For better than a decade, one of the best fun zones in Highlands County has been Henscratch Farms Vineyard & Winery. Described by one wag as “a Cracker Barrel for those who like Florida wine,” it has a wonderful little shop with many varieties of the Muscadine and Scuppernog grapes.
  In fact. the store is loaded with goodies. There are jams and jellies, sauces (both hot and not), special spreads and even muscadine and scuppernog grape cider as well as strawbery cider – which is non-alcoholic – to go along with their wide assortment of Florida red and white wines.
  There also is a U-pick on the property for grapes and strawberries, a flock of 200 American breed laying hens that range freely among the vineyard canopy that supply their country store with fresh eggs.
   In fact, the morning we were there, a couple of chickens were roaming through the store and the clerk was doing a quick clean up and sending them back out into the yard.
   More than the foodstuffs, the store has an eclectic collection of kitchen and wine equipment as well as wine-themed accessories.
   Henscratch Farms Vineyard & Winery is a unique farming experience and is a certified “Florida Farm Winery”.
   There are ten acres of native southern muscadine and scuppernong grape varieties on the property as well as a hydroponics growing system for strawberry production and a highbush blueberry patch.
  In August they host their signature event – the annual “Grape Stomp.” There are hay ride tours of the facilities, live music, wine tastings for the adults and plenty of food – from barbecue to ice cream. Those who wish can stomp their own grapes and have a custom label made for their own wine – which can be bottled for personal use or for gift giving.
  The vineyards originally were planted in 1999. The winery started its operation with the first crush of both their muscadine & scuppernong grapes varietals in August 2003, the grapes were crushed into the primary fermenator boxes to await careful analysis and recipe completion.
  The actual first vats were bottled in November 2003. Henscratch now produces seven varieties of country-style wines celebrating the taste of the south. The winery is housed in a converted agricultural grain bin. The metal bin has been outfitted with heavy timber beams, a second floor, guest viewing area, and an outside crushing porch.
  From December thru May they are open Tuesday thru Saturday – 10am – 5pm
Sunday – Noon – 4pm Remember that on Sundays, wine can’t be sold until 1pm in Highlands
County. They are closed on Mondays.
   More information is available by visiting the Henscratch Farms Facebook page or their web site at