Awhile back, before we had our little guy, the Mrs. and i decided to take a nice trip to Clermont to visit the Lakeridge Winery and Vinyards. Never being much of a wine type of guy, I didn’t quite know what I was in for. It turns out, not only did we find a great time out in a sprawling countryside, but we also discovered a love for a locally produced inexpensive wine label. No matter where you are in Florida, this location has easy access from the turnpike and would make for a beautiful ride on a motorcycle if you have one!
Lets Take A Tour!
At the main welcome center we were immediately greeted by friendly staff who kept watch over the gift shop. Tours start hourly but if you arrive between tours you’re welcome to browse around the gift shop. There was a wide variety of things to look at from the commercial to the crafty. We were pleased to learn that there was no charge for parking, nor was there a fee for the tour. After a few minutes we were shown to the theater and shown a brief video about Lakeridge. We learned about the history of the location and the family who runs it.
We were then taken on a tour of the production facility which included the huge vats where the wine is made as well as bottled and even shipped. It was certainly an eye opening experience. Through the entire process our tour guide Doug was filled with fun facts about wine, Muscadine grapes, and other tidbits of useful information. One thing that really stood out was that Doug made a great effort to engage the entire group so everyone seemed to join in on the fun.
FREE Wine Tasting
At the end of the tour we were pleased to find that we would be treated to a free wine tasting event! The mini event was tastefully done (no pun intended), and were encouraged to try which ever wines we wished. Doug went through each one of their products and discussed everything from pairing each product with specific foods to how to preserve an opened bottle of wine.
While many could consider the wine tasting a sales pitch to sell their product, the general information he discussed translates to any other wine brand. With each new round, guests were only encouraged to finish their wine if they wanted to, or spittoons were provided if you simply just didn’t care for that particular variety. After sampling all of their products, you could be light headed, but if you pace yourself you should be fine. Crackers were provided between products to cleanse our pallets.
After the wine tasting, we were able to sign up for their email news letter which has become invaluable for future purchases. They often run great specials on cases of wine, and they actually ship all over the world. Before we left we were invited to shop around the gift shop and they even provided wagons to lug around our loot.
Every month seems to bring a new festival or even to Lake Ridge! While the specifics vary from event to event, they are big on music events and seem to encourage outside vendors to participate. Food is available for purchase as well as their award winning wines.
Some of the events are free, and others request a small $2.00 donation per person which usually goes to a non profit organization. Still not a bad price for an afternoon of fun and alcohol! Be sure to checkout the calendar for specifics but here are a few of their events:
- Winter Music Fest
- Wine & Seafood Festival
- Blues Festival
- Jazz Festival
- Harvest Festival
- Wine & Chocolate Festival
- Grape Stomp
Hours: Open 7 Days A Week 10-5 M-Sa 11-5 Su
View FrugalFloridaFun.com in a larger map
19239 U.S. 27 North, Clermont, Florida 34715
At first I thought I was in for one heck of a boring day, but the exact opposite turned out to be the case. I had a great time, and so did my wife. We visited during a weekday and have not yet had an opportunity to attend any of the festivals, although they sound like a great time! The festivals encourage you to bring lawn chairs and enjoy the surrounding hillside and beautiful location. Some events seem to be more child appropriate than others, but you don’t need to be 21 to enjoy the festivals or wine tour. Of course if you are underage, you won’t be able to purchase any alcohol or participate in the wine tasting. Just so you know they do check IDs. When we were there, children seemed welcome, and our tour guide made a special effort to engage the few kiddos to make sure they had a good time as well. They were actually given muscadine grape juice instead of wine.
I think that although this is a family friendly location, it would be better enjoyed by adults. It made for a very inexpensive date day with my wife and would certainly go back when we get the time! Oh and don’t worry if you take a significant other with you, you won’t break the bank if they want a few bottles of wine, they are reasonably priced at around $7.00 or so.
Don’t have the time to visit Lakeridge but want to buy their products? You can order directly from their website, or checkout your local Publix wine section!