Copper Whale Winery
This Sandusky County spot offers fruit wines alongside more traditional varieties at a retro-chic barn that provides a welcoming space to gather with friends.
As the sun sets at Copper Whale Winery, groups of friends sit at tables, listening to live music and sipping wine made in one of the historic buildings on the property, located just east of Clyde. Through the windows, the fading sun casts a glow over the vineyard outside, as patrons munch on cheese trays and check out the antique case of vintage wine bottles and memorabilia from bygone Sandusky wineries.
With its rustic charm and retro-chic feel, Copper Whale Winery blends the atmosphere of the farm and cherry orchard that once occupied the land with custom touches like reclaimed wood and an outdoor pavilion made from a hollowed-out barn.
“They love it here,” co-owner Brian House says of his customers. “They like the look and feel of the place. I feel like we’ve captured something you’d find in a bigger area.”
Copper Whale Winery opened in August 2020 and was immediately more successful than any of its four owners expected. The blackberry wine is so popular that House has to regularly make more to keep up with demand. Among the dozen options, peach and strawberry wines are big sellers as well as more traditional offerings like cabernet sauvignon.
For years, House and two friends spent evenings making wine together at his home. They played games, listened to music and enjoyed his vintage decor and collections of art pottery and antiques.
“I said, ‘Why don’t we start our own winery?’ ” House recalls.
Brothers and fellow winery co-owners Darrin and Eric Allen already had the property, located along U.S. 20. House cleared the field and planted 13 rows of grapes.
That trio and the fourth co-owner, Jason Lamson, repurposed the matching red historic structures, turning a small outbuilding into the wine-producing area and renovating the old barns into places where customers can enjoy live music or hold an event. The owners built the large main building that houses the bar, antiques and a growing art collection. The copper whale weathervane sitting atop the main structure is where the winery gets its name. Once a focal point in House’s garden, the touch is a nod to the friends’ success in bringing the relaxing and welcoming atmosphere from their evenings at House’s home to their customers.
“I like the nights we’re just buried,” House says. “I love interacting with the customers. ... It’s everyone’s escape.”
1734 E. McPherson Hwy., Clyde 43410, 419/765-1015, copperwhalewine.com