An Inside Look to Chautauqua Vineyards in Walton County

Chautauqua Vineyards workers have harvested the grapes for the year.

Now, they're spending their days bottling last year's grapes.

At the same time, they're starting the fermentation process on this year's batch.

While it's a lot of hard work, wine maker George Cowie finds the endless cycle worth it.

"You will see we have frost on them, because we are trying to chill the wines to near freezing to help them settle out and clarify,” said George Cowie, Wine Maker at Chautauqua Vineyards.

There warehouse is full of tanks used to store the large amount of grapes grown by the vineyard, which sits on 40 acres of land.

While Florida may not seem like the ideal vineyard setting, Cowie says it is actually quite the opposite.

"People trying to grow non-native grapes have to use a lot of spray material to combat fungus, and disease and there is a lot of soil born disease you could get and there is no remedy for it,” said Cowie. “We have chosen a different approach, we don't fight Mother Nature, and we use the existing soil and use muscadine grapes."

The muscadine produces a sweeter taste that gives the wine a unique flavor.

"There is not many wineries in this area, so for us to have 40 acres of land only 12 miles it is kind of rare,” said Sharah Curry, Retail Manager for the Vineyard.

Chautauqua Vineyards uses the largest wine press east of the Rocky Mountains.

Each year they produce close to 150,000 bottles of wine.


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