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Move Over, California - Florida Wine is a Tasty Alternative

When you say "wine," most people immediately think of California or France, but very seldom do they think of Florida.

And when you do say "Florida wine," most people picture orange wine or some other fruit-heavy concoction - that is if they even realize wine is made in the Sunshine State!

There are more than thirty officially bonded wineries scattered around Florida; but one, Florida Estates Winery in Pasco County, is making wine that's just a little bit different than everyone else's.

Winemaker-vice president-general manager Ron Hunt says the difference is the grapes he uses. While most other Florida wineries use muscadine grapes, he works with Florida Vinifera hybrids, which were developed at the University of Florida. 

As a result, he's able to make a variety of wines, including Florida versions of California White Zin, Pinot Grigio and Beaujolais Nouveau. In addition, he uses a blend of California and Florida grapes to make a Chardonnay.

Hear him talk about the wine, the food it pairs well with, and the challenges he faces in a "Florida Matters" interview.

Florida Estates Winery is celebrating its 12th birthday with a Wine Festival this Saturday, December 14th at 11 a.m. at the winery, which is located at 25241 State Road 52 in Land O' Lakes.

You can also hear more from Hunt on "All About Wine," an internet talk show that airs every Thursday at 7 p.m. on Blog Talk Radio.

Mark Schreiner has been the producer and reporter for "University Beat" on WUSF 89.7 FM since 2001 and on WUSF TV from 2007-2017. In addition to serving as a producer, reporter, host and assistant news director, he serves as intern coordinator for WUSF News.