes online or give us a call at (941) 328-2400.
Hope to see you soon!