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Food + Drink | Wineries

Ohio Wine Month 2018

Summer is the perfect time to explore Buckeye State wineries, including these 12 that offer dinner, classes, tours and more.

DINNER DATES

Terra Cotta Vineyards, New Concord
Chef Dinner Dates • July 20 & Aug. 17 
Co-owner and founder Paul Roberts built this southeast Ohio vineyard, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2018 with a monthly chef’s dinner (June 20 is already sold out, but cancellations do happen, so openings may be available) featuring a glass of wine and a multicourse menu with two different entrees capped off with dessert. The lineup is kept under wraps until the day of the dinner, which feeds into the fun. “Unless somebody has an allergy to a type of food, they don’t know what the menu is when they get here,” says co-owner Donna Roberts. “The menu’s different every time.” Past meals prepared by the vineyard’s two chefs have included spinach artichoke dip appetizers, grilled romaine salads, stuffed chicken and pork medallions. Although the dinner is indoors, guests are treated to views of the vineyard’s three acres. $40 per person; 2285 Rix Mills Rd., New Concord 43762, 740/872-3791, terracottavineyards.com

Stoney Ridge Winery, Bryan
New England Lobster Boil • July 28 
Thirteen acres of vines flank the long gravel driveway leading to Stoney Ridge Winery’s two-story tasting room/event space and outdoor patio overlooking a pond. Although it’s nestled in northwest Ohio farming country, the winery embraces an East Coast flavor with a summer dinner that includes a pound-and-a-half of Maine lobster, jumbo shrimp, sausage, red-skin potatoes and locally grown corn on the cob. “It’s a special food. It’s something you just can’t get everyday,” owner Pamela Ledyard says of lobster. “We have great attention to detail as far as how we serve it.” White wine is added to every boil, and guests can purchase glasses of wine ranging from marquette to country rhubarb. The outdoor dinner is enhanced with live music by an electric violinist. $55 per person; 07144 County Rd. 16, Bryan 43506, 419/636-3500, stoneyridgewinery.com

Meranda-Nixon steak dinner
Meranda-Nixon Winery, Ripley
Steak and Salmon Dinner • Every Saturday in July
During the height of summer, this southwest Ohio winery offers a weekly dinner featuring an appetizer course, salad and a choice of salmon or steak prepared by the owners’ four teenagers. “They’re pretty in tune to what customers want,” says co-owner Maura Meranda, who founded Meranda-Nixon Winery with her husband, Seth Meranda, in 2003. (The business began after Seth started growing grapevines instead of tobacco on his great-grandfather’s farm.) Guests can sit inside or outdoors and choose from award-winning wines, such as the estate reserve chardonnay or the estate cabernet sauvignon, which are included with the meal. “The location [and] the view pair nicely with the wine and the dinner,” adds Maura. “The food is great, the wine is great, but the experience is what people come for.” $70 per couple; 6517 Laycock Rd., Ripley 45167, 855/651-9188, meranda-nixonwinery.com


FESTIVALS & EVENTS

Sarah’s Vineyard, Cuyahoga Falls
16th Annual Summer Solstice Festival • June 22–24
Located within Cuyahoga Valley National Park, this vineyard hosts an annual summer kickoff festival featuring wine on tap, local artisans, food vendors and live folk, blues and funk music. “It’s eclectic — there’s a little something for everybody,” says Sarah Altieri, the vineyard’s general manager. Attendees can bring lawn chairs and blankets or sit in the outdoor pavilion, near the two-and-a-half-acre vineyard and the 1840s barn that serves as the winery’s tasting room. “It’s just a nice way to experience being outside and celebrating summer in Ohio,” adds Altieri. “Whenever there’s a chance to get outside, everyone jumps on it, so it’s great to have an outdoor festival at the start of summer.” $10 per person, includes seven wine tastings and souvenir glass; 1204 W. Steels Corners Rd., Cuyahoga Falls 44223, 330/929-8057, sarahsvineyardwinery.com

Woof and Wag event at Grand River Cellars
Grand River Cellars Winery & Restaurant, Madison   
Woof, Wag & Wine • June 16
Owner Cindy Lindberg couldn’t help but say yes when the Lake Humane Society contacted her about collaborating on an event to raise money for the northeast Ohio shelter and its dogs. “I just like supporting things that I believe in … I think what they do is very good work ... it was a no-brainer to help support them,” Lindberg says. The outdoor event invites guests to bring their own well-behaved pooches for an afternoon of auctions, raffles, dog contests (including Best Trick and Best Smile), two Muddy Paws wine tastings (made specially for the occasion), a dog walk through the four-acre vineyard and live music, with all proceeds going to the shelter. If you’re looking for a furry friend of your own, the humane society will have a few adoptable dogs in attendance. $20 in advance, $25 at the door; 5750 S. Madison Rd., Madison 44057, 440/298-9838, grandrivercellars.com

Meier’s Wine Cellars, Cincinnati
Fourth Annual Taste of Silverton • June 16
This southwest Ohio winery brings the village of Silverton’s restaurants together for an evening of local cuisine, live music and the opportunity to talk to Meier’s Wine Cellars’ vintners while sampling their creations. “Conceptualizing the Taste of Silverton was as much a community-outreach program as it was a way to accent the winery and the city of Silverton,” explains Paul Lux, owner of Meier’s Wine Cellars. While sampling foods (ranging from Italian and Indian cuisines to barbecue and classic American fare) guests can buy 31 varieties of wine by the glass or bottle in the building the winery has called home for well over a century. “We were founded by German-immigrant families that brought winemaking practices and grape-growing practices from their homeland,” says Lux. “We’ve built our wine portfolio over the past 127 years on that foundation.” Free; 6955 Plainfield Rd., Cincinnati 45236, 513/891-2900, meierswinecellars.com


