Miami is not exactly Napa. Instead of grape vineyards, we have trees that grow exotic fruits like guava, mango, lychee. So, Peter Schnebly, a longtime grower of tropical fruits, decided to make wine from the produce deemed not "perfect" enough for sale. Wine not from grapes? Sounded ambitious -- and a little "nutty."
At first, the wines made from guava, avocado, and mango seemed like novelty items -- the kind you send the folks back home with "greetings from the Sunshine State". But they started winning awards, gaining serious recognition. Soon, daytrippers from Miami were making the trek down to Homestead to visit the makeshift tasting room inside a trailer. That trailer has now blossomed into a full-scale winery complete with multiple tasting areas, a retail shop, winery tours, and outdoor grounds that are used for weekly parties and many weddings.
Then Schnebly started making beers and ales under the Miami Brewing Company moniker. The beers (with tropical notes like coconut and starfruit) are available on site and on tap in select restaurants. Soon to come? Big Rod Ale in cans for larger distributorship and (shhh) talk of starting a spirits distillery. Guava vodka? Mango whiskey? For Peter Schnebly, the possibilities are endless.
The most influential person in my career has been:
My wife, Denisse. She keeps me focused and on track with my out of the box ideas!
When I'm alone and in need of comfort, (and no one is there to watch or judge), the one food or drink I turn to is:
Rum raisin ice cream by Haagen Daz.
What does Miami need more of?
Local everything from food, beer, and rum to live local bands and cigars. We need to put our Miami flavor into all these things. Some we have done better than others but we have so much more to do. Also, great mass transit is a must for every great city!
You get to vote one food or beverage trend off the island forever -- what is it?
Paella. Don't like the whole mass feeding food thing.
You have unlimited funds to open a restaurant or bar -- what's the name and what do you serve?
Z Farm. Everything served would be grown, caught, raised, brewed, distilled or fermented within 200 miles of Miami.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Traveling more. Denisse and I are looking to get inspired so we can expand our dream, which includes bringing new inspirations for wines, beers, spirits, food and architecture back to Miami.
Dream dinner party for six: Who (living or dead) are you inviting?
Lincoln, Elvis, John Lennon, Jesus, Farrah, and my wife.
New Times' Best of Miami 2013 issue arrives June 13. To celebrate, Short Order is serving up the top 30 tastemakers in the 305. These people have helped shape the Miami food scene into what it is today. We began with number 30 and will lead up to the county's number one. A Q&A session is included in each post.