“For scuppernongs you’ll want gold not green and muscadines you’ll want purple not pink,” the woman at Henscratch Farms said before I grabbed a plastic bucket on my way to pick grapes off the vine in Lake Placid, Fla.
Located in Highlands County, Lake Placid is the Caladium Capital of the World and downtown is famous for its larger-than-life colorful murals. But, on a summer Saturday, my primary purpose was to visit the farmlands and sip wine and spirits at Henscratch Farms Vineyard and Winery and Sugar Sand Distillery.
Fresh From Florida Wine
This was not my first visit. In fact, I visited several years ago during it’s most popular event, the Annual Grape Stomp Festival. Be sure to read about my experience playing Lucy at Henscratch Winery as I squished grapes between my toes. What fun!
Henscratch Farms began growing their vineyard with muscadine and scuppernong grapes in 1999 and making delicious wine with the “Big Fat White” and “Big Fat Black” fruit in 2003. During the end of July through September, visitors can pick those sweet, juicy grapes off the vine during the farm’s U-Pick season. In the past, I’ve picked enough to make muscadine jelly and others have probably picked enough to make their own wine. This visit, I picked enough to enjoy the musky, honey-flavored fresh fruit throughout the week.
The Country Store offers plenty of jams, jellies, and preserves for those who aren’t ambitious to cook up their own. And, there is plenty of wine to sample and purchase, made with the farm’s fruit. Wines available include Country White made with scuppernongs, Country Blueberry, and Foot Stomped made Lucy-style during the Annual Grape Stomp Festival. A tasting of four wines is $1. Yes, only $1.
In case you’re wondering whether I found the correct grapes, well, I don’t think so. When I checked out, the gal at the register grabbed one, felt it and said, “Nope, this is too hard.” Gosh! Embarrassed, I hoped she didn’t feel every single one and shame me in my grape selection but she didn’t. She was actually very cool.
And yes, people get to hop in a barrel and stomp grapes with their bare feet just like legendary actress Lucille Ball did in an episode of “I Love Lucy.” Even better, you can purchase a bottle (or two) of the wine you stomped! The Grape Stomp is something you need to try at least once and the 2018 event will be August 11.
Nuts & Bolts About Henscratch Farms Vineyard and Winery
Henscratch Farms Vineyard and Winery
980 Henscratch Road
Lake Placid, Fla. 33852
Tel: (863) 699-2060
Hours of operation vary throughout the season. Now through November, Henscratch Farms is open:
Tuesday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sunday: Noon – 4 p.m.
Wine cannot be sold until 1 p.m. on Sundays.
View additional photos on my Flickr stream.
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