TOURS & TASTINGS

Ferrante Winery & Ristorante, Geneva
Behind the Vine Barrel Tasting • June 9, July 14, Aug 11
Founded more than 80 years ago, Ferrante Winery & Ristorante is now home to more than 55 acres of vines. Still family-owned and -operated, the Ashtabula County winery is launching Behind the Vine Barrel Tastings this summer hosted by third-generation winemaker Nicholas Ferrante. The tour offers a peek into the winery’s cellar, where a variety of red and white wines are fermented in French oak barrels. During the hour-long tour, guests taste between four and seven different wines (depending on what’s ready). “It’s a little bit more in-depth,” says owner and manager Mary Jo Ferrante, “so you get a little bit more understanding of the passion that goes into the making of the wines.” $20 per person; 5585 St. Rte. 307, Geneva 44041, 440/466-8466, ferrantewinery.com

Firelands Winery, Sandusky
Tasting Room & Tours • During hours of operation
“The minute people walk in our doors, they smell grapes,” says owner Candace Barczyk. Combine those grapes with Ohio Wine Hall of Fame winemaker Claudio Salvador, and you’ve got a recipe for why one of the state’s oldest wineries remains a go-to destination. “He understands our clay soil, he understands our weather, and a lot of the newer winemakers don’t have that kind of background,” says Barczyk. In 1880, Edward Mantey and his family built the original Firelands wine cellar, which has been incorporated into the current winery.  Self-guided tours allow visitors to see the original, revamped farmhouse and learn about the winery’s history and production process. Afterward, guests can assemble a wine flight from the 25 varieties. Tours free, wine flights $4–$6; 917 Bardshar Rd., Sandusky 44870, 419/625-5474, firelandswinery.com

Gervasi Vineyard, Canton
Tours and Tastings • Public tours on Saturdays 
This former tree farm is now the site of a beautiful and expansive Tuscan-inspired winery, with two on-site restaurants and incredible villas for overnight guests. “I think when people arrive they really feel like they’ve escaped to somewhere very special, very unique,” says Scott Swaldo, general manager at Gervasi Vineyard. Thirty-minute public tours offered on Saturdays at noon, 1 and 2 p.m. at The Crush House feature a behind-the-scenes look at the winemaking process, from barrels to bottling. The vineyard’s 50-minute exclusive pairings tours at 3 and 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays include four pairings of chocolate, meat and cheese with white and red wines. Public tours free, exclusive pairings tour $19 per person, tasting flights $4–$8.50; 1700 55th St. NE, Canton 44721, 330/497-1000, gervasivineyard.com


CLASSES
Camelot Cellars in Columbus
Camelot Cellars, Columbus
Winemaking classes • By reservation Tuesday–Saturday
In 2011, Janine Aquino bought this capital-city winery with plans to revamp its medieval feel to a more European one. “I bought it because I thought it had a good history, it was a name that people recognized, it had a lot of growth potential,” Aquino says. “It just needed the right person to take it to the next level.” One tradition that hasn’t changed is the winemaking classes, where parties of up to 30 people have access to the wine lab. Guests first sample several different Camelot Cellars wines before picking the type they wish to make and starting the process. Wine is bottled, corked, capped and labeled during a returning session about 15 weeks later. Starting at $199 for 15 bottles; 901 Oak St., Columbus 43205, 614/441-8860, camelotcellars.com

White Shutter Winery & Brewery, Nevada
Pose and Pour • Select Thursdays, May through August
Within a year of opening her family’s Wyandot County winery, co-owner Kerri Thiel teamed with Michele Minehart for an event that began as a lark. Three years later, their winery yoga class is still drawing people. “We joked about trying it, but it was such a great hit,” says Thiel. Pose and Pour attendees can enjoy one of the made-on-site beers or wines prior to or after a yoga class led by Minehart. Plus, the experience is suited to yoga beginners and pros alike. “Michele makes it comfortable for everybody of varying abilities, from beginner yoga to advanced yoga,” Thiel adds. “She modifies for elderly people to come and try it out. She’s really accommodating.” As far as refreshments, Thiel recommends the wine slushie. “It’s extremely refreshing,” she says. $10 per person; 3794 County Hwy. 56, Nevada 44849, 419/835-2900 or 419/310-0834, whiteshutterwinery.com

Greene Eagle Winery, Cortland
Sip & Scrap • June 10
This Trumbull County winery’s art instructor, Debra Warren Miller, is mixing things up with her first scrapbooking event, inviting guests to bring their own photos to include in family-themed pages. The event is held at Greene Eagle Winery’s colonial-style, post-and-beam building and includes all you need to make a scrapbook, from paper and scissors to glue and ribbon. Miller provides step-by-step guidance to ensure scrapbook-makers are on the right track. “As I see something going awry, I’ll give them a little nudge,” she says. For refreshment while crafting, winery owner Dale Bliss recommends the popular Blackjack  (a sweet, fruity cabernet made with fresh blackberries) or the pear and kiwi notes of Tranquility. “They are fruity, sweet, full body — something that you’ve got to try,” he says. “You can’t go wrong with [those].” $30 per person (covers crafting only); 2576 Davis Peck Rd., Cortland 44410, 330/583-9463, greeneeagle.com