by Pound The Grape / Melbourne Florida
Florida is home to 24 wineries, including 500 acres under vine, and is ranked 7th for wine production in the nation with almost 2 million gallons of wine produced each year.
Even though Florida is one of the highest producers of wine, it is also one of the most challenging states to produce wine in. Many of the wineries use native grapes but almost all of them work with other fruits or grapes from other states.
In the next few months, I’ll preview some of these wineries to give you a taste of what you can find in a visit. Our Florida wineries are like many in other states in that they have tours and tastings for the public.
Our first winery, Murel winery, is located in Clearwater and the owner, Michael Biglin, has been practicing his craft professionally for over 20 years. For him, it all started as a teenager, when he was still too young to drink. He worked for a local grocer who wanted him to be able to sell wine even though he could not taste it. His mentor had him carefully smell and categorize each of the wines so that he would be able to make pairing suggestions. This turned out to be a fortunate skill to have learned for his later career as a winemaker. Michael says, “It must smell right, taste right and be beautifully clear before our wine goes into the bottle.”
Michael’s winery is located in downtown Clearwater beach at 13131 56th Ct Suite 305, and, like many wineries in Florida, Michael makes many of his wines by combining some local grapes with fruit and juices from around the world. Michael spends much of his time sourcing only the best juices to produce his unique flavors.
When you visit Murielle and you take the tour, you’ll be able to experience Michael’s specialized approach to creating his selections. Each selection is produced by hand, allowed to ferment naturally and given time to eliminate enzymes from yeast cells, which softens the flavor. Then the desired fruit flavors are introduced and the wine sits again.
The slow process enhances the flavors of the fruits he uses to create specialty wines. Murielle’s stainless steel vats produce smaller than commercial quantities, but Michael makes sure that the quality and taste are consistent. When he makes the most popular varieties, he blends together the wine from three vats to ensure consistency.
The time-consuming process makes it possible for Michael to keep the sulfites lower than most other winemakers. Some sulfites are necessary to keep the wine’s quality; fresh wine without sulfites would be “dead” in six months, but adding extra sulfites is often a shortcut used by some wineries when they need to get the wine out the door. The process Murielle uses ensures that the lowest amount of sulfites that are needed are present.
The winery offers regular tastings and tours. It is always good to call ahead to make sure tours are available as this is a operating winery that has wines in different stages of production.
Murielle serves up a wide selection from traditional Merlots to the typically sweet Florida wines. These include pineapple, coconut, green apple and these are just a few.
p: 1.727.561.0336 Cell: 1.727.688.0303
You can find almost all of the Murielle wines at Pound The Grape in the Melbourne Square mall.
Check back next month and we will preview another of our local wineries.