South Florida’s tropical twist on wine

Schnebly Redland's Winery is about 45 minutes south of Miami

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While the primary definition of a wine describes the end product of fermented grape juice, the tertiary definition includes the fermented juice of other fruits and plants. Schnebly Redland’s Winery in Homestead, Florida (about 45 minutes south of Miami) pushes the envelope of wine making, specializing in wines derived from tropical fruits.

With expansive fields of home-grown fruits in neighboring lots, including avocado, mango, star fruit, guava, and lychee, Schnebly Winery sells unblemished produce to local and national grocery stores, saving the irregulars for juicing and fermentation. After the crops are harvested, they are juiced and strained through elaborate contraptions, and then mixed with yeast and sugar to create wine.

Unlike grapes, which already possess 25-35% sugar, tropical fruits surprisingly have a lower sugar content (e.g. mango 16%), making it necessary to add raw sugar crystals to the mix. After a lengthy process of heating (allowing the yeast to grow) and cooling (killing the yeast), these innovative “wines” are created.

A visit to Schnebly Winery includes a tour of this grassroots project and a wine tasting of five table wines for $6 or four sparkling and dessert wines for $7 (and you get to keep the glass). You also get a sixth tasting for free when you sign up for their newsletter!

The idea of Dry Avocado wine and Sparkling Lychee wine might seem bizarre, but it’s fun to try the many flavors and most people will undoubtedly leave with a new favorite avant-garde wine (Guava, for me).

Schnebly Winery is less than one-hour drive from South Beach favorites like the W South Beach and the Sagamore and 45 minutes from Downtown hotels like the Four Seasons Miami as well as Coral Gables hotels.

– Paul Rubio