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So airline travel may be out of the question for the time being, and you're bummed that your planned trip to California's wine country this fall has been nixed. Distress not, fellow enophiles. You can, believe it or not, tour and taste the vineyards of our own tropical back yard. What? You didn't know the sandy Florida terroir could produce grapes worth crushing? Surprise yourself and take a tour of the eight wineries in the central, southwestern, and northwestern regions of the state, all promoted by the Florida Grape Growers Association (215 N. First St., Lake Wales, 863-678-0523). Not only do these wineries produce specially adapted hybrid grapes like the Conquistador and turn them into worthwhile vino, they also utilize the native crops here like citrus, carambola, and berries to make vintages, some of which contain no grapes at all. For more information go to
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Jen Karetnick is an award-winning dining critic, food-travel writer, and author of the books Ice Cube Tray Recipes, Mango, and The 500 Hidden Secrets of Miami.
Contact: Jen Karetnick

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