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Giving new meaning to the term "unique"... (and long overdue!)

Confused about the laptop ban? Not anymore you're not

This is where Miamians come to get away from it all... wide open spaces, to commune with nature and to extract themselves from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s also the heartland of Miami’s farm-to-table culinary movement, where many top chefs forage for local produce, such as strawberries, honey and tomatoes. It's as un-Miami the image as can be believed.



So it's not hard to imagine a guy by the name of Peter Schnebly standing in the middle of a vast expanse of Redlands, circa 2003, right in the middle of God Knows Where, hands on his hips, looking around, surveying the landscape, internal gears and motors spinning at breakneck speed. He's seeing stuff; rather, he's foreseeing stuff... something different, out-of-the-ordinary.


"You know what this place really  needs," I can imagine him saying to himself. "A winery!"


​Peter and his Colombian-born wife Denisse have called South Florida home now for the past 25 years, and Peter tells me that the two of them set themselves a goal to start an agro-tourism business based from their Redlands farms. Let's start from the beginning...


In the spring of 2003 the couple invited Peter’s friend Bill Wagner, the owner of Wagner Winery of New York, down for a visit. Wagner inspired Peter and Denisse to start a.... winery. That's right; a winery, although grapes aren't something you'd typically associate with South Florida. But Wagner had a different, a funky, a BETTER idea.... create some wine made from exotic local fruit, stuff like avocados, lychees, mangoes, passion fruit and carambolas.


Fruit, you say? Who the hell makes wine with FRUIT? You need French or California grapes to make wine, right? Fruit? Bleh! But Wagner convinced the couple to start experimenting with the fruit, so Peter and Denisse started making the wine out of their garage in the evenings. Thus began the couple's dream of creating their own agro business.


In 2005, Peter and Denisse took a chance, left the confines of their garage and opened "Schnebly Redland's," Miami-Dade's first commercial winery. It was a one-room trailer whose wine list now includes such tantalizing selections as "Avovino," "Guava," "Mango," "Lychee," "Passion and "Denisse's Boo-Boo Wine."


​And then in 2011, the couple decided that they might be missing a certain South Florida niche, so they delved head-on into the beer business with the founding of Miami Brewing Company, which just so happened to be the first commercial production brewery in Miami-Dade County. Since then, Miami Brewing Company has established itself as one of the leaders in South Florida's juvenile beer-crafting market. Schnebly's flagship beers are: Big Rod Coconut Ale, Shark Bait Mango Wheat Ale, Vice IPA & Gator Tail Brown Ale. All of these wonderful brews take advantage of the dynamic flavors that are found throughout the acres of tropical produce that cover the premises.


Then, in 2014, the crowning jewel on the Schnebly Redland's Winery was put into place with the opening of the Redlander Restaurant.


​When I first pulled up to the Schnebly compound early last month, the first thing I told my wife and photographer that it was amazing how the entire winery looks as though it had been there for years and years, how it just looked like a part of the landscape, as natural as the scenery around it, even though that was hardly the case. The entire winery was constructed just a few short years ago, but it just doesn't LOOK IT...


I mentioned this to Peter when we first sat down for this interview. He smiled that inviting, gracious smile of his which has probably charmed his way through more code inspection meetings and permit inspections than can be imagined.


"Ah, you get it," he said, smiling, patting me on the back. "That's EXACTLY the look we were going for when we created this place. We wanted to give people the impression that it had been here forever, that the area had actually grown AROUND the winery. We wanted a Keys sort of look to it, inviting, a place unlike anything you'd find in South Florida."


When you first drive into the property, you're met with a massive, columned estate house of sorts. This front facade is reminiscent of a Napa winery in an incredible Grand Colonial Revival style with the aforementioned columns and a shaded portico. The pathway leading up to the front door is lined with grand palm trees and purple flowers along with a bubbling, tiered fountain, right smack dab in the middle. Walk in through those front doors and you're walking into a cavernous tasting room, complete with a large, circular wooden bar supported by large, wooden barrels. The area around the bar is surrounded by cases and cases of that intoxicating wine.


The room's focal point is this circular bar. It circles a tree sculpture, the branches reaching to create a canopy. Hanging from the branches aren't leaves but wine glasses. The tasting room pours out into a lushly landscaped courtyard complete with a waterfall, tiki huts, tables, chairs...


