winemaking kits and tips

Not far from Grandin is a very sleepy little town called Florahome. Half-way up beautiful Coral Farms Road is Sirvent’s Farm and Vineyard. If you thought Tangled Oaks had a relaxed air, Sirvent’s is positively laid-back. No big signs or bright lights here. Owner John Sirvent, a crusty 70+ year old, has been growing wine grapes for decades and routinely shares his insights with others wanting to grow their own grapes or make their own wine. He’ll pull you up a chair and let you sample peach or blueberry wine too. He and his wife will supply you with plants to grow white or red grape varietals, planting and growing instructions, and winemaking kits and tips. The Sirvents also have onsite beehives, both to ensure proper polination of the grapes and to produce raw, local honey. They sell it by the jar and it’s extremely tasty. Don’t forget to ask to meet Smokey the guard donkey while you’re there. fort lauderdale wine bar

Continue up the rest of Coral Farms Road and turn onto Tinsley where you’ll find Florahome’s second vineyard, Seahorse Ranch and Vineyard. Seahorse Ranch and Vineyard is a premium natural horsemanship boarding facility and retreat. Its main business is horse boarding, horse camping, and event hosting. Owners Steve and Gayle Holm planted a portion of the ranch in grapes about three years ago. It takes about that long for the vines to produce sufficient quantity and quality grapes for wine production. This year they will harvest in August and make their first wines. Seahorse Ranch and Vineyard does not plan to commercially market wine, but rather will hope to share what they learn with ranch guests and other interested visitors. Check out the charming vintage birdhouses mounted atop the vineyard posts. Each is unique, resembling an old time soda shop, a big cowboy boot, and even the famed red barn with the black roof that says “See Rock City.” And of course, meet the ponies who are always glad to see visitors, especially if they come bearing apples. On Saturday, September 23, 2010, Seahorse Ranch and Vineyard will host a seminar called “Winemaking 101” where guests can stop by to taste Florida wines and learn to make their own wine.Northeast Florida is home to several charming wineries and vineyards ranging from large, long established, sophisticated commercial production wineries to small, family-owned vineyards. If you’re traveling in or near the area, don’t miss the chance to take a tour and get some samples. It will make for a rewarding afternoon or weekend excursion.