Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Keel and Curley Winery, Plant City, FL

Simona Pouring Our Wine
From blueberry farm to winery, Keel and Curley Winery is known as the "Napa Valley of the Tampa Bay Area."

When I think of Keel and Curly, I am reminded of one of my favorite country songs- Strawberry Wine.

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon.  I convinced my boyfriend, Brian, to take me to the winery.  He was hesitant but was happy to spend time with me.  We turned down a country road only to find a Florida hot spot!

Our Marked-Up Tasting Card
The country porch was filled with people rocking in comfy, southern-style swings.  As we walked in, we could barely find a spot at the bar to sit down.  The winery was hoppin'!

As soon as we found a spot, the bartender, Simona, quickly approached us with a friendly hello. If for no other reason, you should visit the winery to get a glimpse of Simona's beautiful smile. 

Without hesitation, she started pouring our first round. That is- round one of twelve: Dry Blueberry, Semi-Dry Blueberry, Sweet Blueberry, Dry Blackberry, Sweet Blackberry, Black Raspberry Merlot, Wild Berry Pinot Noir, Key Lime Sauvignon Blanc, Tangerine Zinfandel, Peach Chardonnay, Strawberry Riesling, Monica's Florida Frost.

For twelve different samples, the wine tasting only will cost you about $6.  As soon as we finished a sample, Simona knew what our next sample was. I actually went to correct her but she was right!

The Award-Winning Wine Cabinet
The first sample is the dry blueberry.  It is the "signature" wine that started this entire Florida hot spot.  In 2003, Joe Keel wanted to do something with the end of crop blueberries. 

According to their website he said, "what can I do with this perfectly good fruit, to use it in a productive way and not waste it?  Jellies, jams, blueberry pies? No!”
He first started with 10 gallons of blueberry wine. Now, Keel and Curley have sold over 20,000 cases of quality wines. 

They Provide Delicious Cheeses
All of the blueberry wines are made with 100% blueberries. Blueberry wine is better for you than wine made by grapes. (Read more about that below)

The sampling took us a little over an hour.  About half way into it, we started craving a little food.  

The winery offers customers a refrigerator full of cheeses.  They range in price but each seemed equally delicious.  We went with the smoked gouda.  

Plenty of Beer for the Non-Wine Drinker
We started chatting with the wine tasters next to us.  We decided to share our cheeses since they ordered a different type of cheese. Theirs was just as delicious.  If you were curious, you don't have to eat the cheese out of the plastic,  they will gladly bring you a plate and knife.

If you visit with someone that does not like wine, they also provide you with a wide variety of beers.

Keel and Curley offers a large assortment of wine accessories ranging from glasses, t-shirts, aprons, shot glasses, plates, anything wine.  Their prices are very reasonable. 

Unlimited Wine-Themed Presents
The winery also has a "berry nice" wine club.  They will ship you the bottles you want, as often as you want.  The more you buy, the bigger the discount. 

We were on the final sample called "Monica's Florida Frost;" a dessert wine. 

As Simona was pouring, she told us that this wine is named after her mother, Monica. It is special because it has a 14% alcohol content. 

Monica must be an amazing lady because this wine was marvelous!

After our lovely time at the winery, Brian was convinced that Keel and Curley was worth the visit!

Brian Excited About His Newly-Used Glasses
His favorite was the Sweet Blackberry.  My favorite was the Dry Blueberry and the Strawberry Chardonnay.

He was also excited that we got to keep our wine glasses. 

If you are looking for a charming location that extrudes "Southern Hospitality" than Keel and Curley Winery is the place for you! Check out their website, follow them on Facebook and Twitter to find out more about them and their upcoming events.  
How to De-Stress After a Long Week

Newly Cropped Blueberry Vineyards at Dusk
Antioxidants are thought to help protect us against the damaging effects of free radicals and the chronic diseases associated with the aging process.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are known to have these antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E. But blueberries have by far the highest antioxidant capacity, than any other fruit or vegetable. 
What does all that mean?

Take a look at these benefits:

  • Over forty fruits and vegetables tested and Blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity.
  • Wine made from High-Bush Blueberries has a higher level of antioxidants than red or white wines.
  • Blueberry supplemented diets have shown measurable improvements in memory, coordination and balance.
  • Diet studies of populations that consume a high fiber, low fat diet that includes a high intake of Blueberries have shown a lower incidence of mortality risk from breast, prostate and endometrial cancers.
  • Blueberries have been shown to improve night vision and prevent tired eyes.
  • Resveratrol, naturally found in Blueberries, has cardiovascular protective qualities.  
The Blueberry Wine Wall

Keel and Curley Winery on Urbanspoon

(Information obtained from this webpage)

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