The effect is superb, instantaneous, a visual and sensory fireworks show. Because once you walk into that tasting room, Peter's got ya'; all you want to do is taste wine, sip beer and walk the grounds and see what other forms of libation you might be missing out on. Crowds upwards of 1,500 find a place amidst picnic tables in the open air to enjoy the tropical fruit wine, craft beer and snacks from the onsite deli.


Now, the winery is built in a vernacular architectural style, using materials found in abundance in South Florida’s environment, such as limestone walls and a thatch palm roof. Across the street, the vineyard stretches on, shaded by blossoming royal Poinciana trees. A mesmerizing sight.

The Schnebly craft beer stand at Miami Marlins Baseball Park...

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Which countries have implemented the ban?

The US banned laptops in March this year from being carried in cabin bags on flights from Muslim-majority countries. British followed suite choosing its own routes to implement the ban. Australia may be next.

Why have they done this?

Compelling intelligence was received that a clutch of terrorist groups, including al-Qaida, were planning to implant explosives into electronic devices, in effect creating a laptop bomb.

Only last year, al-Shabaab, the Somali insurgent group managed to detonate an explosive-filled laptop on a flight out of Mogadishu. The explosion made hole in the side of the plane killing only the bomber. Further loss of life was avoided because the plane had not quite taken off and so was still low. This meant the pilot was able to land the plane safely.

Had the flight been in mid-air the result would have been catastrophic.

Will this effect security measures?

There are fears in the airline industry that chaos will ensue with longer security lines, more delays and even confusion especially during the peak times such as the summer months.

What devices are banned?

UK: All electronic devices that have built-in batteries and plugs that are bigger than 16cm long, 9.3cm wide or 1.5cm deep. The range includes laptops, tablets, phones, e-readers and DVD players. To give you an idea of perspective, the iPhone 7 Plus is not affected because it only measures 15.8cm x 7.8cm x 0.73cm. So get your tape measure out to be sure.

US: The following items are detailed by The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) but they have said that this list is not exhaustive: laptops, tablets. e-readers, cameras. portable DVD players, game consoles larger than a smartphone, travel printers and scanners.

Our advice: if in doubt, do without and leave your devices behind.

Which routes are affected?

If you are flying into the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia you will not be able to carry your laptop or other large smart device in your carry-on.

The US ban applies to all direct flights from Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait; Casablanca in Morocco; Doha in Qatar; Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia; Istanbul in Turkey; and Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Which UK airlines are affected?

In the UK, all passengers travelling on the following airlines from the listed countries will not be allowed to carry large electronic items in their cabin luggage: British Airways, Easyjet, Jet2, Monarch, Thomas Cook, Thomson. The ban also covers eight overseas airlines that fly to and from UK airports including: Turkish, Pegasus, Atlas Global, Middle East Airlines, Egyptair, Royal Jordanian, Tunis Air, Saudia.

Incidentally…
You can still take your USB sticks with you which is handy as Emirates is lending passengers on flights from Dubai to the US Microsoft Surface tablets to use in-flight.

Is luggage carried in the hold affected?

No.

Will travel insurance cover electronics in hold luggage?

As a general rule most travel insurance will not cover theft of unattended items which you can’t see or aren’t close to you. However it’s worth checking with your insurance company before you travel.*

The whole thing is Peter's idea of... what else but... tropical paradise.


 “It’s an escape from normal life, cell phones, traffic, noise pollution, and cement,” he explains. "Again, I wanted this to be an experience unlike anything you'd find in South Florida, and I think we've pretty much nailed that."


​Talking with Peter is talking with a man who is incredibly cordial, a gracious host whose eyes are constantly darting to and fro while we're talking, just to make sure that nobody's glass is empty or maybe to help out a barkeep or waiter who might be in need it. He's a gifted storyteller, very focused on my questions and on his answers, and the story he has to tell about getting this winery up and running is a literal David and Goliath. He's a man whose dream has finally been realized, about getting a wildly successful agrotourism business to such levels of success and making a unique mark on the South Florida landscape in the process, but talking with him, you realize that he still has a few projects spinning around in that head of his. He's razor-smart, determined, a businessman who you can tell truly enjoys working his winery. 


​As a boy growing up in New York’s Finger Lakes wine country, Schnebly worked in vineyards since the age of 13; however, he always dreamed of living near the Florida Keys and made the move to South Florida in the mid-90s (he and his wife have been Redlands residents since 1989). It was then that he began working with Homestead’s farmers through his fruit packing business, Fresh King. He eventually went on to grow fruit, buying up 100 acres of farmland. Frustrated with the idea of throwing away fruit with blemishes that wouldn’t sell at the market, he consulted the aforementioned boutique winemaker Bill Wagner, and the rest is history.


