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Guest Review: Florida Orange Groves Winery Seminar at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival

It’s time to start gearing up for the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! So please join me in welcoming Vikki Hurley-Schubert & Michelle Maskaly with a review of a past Epcot Food and Wine Festival event.

Beverage seminars were offered during the 2011 Festival, including the Florida Orange Groves activity priced at $10 per person. Now, on to the review!

I’m not a fan of wine, so when my foodie buddy, Michelle, better known as The Adirondack Chick, suggested one of the seminars at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, I wrinkled my nose, sort of whined and said “OK, you’re the guest, let’s go”.

To say we enjoyed the Florida Orange Groves Winery session would be an understatement. So would calling it a typical festival wine tasting. When we sat down, the wines were already poured to tempt and tease us with their bright and fruity aromas.

Atmosphere and Info

From the start, the winery’s owner, Vincent Shook was engaging and fun. He incorporated stories about how they got started in the business, debunked several myths about fruit wines, and incorporated practical ways to use the beverage, even telling us what dishes he and his wife like to pair their favorites with.

We were surprised to learn that Florida has more than a dozen wineries in the state. That’s a good amount for a state known for its citrus groves over its grape vines. What really separates the Florida Orange Groves Winery from the rest, however, is that they are not fusion wines. Shook explained to us that when he mentions fruit wines to people before they’ve tried theirs, many times he hears, ”the wine doesn’t taste like what it says on the label.”

Bottle Signing

That’s where the Florida Grove Winery products differ. When you’re not drinking a fusion wine, you are getting the pure taste of the fruit. Many of the wines are also not aged in oak, like other wines. According to the winemaker, oak can hide the flavors of the fruit. And the fruit really shines with deeply fragrant, bright aromas.

They are the only Florida wine allowed at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival each year; this is an honor, as the Festival showcases wines from all over the globe.

Sips

We were given three samples to try: Hurricane Class 5: Florida White Sangria, Key Limen, and Mango Mamma.

Wine Tasting

At first whiff, you immediately knew which was the mango wine. It had a strong, but not too sweet or overpowering taste.

The Key Limen, on the other hand, had a very light aroma, and a light taste. It wasn’t too tart either, but the lime flavor clearly comes through. Key Limen was our favorite; we both brought home bottles of it!

Five of the Orange Groves’ wines are blended for the fruity sangria.

After hearing about it from Shook, we really wanted to try their Black and Blue port, a blend of blackberry and blueberry wines; but we couldn’t find it to taste before we purchased the bottle. When the vice president of the company heard what we were looking for, he went over, bought a bottle of the wine, opened it, and poured a few sips for us to taste. Truly Disney service.

Shook was nice enough to sign our bottles, which was the perfect magical touch to the end of the seminar.

Have you attended a beverage seminar at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival? Let us know which one and whether you liked the beverages!

This is just a taste (har har!) of the interesting adventures you can have at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, and you can count on the Disney Food Blog to bring you all the latest updates and news as the festival information and details come out! Keep an eye on our 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Page for details — we’re already compiling information there!!

Also, join us at our Epcot Food and Wine Fans Facebook Page to share your plans for the event! More to come…

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5 Comments

  1. JoAnn says:

    I attended the seminar with Selbach-Oster winery last year. I enjoyed it. I can’t wait to see what they have available for this year.

  2. AJ says:

    Thanks JoAnn! I’m very much anticipating the info for this year as well!

  3. Alan says:

    I guess this is why the Festival is so popular. The chance to try something so new and different that it can capture your fancy by just reading about it. The idea of these fruit wines is intriguing and I would love to get my hands on them. I can just imagine the sangria.

  4. Katie says:

    I am so glad this was posted – I attended a tasting by them at the 2010 F&W Festival. Like you, I am not a wine girl – I hate the taste of it, and I am that person that orders beer when everyone else is ordering wine with a nice dinner (maybe it’s due to growing up in Wisconsin). I decided to go to their tasting since the blurb about it mentioned it wasn’t traditional wine- instead it was made with other fruits.

    Well, it’s delicous! Their slogan of “Wine that actually tastes good” is 100% correct. My favorite is also the Key Limen, as, in my opinion, a drink can never been too tart (I’m looking at you AJ!). The Hurricane 5 is also really great – not overly sweet. I regularly order bottles of both of these online and have them shipped to Texas. The bottles always arrived in good condition. Thanks for highlighting this great vineyard!

  5. melissa sue says:

    Oh, man! Key Limen wine is my all time favorite wine on the planet!!

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