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Eden Winery offers taste of the vineyard

October 11, 2013
FL Guide

Update: from the Eden Winery web site:


Southernmost Vineyards & Winery in the U.S.A.

Eden Vineyards and Winery began operating in Florida with the planting of grapes from the test vineyards of the University of Florida, IFAS, Lakeland, Fl. in 1979.

In the years since, the Kiser family has grown up in the vineyards and winery and we have enjoyed the blessings and rewards of producing wines our customers really enjoyed-and won an award or two.

The years have gone by, so quickly, the kids, grandkids and great grandkid, have grown and moved away and it is time-past time-for Mildred (the "Wine Lady") and I to retire.

Eden Winery closed it's doors for the last time on December 5th, 2013.

Thank you all for the memories we will miss you all.

Earl & Mildred Kiser

The Kiser family.

Original story:

Just east of Fort Myers, about a 20 minute drive, locals and tourists spending time in Southwest Florida can visit a winery, the southernmost winery in the United States, and while there sample their wines and learn a little about winemaking.

Eden Winery began more than 30 years ago when the Kiser family began planting grape vines to produce some of the fine wines of the word including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Sangiovese and others.

The Kiser family put a lot of work into the growing of grapes in those early years and found out that through research that had begun in the 1930s by agricultural researchers at the University of Florida that Pierces Disease can destroy healthy grape plants.

The family worked to come up with a "hybrid" grape plant that could grow and produce fine wine and be immune to Pierces Disease. This was back in the early 1950s and 20 years later, the Kiser family purchased cuttings made from the original hybrid vines at the University of Florida and planted them at their vineyard in Alva, which is located about 10 miles or so east of Fort Myers.

In 1985, the family discovered what they say are really fine wines. In 1986, the vineyards became the southernmost federally licensed, bonded winery and vineyards in the nation.

Today, visitors are welcome to stop by and relax on their front porch where rocking chairs are situated and to be entertained even by a friendly family dog or perhaps a cat.

The reception area is where the public is invited at taste different wines for a small fee. If you like what you taste, they are more than happy to sell you one of their bottles of wines which are situated around the room.

The vineyard is set on 20 acres in the wide area of Alva, one of the oldest communities in Southwest Florida. In the downtown area of Alva, there is a museum, which is open by appointment and sometimes on weekends. To get there cross the river bridge into the little town and you will find the museum in an old church.

Tastings at the winery are conducted daily beginning at 11:30 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. with no reservation required, not unless you have a group of 12 or more. They are closed on major holidays.

This year Eden Vineyards is participating in the Alva Art Mart at their site at 19709 Little Lane in Alva. It will be held on weekends beginning Oct. 13 and 14 and continue in November, December, January and February, March and April. The time is 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. At the art mart, there will be activities including exhibits of paintings, photos, jewelry, crafts and sculptures with some good old smokin' barbeque.

Admission is free.

To get the winery, take Exit 141 off I-75 and dive for 10 miles and watch for the small green state of Florida Eden Vineyards sign with the arrow. Turn south into Little Lane and the public entrance to Eden Vineyards is 400 feet down Little Lane. From Fort Myers, drive east on SR80 until you see signs designating Alva and look for Little Lane.

While there are no tours of the wine making process, visitors will be able to walk over the vast area of beautiful vineyards and quiet countryside.

During the hurricanes of a few years back, the Kiser family lost most of their grave vines and they were being grown elsewhere in the state.

Visitors can choose between six wines at the winery and spend a few minutes just relaxing at the site.



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