"Back in 2003, when we started this out of our garage, instead of discarding blemished or overripe fruit from our orchards, we turned waste into sustainable farming and created a unique South Florida gourmet product," Schnebly said. "Right now, we own 40 acres total and have 30 acres on this property in the Redlands and produce about 20,000 gallons of wine a year.  About 60 to 80 percent of the fruit (depending on harvests) used to make the wine comes from our own orchards while a small percentage more is purchased from other local growers. We buy number two fruit, which is slightly blemished compared to other fruits. They may look less than perfect for shipment or for the supermarket, but they are excellent for creating wine."








Dr. Osvaldo A. Perez, at your service!

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And don't think that you need to have grapes to have a vineyard.


“We grow passion fruit, which is a vine, in one-and-a- quarter acres adjacent to the visitor’s center,” Schnebly said.  “The winery is technically where we keep our fermentation tanks.”


"There’s much more to Florida than oranges and sugarcane," Schnebly says, smiling as he looks out to his left over the vast acreage that surrounds his property. "If the idea of local wine seems unusual, that’s because it’s not made from grapes, but from a bounty of exotic fruit that grows here thanks to a subtropical climate – passion fruit, carambola (star fruit), lychee, mango, guava and avocado, to name a few. Our dry avocado wine tastes like many dry grape wines," he adds. "Some other wines, like the lychee, may have a bit more residual sugar, and therefore, taste more like the fruit."


But the wine didn’t hit the shelves without a snag. Miami-Dade County zoning prohibited winemaking until a new ordinance took effect in 2004, which states that local wineries must cultivate at least 10 acres of farmland and produce no more than 250,000 gallons of wine a year. Peter says that it wasn't easy coming up against the city, but he did, and he prevailed.


​Peter's expanded tour our of the winery was short and sweet. He  led us to the end of the tiki hut where fruit is pressed before it makes its way to fermentation in the winery, a temperature-controlled room kept at a cool 58 degrees Fahrenheit.  It’s here that the winemakers test sugar and PH levels before adding yeast to the juice.

Peter told me that fermentation sometimes begins outside in the sweltering Florida heat and that it actually helps the process.  “85 to 90 degrees kicks off fermentation,” he explained. “The yeast is happy at that temperature.  Heat burns esters faster.  It really depends on the wine and results we want. We start outside with our carambola wine and later move it inside, where the yeast is less active in cooler temperatures.” Schnebly wines take 10 to 14 days or up to three months to ferment.  Before bottling, the wine sits in stainless steel tanks for a month, but can remain stored indefinitely – a boon in case of storms that might affect crops. 


Schnebly wines have garnered more than 14 awards in the last several years; of those, two were from the National Women’s Wine Competition. Schnebly's company also won the silver medal this year for Sparkling Passion Fruit and the bronze in 2007 for Lychee.  Denisse Schnebly also won a bronze in 2007 for Boo-Boo wine, a wine she made by mistake before giving up on winemaking.


And, lest we forget the Schnebly venture into craft beer with his Miami Brewing Company, which is pumping out some of the most incredible locally brewed beers imaginable.


And, another HUGE feather in the Schnebly cap... thanks to an agreement with the Miami Marlins Baseball Team, Schnebly's craft beer is now team's official beer! We'll have an additional sideline story about that accomplishment next week, following this story. Schnebly has an incredible Florida keys-themed stand within the team's massive baseball stadium in Miami, and sales apparently are through the roof. Peter says that tourism numbers to the winery are impressive, with tens of thousands of visitors hitting up the place last year. And he's ranked number 6 of 37 Things to Do in Homestead by Trip Advisor.


Prices at the winery vary from wine tastings to by-the-bottle prices, which range from $15.95 up to $35.00. The flagship beers include Big Rod Coconut Ale, Shark Bait Mango Wheat Ale, Miami Vice IPA (the author's personal favorite) and Gator Tail Brown Ale. The beers can be found at Total Wine and More at incredibly competitive prices.



