So our summer vacation this year was three nights in Vero Beach, Florida followed by a week at Disney World. Disney is right up there with wine on our list of favorite things, so we end up there way more often than we should. But that’s ok, never grow up right?!?
We left home on Wednesday morning, had an uneventful drive to St. Augustine where we stopped for the night. We arrived at Disney’s Vero Beach resort around noon on Thursday. This place is simply beautiful. We had a two bedroom villa that gave the five of us plenty of room. Our first day there consisted of basically lounging around, followed by a wonderful dinner at Wind and Waves Grill, then the highlight of the day, a ‘Turtle Walk’ during which we got to see a Loggerhead Turtle dig her nest and lay her eggs. Very cool.
But now on to the important stuff! As we were doing our research on things to do we discovered that there is a winery right outside of Vero Beach, so naturally we added it to the list of must do’s! We slept in Friday, then headed off to Olive Garden for a hearty lunch of unlimited soup and salad. After lunch we made our way to Summer Crush Vineyard & Winery in Fort Pierce, just a bit south of Vero Beach. Just like many Loudoun wineries you drive down some curvy, unmarked roads, so it felt like home! When we arrived we found a beautiful property with an interesting mix of palm trees and grapevines. They definitely have that laid back Florida vibe and we were excited to try out some local wine.
Seeing as it was a Friday afternoon the place was pretty quiet so we basically had the tasting room and our server, Brianna, to ourselves for the most part. She was great and taught us all about the Muscadine grape, which is local to Florida and is the only grape that grows well there. So naturally all the wines we’d be tasting were either made from the white or red variety of the Muscadine. We tried two Mango wines: Mangoritaville, which is made from 100% mango juice; and Pink Flamingo which is made from a blend of Mango juice and red Muscadine. Next up was two whites: Beach Nut, a semi-dry table blend of white Muscadine and chardonnay; and Webejammin’, a semi-sweet 100% white Muscadine. They have one blush: Marlin Monroe, made with a blend of white and red Muscadine. And finally three reds: Rastamon Red Red, a semi-sweet oaked 100% red Muscadine; Rated Arrr, a blend of red Muscadine with a traditional red vinifera grape; and That’s What She Said, a sweet 100% red Muscadine table wine.
The first thing we learned very quickly was that Muscadine grapes are sweet! Very different from the wines we find in good ol’ Virginny. Overall they were all very good and interesting, a nice change of pace. Our group favorites were the Beach Nut, Webejammin’, and the Rastamon Red Red. After enjoying our tasting we bought a few things and decided it was time to head to our next stop!
Next up was Walking Tree Brewery in downtown Vero Beach, Florida. It’s in a kind of warehousey/industrial area and we were pretty sure we were in the wrong place as we drove up. Luckily we weren’t. Once inside we discovered a massive space that was really cool! They have a huge bar going down one side of the room, tables everywhere, and darts, corn hole, and a frustrating ring game in one corner. We sidled up to the bar and decided on splitting three flights among the five of us. They currently have 13 of their own beers as well as 6 guest beers on tap, so plenty to choose from. For our three flights we ended up with combinations of: Single Girlfriend Shandy, Mr. D’s Dortmunder Lager, White Walking Tree IPA, Sandy Feet American Wheat, Straw Hat Blonde Ale, and Daily Chores Saison. After we were served our flights, which by the way were MORE than enough for the five of us to share, we found our way over to the game area where we proceeded to suck at darts, corn hole, and that damned ring thing. Well one of us got a bullseye in darts but it wasn’t me so let’s not mention that, ok?
We were tired from a long day of vacationing and decided it was time to head back to the resort for our much deserved naps. We really enjoyed checking out the local winery and brewery. Different styles than we’re used to in Virginia, but the people were warm and welcoming just like at home!