Wine Tasting

Lakeridge Winery Summer Grape Stomp

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Located in Clermont, about an hour southeast of the Villages of Citrus Hills, Lakeridge Winery is the largest winery in the state of Florida. They are best known for offering some of the most outstanding premium wines made in Florida, but they also throw one wild party when it’s time to harvest their grapes each summer.

Now in its 24th year, the annual Summer Harvest Grape Stomp has evolved into a full-blown, weekend-long festival complete with grape stomping competitions, live entertainment, delicious food, and exciting tours and tastings.

This year, the event will be happening at the Lakeridge Winery on August 10, 11, and 12.

Grape Stomping History

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The practice of stomping on grapes to make wine dates all the way back to 200 B.C., but new technologies have made the method all but obsolete here in 2018. However, it’s still an extremely fun activity, which is why it’s so popular at many American wineries during the summer harvest season.

The Grape Stomp at Lakeridge Winery is one of the most famous wine festivals of the entire year here in Florida and jumping feet-first into a barrel of grapes can be a fantastically fun family activity for all ages.

Live Entertainment

While wine will definitely excite your senses of taste, smell, and sight, adding a little music will help to get one more sense involved. And aside from a 30-minute break in between bands, there will be live music performances for the entire duration of the Summer Grape Stomp.

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On Friday, August 10, the Nightly Groove Band will take the stage first and be followed by The Dave Capp Project. The Saturday schedule will feature Baby Blues & The No Attitude Band followed by the Ronnie Duncan Band, and then Sunday the Smoking' Torpedoes and Buddy Blues take the stage.

There will also be separate performances in the Wine & Cheese Bar on Saturday and Sunday featuring The Rusty & Laurie Wright Duo, Joe Hand, and Jeff Whitfield.

Don't Forget the Cheese

Speaking of the Wine & Cheese Bar, it will be open on Saturday and Sunday of the event serving up some delicious cheese tray options that will make a perfect accompaniment to whatever type of wine you might be enjoying.

The food court will also be open throughout the entire weekend that include American, Greek, Mexican, seafood, BBQ, and more. This is also the spot to enjoy a cold slushy or soft drink in between glasses of wine.

Fun & Games

Winery visits are typically considered an "adults only" type of activity, but the Summer Grape Stomp has plenty of fun activities for the younger grape stompers in your family as well. Just Fantastic will be on hand demonstrating some of their most popular inflatable games for the kids.

Of course, fun and games aren't just for the kids. The winery also plans to have cornhole games going throughout much of the weekend, so make sure your bean bag toss is in mid-summer form.

Tours & Tastings

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If you haven’t visited the Lakeridge Winery before, this event is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of their fascinating tours and tastings.

These tours run every 15-20 minutes during the festival, and they typically finish up in the tasting area, which includes anywhere from six to eight different stations positioned in the production facility.

Getting to Lakeridge Winery

You can get to Lakeridge Winery by heading out either FL-44 or FL-48 from Inverness, and it takes just about an hour to get there from the Villages of Citrus Hills. There are also four hotels nearby if you would like to make a weekend trip out of the festival.

With 80 acres of vineyards, 420,000 gallons of tank capacity, and over 20,000 bottles sitting in the "Sparkling Wine Cave," it is easy to see that Lakeridge Winery is one of the premier Florida destinations for wine lovers. If that includes you, or even if you just think the idea of stomping some grapes sounds fun, then this is an event that you won't want to miss.

September Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

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While most residents here at the Villages of Citrus Hills don't have to worry about back to school shopping, the end of summer does represent a return to our normal routine here throughout the community. Many of our friends that head north during the warmer months will be returning soon, and the activities calendar is overflowing with fun ideas to keep all of us busy in the coming month of September.

Whether you are looking for social events to interact with friends, arts and education activities that are sure to stimulate your mind, exercise through golf and tennis, or just a great meal to enjoy, the September calendar has a lot for you to explore. Let's take a closer look at some of the activities and events happening around the community this month!

Social Events

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The first big event of September will be the Summer Bazaar & Ice Cream Social at the Activity Center from 1 pm to 5 pm on Friday, September 8. DJ Benny Cruz will be playing music poolside, and there will also be several local vendors selling products inside…not to mention plenty of homemade ice cream!

Another poolside event that you won't want to miss will be the Flicks & Floats night on Friday, September 15. This month, the movie is Sully. As usual, there will be plenty of refreshments available, including buttery popcorn. Just make sure that you remember to bring your favorite float!

This month's Trivia Challenge will be held on Tuesday, September 19 in the Hampton Room. In addition to the thrilling battle of the minds, there will also be a dinner that includes Roast Pork with Cinnamon Apple Glaze and Beef Stroganoff.

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On Thursday, September 28, the entire community will be on hand for the White Party Summer Social. This will be the unofficial end of the summer here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, and everyone is encouraged to come wearing all white and enjoy music and drinks by the pool.

If you are looking to attend some sporting events, the Activity Center is planning a trip to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the New York Giants on Sunday, October 1. You can also reserve your tickets for the trips the Vacationers Club is planning to see the Tampa Bay Lightning on December 7 and March 6. 

Arts & Education

The Citrus Hills Vacationers Club will be sponsoring a trip to Clearwater to see Mama Won't Fly on Saturday, September 16. Tickets for this event are $85 per person, and that includes round-trip transportation, lunch before the show, and a ticket to the performance.

Guest speaker Steven K. Davis will be speaking about how we can attract wildlife to our gardens for this month's Lunch & Learn event, which will be held in the Garden Room on Tuesday, September 26. Lunch for this event will include a Harvest Chicken Salad and Cheesecake with Melba Sauce for dessert.

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The Citrus Hills Vacationers Club will be having their regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, September 27 at 4:30 pm in the Activity Center Auditorium. Davis Holmwood from Amadeus River Cruises will be speaking about some amazing cruises along the Black Sea in Europe.

Golf & Tennis

September is typically a month where the best golfers in our community spend their time getting ready for all the big tournaments and events scheduled for the month of October. One great way to get your game ready for those events is to participate in a free clinic with Golf Pro Wayne Larsen. This month, Wayne will be holding beginner clinics on September 4, 5, and 6 and then intermediate clinics on September 12, 19, and 26.

And if watching the US Open has you itching to get out on the tennis court, one of the best ways to start is to attend the Free Beginner Tennis Clinic at the Skyview Tennis Center on September 12 at 11 am.  The only thing required to participate is a pair of tennis shoes!

Dinner Specials

Both Skyview Restaurant and The Grille will be putting together special meals to celebrate Labor Day on Monday, September 4. Skyview Restaurant will be serving a BBQ menu that features St. Louis Style Ribs and Flame-Grilled London Broil, while out at The Grille you can find a buffet of Flank Steak, Spicy Lemon Shrimp, and Split Roasted Chicken.

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Skyview Restaurant is also planning a Wine Tasting event for September 12 and a Hawaiian Luau for September 26. Then there will be an Irish Night event at The Grille on September 14 and an End of Summer Cookout at the Tiki Bar on September 21.

We are also right around the corner from a brand-new NFL season, and football fans will want to be sure they make it to the Tiki Bar for drink, appetizer, and food specials on every football Sunday.

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With all the activities and events happening this month, you might have a hard time finding any time for yourself. But if you’re able to, take advantage of the Chocolate Almond Spa Pedicure special that BellaVita Spa is running all month long!

 

Enjoy Your September!