Schnebly Redland's Tropical Fruit Winery, an Oasis Among Homestead Farmlands

    By Maria Delis

    Schnebly Redland's, Miami-Dade's first commercial winery, opened in 2005 with a one-door trailer, and now offers South Florida visitors a delightful detour.

    Homestead – The room's focal point is a circular bar supported by wooden barrels. The bar circles a tree sculpture, the branches reaching to create a canopy. Hanging from the branches aren't leaves but wine glasses.  

    Some guests are eating pita chips and sipping wine. Only, these wines are not made from French or California grapes but avocados, lychees, mangoes and carambolas.

    Schnebly Redland's Winery is in Homestead's farmlands, 45 minutes from downtown Miami and a short detour on the drive to the Florida Keys. Redland's is Miami-Dade's first commercial winery. Peter and Denisse Schnebly started in 2005 with a one-door trailer.

    According to Peter Schnebly, the couple stumbled upon this idea by accident. Peter and Denisse were owners of Fresh King, Inc., a produce packing house. In 2003, Peter invited Bob Wagner, an acquaintance who operates a winery in upstate New York, to visit their Homestead property. It was Wagner who suggested the idea of making wine out of the overripe tropical fruit.

    "We use number two fruit," Peter Shnebly said. They may look less than perfect for shipment or for the supermarket, but they are excellent for wine.

    "Our dry avocado wine tastes like many dry grape wines," said Peter Schnebly. "Some other wines, like the lychee, may have a bit more residual sugar, and therefore, taste more like the fruit."

    Driving through fields and farms, visitors forget they're only miles south of skyscrapers and bustling beaches. In the countryside, tractors and trucks slow down the drive. The winery is about five miles west of U.S. 1, appearing as an oasis in Redland's agricultural community.

    Wood and glass double-doors open to the tasting area. On the left is a deli selling locally made ice cream.

    "They're from Gaby's Farms," Peter Schnebly said of the family company that harvests its own fruit. Flavors include "Mad over Mango" and "Go Coconutz."

    The deli also offers gourmet crackers, salami and cheeses. Guests can purchase one of the wine-tasting packages are $9.95 a person. On weekends, 40-minute tours of the winery cost $7. Wine prices range from $9.95 to $35 a bottle. Schnebly Redland's also ships to 36 U.S. states.

    "My favorite is the Lychee wine," said Henry Ackerman, who lives in Broward County. Ackerman and Irena Cekarska begin each visit with a wine tasting to sample new flavors. Then they buy a bottle of wine and head outside to sit under the shade of oversized Tiki huts.

    Visitors are welcome to bring their own snacks and enjoy an outdoor picnic near the 18-foot coral rock waterfall. Koi, pacu and blue African cichlids glide beneath boardwalks. Children cool off with tropical slushies or stand on the shaded boardwalks feeding the fish.

    Every Friday night at 6, local bands perform. There's an $15 cover charge for adults, $4 for children.

    In 2011, the Schneblys opened a brewery, with tropical-flavored beers. The beer garden opened just in time for Oktoberfest.

    If You Go

    Schnebly Redland's Winery
    888-717-WINE
    30205 SW 217th Ave., Homestead
    www.Schneblywinery2.ning.com

    Fruit Wineries around Florida

    The Key West Winery
    103 Simonton Street, Key West?
    www.thekeywestwinery.com/

    The Naples Winery
    1200 5th Ave. S, Naples
    www.thenapleswinery.com/

    Florida Orange Groves Winery
    1500 Pasadena Ave. S, St. Petersburg
    www.floridawine.com/index.htm

    Nola Tropical Winery
    466 John Ringling Blvd.
    St. Armand's Key, Sarasota
    nolatropicalwinery.com

    Sanibel Tropical Wines
    2340 Periwinkle Way Suite C-1, Sanibel
    www.sanibeltropicalwines.com/

    Panama City Beach Winery
    8730 Thomas Drive, Suite 1103B, Panama City Beach
    panamacitybeachwinery.com/

    Vino-Del-Grotto Winery
    46 1/2 St. George St., St Augustine
    www.vinodelgrotto.com/

    Keel and Curley Winery
    5210 W. Thonotosassa Road, Plant City
    www.keelandcurleywinery.com/


    Maria Delis is a college lecturer and freelance writer. Her work has appeared in various publications, including The Miami Planet, The Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice, and Ocean Drive Magazine.

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