Keel and Curley Winery
Plant City is best known for its annual strawberry festival. I lived in the Central Florida / Tampa Bay area for 6 years and sadly never made it out to the strawberry festival. I was scared off by the line of cars I could see backed up on the exit from I-4. I never made it to Keel and Curley either, though I had driven past the sign for it numerous times on my way to Orlando. I finally stopped in on my recent visit to Tampa.
The winery is an easy drive on the interstate, 20 minutes from Tampa. It’s pleasant enough from the outside, butwhen I walked in, I was struck by how much it smelled like a bar. You know that smell. Anyway, I wandered around looking at the shelves of wine (and beer) and ended up at the bar to try a flight (of wine).
For $10, you get 5 tastes. They got their start making blueberry wines. They even host a blueberry festival, so I decided to try the dry and the sweet versions of those. I also tried one of their fruit fusion wines, the strawberry Riesling, their ice wine, and one of their grape wines, the Pinot noir. All of these were served in small beer tasting glasses. Not a big deal by itself, but combined with everything else, it’s just another issue. The wines were ok, but I didn’t enjoy any of them very much. I was thinking they might taste better accompanied by some food, so I asked if there was any food available. The answer was no. No cheese, no crackers, c’mon–not even a hot dog?! Oh well.
After tasting the wine, I walked out to the back deck, which is spacious. It overlooks a pond, which unfortunately brings out the fear of mosquitoes in me. There are a few rows of grapes out back, too. The best part of our visit was probably the owner’s duck. He’s very friendly. There is also a playground out back if you ask the staff for entry which makes it much more kid friendly.
I get the feeling it may be better to schedule your visit for the weekend when it’s more happening and there’s food available. Even on less busy days, our tasting experience could have been enhanced if the person behind the bar was a bit more engaged/engaging. At wineries, I’m used to my host being able to talk to me about the wine, and do more than just hand me the tasting sheet. She was nice enough, but it felt like I was at a bar and she was a bartender.
5 tastes for $10
the owner’s duck
The Not So Good:
the lack of food
smells like a bar
Good to Know:
Dinosaur World is just down the street
Cell reception is spotty, but they have Wi-Fi
Some people really like it, and maybe if I had gone on another day I would’ve enjoyed it more, but for now I’d rather spend my time and money somewhere else. It’s still wine, interesting if nothing else, and my son really enjoyed hanging out with the winery duck.
If you want to visit winery you can find it at:
- 5210 Thonotosassa Rd.
- Plant City, FL 33565