August 2013 Issue
Editor's Note: A Vine Time
To me, this month’s cover says, “relax, enjoy, have fun.”
That’s what Ohio wine country is all about, and it’s why our state’s vineyards are so popular with travelers looking for a change of scenery and a mini-escape from the daily grind.
I’ve edited our annual Ohio wine country stories for 12 years. I’ve gazed wistfully at the enticing photos of grapevines and cozy tasting rooms, but never found time to visit them. That is, not until last September, when my daughters and I headed to the Grand River Valley for a tour and overnight stay at the Lodge at Geneva.
Not only was the weather perfect on the Saturday we arrived, but also, we discovered, it was the day of the inaugural Grand River Valley Cask Tasting. For this inspired event, five wineries — Debonné, Ferrante, Grand River Cellars, Laurello and St. Joseph — each purchased a 500-gallon oak barrel and filled it with red wine made from vinifera grapes from their vineyards. A portion of the contents was sold; the barrels will then be topped off with this year’s vintage. The blend of last year’s and this year’s wine will be offered at the 2013 cask tasting on Sept. 14.
The barrels and their contents are unique to each winery — visitors can see, for example, how wine from a barrel made of Hungarian oak differs from one crafted of French or American wood. While you’re tasting, you can chat with the winemakers in their cellars and learn more about the winemaking process.
The progressive event pairs a wine and appetizer for $6 at each of the wineries, which are located within a 10-minute drive of each other. Last year’s samplings ranged from a baby Beef Wellington with wild mushroom duxelle at Ferrante to a dark chocolate Merlot bread pudding at Grand River Cellars.
Easy driving tours like the Grand River one can be found in other wine-producing regions of Ohio — for example, the clusters along the western shore of Lake Erie and near the banks of the Ohio River. Check out the handy maps at tasteohiowines.com
. And for a one-stop Ohio wine experience, head to Vintage Ohio at Lake Metroparks Farmpark in Kirtland, where some 19 wineries will offer tastings Aug. 2–3.
Meanwhile, read this issue's “Wine and Dine” by freelancer Mark Fisher to learn about four Ohio wine producers that also have full-service restaurants — yet another enticement for a relaxing trip to the vineyards.