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Florida and the History of Wine

Presently there are twenty three Certified Florida Farm Wineries, varying in size of volume output and the types of wines they produce, including indigenous grape varieties along with exotic and citrus fruits. Based upon the Florida Farm Winery Program, certain criteria have to be met before becoming certified.

Florida's full potential for growing grapes hinged on the development of new varieties resistant to Pierce's disease, which was discovered in 1892 by Newton Barris Pierce near Anaheim, California. It became a real threat for California's wine industry and overall economy. In 1923 a breeding program was initiated at the University of Florida which, to date, has resulted in the development of numerous disease resistant grape varieties suited to Florida's soil and climate. Many of these newly developed Florida hybrid bunch grapes are excellent for wine making.

According to historians, wine and the art of winemaking emerged with civilization itself. French Huguenots who settled North America around 1562 made wine from the abundant wild Muscadine grapes they found growing near present day St. Augustine. This is the first recorded reference to wine made from grapes grown in the "New World". Since that time grape growing and wine production in Florida has continued to develop as an industry.

To find out more about the Florida Grape Growers Association, click here.