Local winery invites guests to stomp some grapes
Rosa and Antonio Fiorelli opened the 10-acre vineyard in 1998
On Saturday, June 16, the Rosa Fiorelli Winery, located east of Bradenton, hosted a family-friendly harvest festival, with a portion of the proceeds slated to benefit the American Red Cross of Southwest Florida. The event included offerings from area vendors, food and beverages, a grape harvest and the opportunity for visitors to stomp some grapes.
Rosa and Antonio Fiorelli opened the 10-acre vineyard in 1998 after moving from Casteldaccia, Sicily. They noticed similarities to the old country in the rolling hills of the scenic Manatee County area off State Road 64, and soon rows of grapes were growing from the fertile soil and a corner of a garage was used for wine making. Since that time, the winery has expanded considerably and has won more than 100 awards in international wine competitions. The vineyard has the facilities for fermenting and bottling of their wines, as well as for wine tasting and sales. Wine tastings and tours of the vineyard are offered on weekdays, except for Tuesday, and on weekends. There is a pavilion for large gatherings and corporate events of up to 150 people.
Free wine tastings are open to all visitors (although a tip for the excellent and knowledgeable servers is appropriate). Full tours, which are $18.95 per person, include meats and cheeses or an Italian sub, a souvenir wine glass and a wine tasting, a walk through the vineyard and a demonstration of the winery’s winemaking process: how the grapes are crushed, pressed, fermented and bottled into Fiorelli’s award-winning wines.
Driving east on State Road 64 through rural Manatee County is a bit like turning back the clock, with everything from farm produce stands and family-owned restaurants to good old-fashioned tourist visuals in the form of a race car crashed through an RV at a local speedway. The Rosa Fiorelli Winery is a short distance south of the highway on County Road 675, just past Lake Manatee State Park. For more information, visit www.fiorelliwinery.com.