Florida Wine Industry On Rise

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — As the Florida citrus industry continues to decline, the juice of another fruit is on the rise.

The Lakeland Ledger reports Florida’s wine industry may not be large enough to compete with California’s, but it is gaining momentum quickly.

According to federal statistics, 879 million gallons of still wine were produced last year including 1.9 million gallons by Florida wine makers. That makes Florida the country’s ninth largest wine producer.

The state’s wine industry has an $895 million economic impact.

Many Florida wineries don’t specialize in grapes. Typical varietals like Pinot Noir, Riesling and Grenache aren’t native to Florida and have a difficult time growing in the heat. Only native Muscadine varietals grow well in Florida. Other growers use blueberries.