A Day at Schnebly: Miami’s Tropical Winery & Brewery

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By: Shayne Benowitz

Visit Schnebly Winery and Brewery in Miami's Redland Area

About an hour drive south from Downtown Miami, once you’ve turned off the highway and found yourself on a long country road, you’re greeted with acres of farmland. The tempo seems to slow down and the sights around you are of flat, green fields; lush, sturdy palms; and a giant blue sky with cumulous clouds floating lazily in the upper strata. This is the Redland, Miami’s countryside and the gateway to the national parks. To the west is  Everglades National Park and to the east is Biscayne National Park.

This is where Miami residents come for wide open spaces, to commune with nature and to extract themselves from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s also the heartland of Miami’s farm-to-table culinary movement, where many top chefs forage for local produce like strawberries, honey and tomatoes.

Schnebly Redland's Winery & Brewery wine tasting bar
Enjoy a selection of Schnebly wines with a wine tasting

In the heart of this farmland stands Schnebly Redland's Winery & Brewery, a massive estate with a novel, subtropical approach to winemaking. Instead of producing wines with grapes, Peter Schnebly, a farmer, packager and founder of the winery, creates wines out of local tropical fruit. Think mangos, lychee, passion fruit, guava, star fruit, coconut and even avocado.

As a boy growing up in New York’s Finger Lakes wine country, Schnebly worked in vineyards beginning at the age of 13. However, he always dreamed of living near the Florida Keys and “where Flipper is from.” He made the move to Miami in the mid-90s and began working with Homestead’s farmers through his fruit packing business, Fresh King. He eventually went on to grow fruit, buying 100 acres of farmland.

Frustrated with the idea of throwing away fruit that wouldn’t sell at the market because of slight blemishes, he consulted boutique winemaker Bill Wagner, and the rest is history.

He produced his first wine in 2004 and the winery has flourished ever since. He later went on to fulfill a long-held dream of adding craft beer to the business. His Miami Brewing Company, which shares real estate with the winery, produced its first batch in February 2012.

Schnebly Redland's Winery & Brewery Koi pond and tiki hut
Explore beautiful grounds complete with Koi pond and tiki hut

A Visit to the Winery

The winery is built in a vernacular architectural style, using materials found in abundance in Miami’s environment, such as limestone walls and a thatch palm roof. The front facade is reminiscent of a Napa winery, in a grand Colonial Revival style with columns and a shaded portico. The pathway leading up to the front door is lined with grand palms and purple flowers with a bubbling, tiered fountain as the centerpiece.

Across the street, the vineyard stretches on, shaded by blossoming Royal Poinciana trees. Inside, the tasting room opens to a lushly landscaped courtyard complete with a waterfall. It’s Schnebly’s idea of a tropical paradise. “It’s an escape from normal life, cell phones, traffic, noise pollution, and cement,” he explains. Guided tours of the winery and brewery are available on the weekends and by appointment.

Schnebly Redlands Winery & Brewery tiki hut
Schnebly Redland's Winery & Brewery tiki hut is made from locally sourced materials

On Friday and Saturday nights, Schnebly hosts parties with live music. Crowds upward of 1,500 find a place amid picnic tables in the open air to enjoy the tropical fruit wine, craft beer and snacks from the onsite deli. The wine tasting room is open seven days a week to sample a selection of five wines from a portfolio of 22 varieties, which are designated as sweet, off dry and dry. With each wine, you’ll notice a hint of the source fruit combined with familiar wine properties.

The Mango Wine has the texture of a Chardonnay, with mango flavors at the front of your palate. The Avovino, made from avocado, has a crisp texture with a citrus nose, and a young, green flavor reminiscent of avocados. On the sweeter side of the spectrum, there are Guava, Lychee and Carambola (star fruit). They also have blended varieties with the Cat 2 and Cat 3 Hurricane blends. If you’re in the mood for something bubbly, try the semi-sweet Sparkling Lychee or Sparkling Passion. The Ultimate Wine Tasting is $20 and the Ultimate Wine Tasting & Tour is $36.

Once you’ve figured out your favorite tropical fruit wine, order a full glass to enjoy in the courtyard. Be sure to purchase a bottle to take home with you, and if you’re a true aficionado, they offer a club, like many wineries, where you receive a variety of different bottles delivered to your home throughout the year.

Schnebly Redlands Winery & Brewery in-house brewery
Sample MIA Beer Co. beer brewed on property

The Beer

At the Miami Brewing Company, craft beer is the main event. Schnebly has some amazing one-of-a-kind beers to choose from, including the Big Rod Coconut Ale, Shark Attack Wheat Ale, Speedway Pale Ale and the Gator Tail Brown Ale. You’ll enjoy each of these in a tasting, plus a pint glass filled with your favorite for only $10.

Want to take some of these delicious suds home with you? Ask for a 32-ounce growler poured from the tap and sealed for freshness. Once you open it, you have two to three days to enjoy.

The beer is also on tap at several Miami establishments. Wine, beer and the lush subtropics… we think Peter Schnebly got it right with Schnebly Redland’s Winery & Brewery.

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