Agriculture Press Release

November 2, 1998

Florida Winery Wins International Recognition

TALLAHASSEE Lakeridge Winery and Vineyard of Clermont recently took top honors for its Blanc Du Bois at the Indiana International Wine Competition. The wine was among 40 of the 2,147 wines from 19 countries to be judged a double-gold winner, a distinction signifying that the panel of five judges was unanimous in its opinion of the wines quality.

"This is a real accomplishment for Lakeridge and the wine industry in Florida," Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford said. "It demonstrates that the wines produced in Florida can compete with the best of those from around the world."

Blanc Du Bois was produced from a grape of the same name that was bred in Florida and released for production in 1987. It is one of a number of varieties of grapes released in recent years that have enabled Floridas grape and wine industry to grow.

But grapes are not new to Florida or the Southeast. As long ago as 1565, colonists arriving in the New World noted Muscadine grapes growing abundantly in the wild. The very first table wines in America were made from these grapes. A renewed interest in commercially grown grapes began in the early 1960s.

Florida now has six wineries, which have become tourist attractions in addition to producing fine wines. Florida has a per capita wine consumption of 1.9 gallons a year, compared to a national average of 1.7 gallons.

The Florida wineries are:

Chautauqua Vineyards and Winery
364 Hugh Adams Road
P. O. Box 1308
DeFuniak Springs, FL 32435
Steve White, General Manager
(850) 892-5887

Dakotah Vineyards and Winery Inc.
14365 N.W. U.S. Highway 19
Chiefland, FL 32626
Max Rittgers, Owner
(352) 493-9309

Eden Vineyards and Winery
19709 Little Lane
Alva, FL 33920
Earl Kiser, Owner
(941) 728-9463

Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards
19239 U.S. Highway 27 North
Clermont, FL 34711
Keith Mullins, General Manager
(352) 394-8627

San Sebastian Winery
157 King Street
St. Augustine, FL 32084
Charles Cox, General Manager
(904) 826-1594

Three Oaks Winery
3525 Spoolmill Road
Vernon, FL 32462
Byron Biddle, Owner
(850) 535-4933

For more information:

George Demetree
(850) 488-4131

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