Island Grove Wine Company
Just North of Ocala in pine shrub forests, is the stunningly beautiful Island Grove Wine Company. This winery is a little know attraction in Central Florida which is starting to make some news in the wine community. the Island Grove Wine Company of Hawthorne is becoming known for its 100% blueberry wines as well as other fruity wines. These delicious wines are carried at select Sweetbay grocery stores throughout the Florida and more distributors are carrying these wines everyday.
Island Grove’s predecessor, the Island Grove Agricultural Products company, opened in 1994 as a grower of blueberries for Publix grocery stores. When they had leftover berries from harvest, the idea arose of fermenting them to create a unique and delicious blueberry wine. Chase Marden, an expert wine maker,was invited to the company to begin experimenting with the idea. Eventually, he created the beverages which would come to define the Island Grove Wine Company.
Today the Island Grove Wine Company has over 300 acres of blueberry fields which they harvest to make their wine as well as supply grocery stores. Their suite of wine varieties currently features eight flavors: Sorta Sweet Blueberry Wine, Rustic Raspberry, Back Porch Peach, Bold Blackberry, Southern Strawberry, Crisp Green Apple, Kinda Dry Blueberry Wine, and a Holiday Wine which is seasonal.
Although the Island Grove Wine Company is growing and busy, they are eager to show off their facility to visitors. Island Grove offers tours daily (please call in advance). Wine tastings and larger tours can be arranged complimentary with advance notice.
For additional information on the Island Grove Wine Company, Please Click Here. The winery is located relatively nearby our hotel, the Sleep Inn & Suites of Ocala and Belleview. To reach the winery, you follow I-75 North to the exit for HWY 301. Follow 301 North to the town of Hawthorne and the Orange Citrus Stand. Directions from the highway to the winery can be acquired from the staff of their roadside stand located just adjacent to the Orange Citrus stand.
By Becky Schaff