New Business
Central Florida Ag News|November 2020
Despite Rough Start, Secret Gardens Winery Going Strong
TIM CRAIG

SECRET GARDENS WINERY celebrated its one-year anniversary in early November — an anniversary that had been nearly 11 years in the making.

Tucked away about 15 miles off Highway 27 in Sebring, the idea for Secret Gardens Winery was planted when the Murray family — parents Rick and Val, along with daughter Lexi — bought a 20acre farmhouse fixer-upper in 2009.

In 2012, they purchased an additional 10 acres and decided to start a winery from the ground up. While Rick and Val started the steps to make the winery a reality, Lexi went off to college at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.

After graduation, Lexi began working with Norweigan Cruise Lines, working in food and beverage, before moving to Hyatt and working in their hospitality area. Her work with the two companies took her to Hawaii, Colorado and California.

“My parents came out to California in 2016 and asked if I would be interested in doing the farm with them full time,” says Lexi. “It sounded like a fun venture and it would be something new for our area in Central Florida.”

In 2018, they started construction on the big blue barn that serves as the central hub for Secret Gardens Winery. The structure serves as a tasting room, storefront, and meeting hall. Rick used his background as a commercial contractor to bring the barn to life.

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