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Typically when someone envisions a winery, they picture those located in California’s Sonoma or Napa Valleys, meandering between acres of luscious green hills and overlooking acres of Chardonnay or Pino Noir grape vines. Or, perhaps they might imagine sunshine-filled climates with cool temperatures, with perfect levels of humidity in the air forming misty water droplets on each grape.
Well, you won’t find any grape vines here.
Located about forty miles southwest of Miami in the charming city of Homestead, Schnebly Redland’s Winery is a gem located on the eastern edge of the Florida Everglades. Instead of valleys of grape vines, the grounds encompass 96 acres of tropical farmlands, which seems appropriate for the southernmost winery in the continental United States.
Once you enter the enchanting tasting room and revel in the beauty of its architecture and vibrant ceiling murals, whatever you may have previously envisioned about a “typical” winery can be spat into the spittoon.
Locally referred to as just “Schnebly’s” (pronounced “sh-NEH-bl-eez”), its main draw is the fresh fruit they use to make their unique wines. Some widely popular flavors include lychee, mango, avocado, and passion fruit. Additional flavors include guava, coconut, carambola (star fruit); many other specialty blends are also available to taste.
The tasting area is located in the center of the tasting room, where all Schnebly’s visitors are welcomed to sample their wines around an antiqued wooden bar. With Schnebly’s wine glasses hanging overhead in all shapes and sizes, a glass of your choice is complimentary with purchase of a wine tasting.
The sommeliers who conduct the tastings are knowledgeable about the intricacies of each wine, and are always friendly and charismatic. For only $9.95 a person, you get a choice of either five unique or five specialty wines to taste; it’s only five dollars for a tasting if (and when) you bring the glass back.
One of the best things about the Schnebly Redland’s Winery is that it’s not just a winery.
Right when you thought this tropical treasure couldn’t get any better, the location also hosts the Miami Brewing Company, founded by owners Peter and Denisse Schnebly in 2012.
Each craft beer is delicately infused with the same tropical fruits used in Schnebly’s wines; however, the flagship Vice IPA has no infusion. Also their lightest beer, Vice balances malt with strong English hops, and at 7.1%, it holds a higher alcohol content than the others as well.
Conversely, if you’re a light beer lover but you want to try a fruit-infused beer, the Big Rod Coconut Ale might suit you well. With caramel undertones, the “coconut” moniker is not an understatement, with a distinct coconut flavor very much present, but not overpowering.
The next two beers are both easy and intricate on the palate. Shark Bait, the only wheat beer on tap, is a deep golden beer infused with mango. Just like the Big Rod Coconut Ale, the mango flavor in Shark Bait is perfectly balanced, making it easy to drink a few and still find the flavor enjoyable.
Last but not least is my personal favorite, the Gator Tail Brown Ale. Not only does its aroma invigorate you with notes of chocolate and coffee, but its flavor does too. This particular beer has a deep flavor with a light start, but the best part is it finishes with hints of guava; again, an impeccable balance of flavors.
The same charming sommeliers at the winery are the Cicerones at Miami Brewing Co., and their expertise on each craft brew is consistent with their familiarity of their wines. After finishing a laughter-filled wine tasting, I followed them across the tasting room over to the beer tasting. For only $14, you can take a 64 ounce growler home to share or you can use that $14 to purchase their signature Miami Brewing Co. glass. After you finish a sampling of all four beers on tap, you get to pick your favorite one to drink in your new 16 ounce glass.
Another popular draw of Schnebly’s is that it’s a great place to take your family or friends for a guided weekend tour. At $7 a person, you learn about the history of the winery/brewery and the Schnebly family, all while being educated on the each step of the entire wine making process.
Needless to say, Peter and Denisse Schnebly are greatly improving the local economy of Homestead and the Redlands by being clear supporters of sustainable farming, and by using all local ingredients to build their products from scratch.
The Schnebly Redland’s Winery makes me proud to have been born and raised in the Redlands, and with only ten short years under its belt, the Schenbly’s have accomplished quite a bit. They have all locals – myself included – wondering what they’re going to do next.