The very last scene in "Field of Dreams" has Kevin Costner's character having a game of catch with the younger version of his father. It's nighttime, and the entire diamond is lit up. As the camera pulls back, there in the background is a line of car headlights stretching back miles and miles and miles; and all of those cars are making their way  to the Kinsela farm. They're going there to experience the magic, to experience something new, something together as a group, something you just can't experience anywhere else. 


Peter built it. And they continue to come.*


30205 SW 217th Ave
Homestead, FL 33030
Phone number (305) 242-1224
Business website:  schneblywinery.com


$$ Price Range: Moderate

Hours

Mon 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu 10:00 am - 5:00 pm 
Fri 10:00 am - 11:00 pm
Sat 10:00 am - 11:00 pm
Sun 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm


More business info

Take-out 
No

Accepts Credit Cards 
Yes

Accepts Apple Pay 
Yes

Accepts Bitcoin 
No

Parking 
Private Lot

Bike Parking 
Yes

Wheelchair Accessible 
Yes

Good for Kids 
Yes

Good for Groups 
Yes

Ambience 
Casual

Noise Level 
Average

Music 
Live

Good For Dancing 
Yes

Alcohol 
Beer & Wine Only

Happy Hour 
Yes

Best Nights 
Fri, Sat, Sun

Coat Check 
No

Smoking 
Outdoor Area / Patio Only

Outdoor Seating 
Yes

Has TV 
Yes

Dogs Allowed 
No

Caters 
Yes

By Appointment Only 
No

Offers Military Discount 
Yes




Peter and Denisse Schnebly

Some changes coming soon?

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Schnebly Redland's Winery & Brewery is putting Homestead, Florida, on the map

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​​BY CARLA MARTILOTTI


The US has done it, and so has the UK. Now two months on, Australia are also looking into “implementing a ban on passengers bringing laptops into the airplane cabin on certain international flights.” Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said that the country was “taking into account all the information and advice” relating to the possibility of going ahead with the ban.

And there may be more to come. US President Trump has said that he will expand the ban to flights from Europe as well. Major European carriers, such as Lufthansa, British Airways and Air France-KLM would be affected, as well as US airlines that fly from European airports.

The issue of laptops and phones on planes is becoming confusing, We answer your questions below and will keep you posted as more news is released:


The entrance to the Schnebly Winery

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Wine and Beer Czar Peter Schnebly

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Innovative Focus on: South Florida

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argentinian honeymoon


By Eric G. Hanson

Southeast United States Bureau Chief



There's a scene towards the beginning of 1989's iconic movie Field of Dreams ​where Ray Kinsella (played by Kevin Costner) is meandering alone through his immense, deep Iowa cornfield one lazy summer afternoon. His family sits on the porch of their beautiful Iowa farmhouse a stone's throw away.


Then comes that now-famous, often-copied-yet-never-imitated line, whispered eerily, seemingly out of nowhere, perhaps from the great etheric plane... If you build it, he will come.


Kinsella stops suddenly and looks around and doesn’t see anybody. The voice speaks again, soft and confidential: “If you build it, he will come.” Sometimes you can get too much sun, out there in a hot Iowa cornfield in the middle of the season. But this isn’t a case of sunstroke.


Kinsella again stops, this time obviously freaked out. He yells over to his family, "Did you hear that?"


"Hear what?" answers his wife.


28-Year-Old-Movie Spoiler Alert...Kinsella later assumes that the whispered voice was a call from God Knows Where for him to tear down his acres of corn and build a baseball diamond in its place; he believes that if he "builds it," the mysterious "he," whom Kinsella believes to be his baseball hero, disgraced Chicago White Sox player "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, will appear from the Great Beyond and play some ball on it. Well, Shoeless Joe does materialize from the rows of corn, along with the seven other players banned from the game for throwing the 1919 World Series, and there starts the journey. Kinsella's wife supports him, but other farmers in the city label him a lunatic. Long story short, this movie is about much more than bringing former baseball greats out to throw around a few fly balls... it's an excellent blind-fate fairy tale about redemption, family, going after the seemingly ridiculous and, above all, DREAMS.


Replace that Iowa cornfield with about 30 acres of what's known as Redland, a vast agricultural community plopped about 30 minutes southwest of Miami in the farmlands of Homestead. If you've never been there before, it's sort of like visiting another world from another time... you'll find original clapboard homes of early settlers, u-pick'em fields, coral rock walls and abundant farms, all which dot the tropical landscape as far as the eye can see. It's also the gateway to the national parks: to the west is the Everglades, the east, Biscayne National Park.