As the southern-most state in the continental United States, Florida’s climate ranges from temperate in the north to subtropical in the south. The large bodies of water surrounding the state moderate the weather. Ocean breezes keep air fresh and hold annual precipitation to an average of 52 inches. While there is some seasonal variation in temperature, natural conditions tend to make the state’s summers warm and sunny and its winters mild.
Florida is the birthplace of winemaking in the United State. Through the centuries, various winegrowers tested the state’s capability as a grape growing and winemaking region, only to find non-native grape vines could not endure the state’s climate. Beginning in the 1930s, grape research and breeding programs were initiated at Florida’s universities.
Today, two distinct families of wine grapes thrive in the state. The two grape varieties produce wines that are diverse in taste. Muscadine grapes are fruity and tinged with sweetness. Florida hybrid bunch grapes also create wines that are fruity, but less sweet than Muscadines.
The economic impact of the agricultural market in the state brings in billions of dollars in revenues to the state’s economy. The 1989 statistical survey reported 580 acres of commercial grapes, 72% in muscadine and the remaining 28% in Florida hybrid bunch grapes.
Courtesy of Florida Grape Growers Association.
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