Beverage Seminar – Florida Groves Winery – Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2012

Florida Orange Groves Winery – Florida

Vincent Shook, Winemaker

Key Limen, Mango Mamma, Hurricane Class 5 (Florida White Sangria)

October 16, 2012

Key Limen, Mango Mamma, Hurricane Class 5

Vincent Shook, our presenter today, was declared “one of our favorite presenters” by today’s host. The Florida Orange Groves Winery is located in St Petersburg, Florida and is family operated (three generations). In the 1970’s the family was in the citrus juice business (orange, tangerine, and grapefruit) – as Vincent had just left college, any fruit juice had the potential to become alcohol! So, the family juice business became the family wine business – at present they make 43 premium wines.

Vincent Shook

“Florida’s Most Unique Winery and Tasting Adventure”

┬áThere are 19 Florida farm wineries (10+ acres) and 16 other wineries in Florida. Vincent is the secretary of the Florida Viticulture Advisory Council… This group is involved in grants for the promotion of Florida viticulture, for research, and for the institute of food and agricultural sciences. One of the current projects involves looking at muscadine grapes (exclusive to Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas) versus vinifera grapes (traditional wine grapes). Muscadine grapes have a natural resistance to Pierce’s disease while vinifera grapes are susceptible to it – the research question is whether that resistance can be transferred to vinifera grapes.

Florida Orange Groves Winery

  • tropical fruit wines, citrus wines, champagnes, berry and stone fruit wines, vegetable wines, grape wines, port, and wine smoothie mixes
  • everything except the grape wines is made 100% grape free
  • this is the 14th year that Florida Orange Groves Winery has been at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, it is the only Florida winery ever invited
  • this year, they are sponsoring the Florida Local booth
  • their citrus wines carry the Florida Citrus logo
  • their wines have won over 245 medals in international competition, including 12 best of show

Fruit is very important to the making of their wines (just like grapes are very important to the making of traditional wine). Did you know that there are 155 varieties of mango? Over 100 varieties of red raspberries? There are 4 Florida horticultural groups of pineapples! (BTW Vincent said that the best pineapples are Del Monte Gold grown in Hawaii’s red volcanic soil).

Fermentation requires special yeast, special procedures, special processes, and thus they have applied for numerous patents. The fermentation is just like any other fermentation – sugars are converted to alcohol and CO2 – the longer it goes on, the drier the wine, at some point the alcohol content gets so high that it kills the yeast and fermentation stops naturally. Pineapple ferments completely in 3 days (very aggressive) and key lime, or other high acid fruits, take 4 months or more to ferment.

Florida Orange Groves wines are Cold Stabilized using Georgia bentonite clay.

Filtering is done with medical grade cartridge filters. Filter shock (breaking of flavor chains) occurs, so the wine must rest for a couple or few months to let the chains reform.

Finished wine is stored in stainless steel tanks, mostly because they don’t want any flavors from storage vessels.

Food Pairings: cranberry wine with Thanksgiving dinner, mango wine with seafood, and blueberry wine with salmon or steak.

Shelf life is a little lower because of the lower alcohol content (10%), the shelf life is about two years for most of their wines – so Vincent says, “drink as fast as you can and we’ll make more.”

Health Tip… it’s the tannins in grape wine that give you hangovers/headaches not the sulfites

Tasting Notes:

Key Limen

  • nose = limes, limes, limes
  • taste = key lime pie filling
  • nora thinks it might be good with some soda water, we both agree that it is very sweet, nick wonders what it would taste like if he added gin

Mango Mamma

  • nose: nora = fresh mangos, nick = not sure what fresh mangos smell like, this one smells like burnt rubber to him, on second pass it smells better
  • taste: nora = sweet mangos, I can see how it might pair well with seafood, nick = tastes good – nothing like the smell, sweeter than the Key Limen

Hurricane Class 5, Florida White Sangria

  • blend of 5 wines… mango, key limen, passion fruit, watermelon, and pineapple
  • number 1 selling wine at the winery
  • nose: nora = more mixed up, nick = slight pineapple smell but still getting some burnt rubber notes
  • taste: nora = changing with subsequent sips, nick = tastes very sweet, almost needs to be diluted

Verdict…

  • nick wouldn’t just drink any of these, they’re too sweet; might be good for cooking or for making a really sweet sangria that’s going to be iced heavily
  • nora just thought they were too darned sweet

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