Raven’s Glenn Winery
Beau and Tracy Guilliams continue the work Beau’s parents started at this Coshocton County vineyard.
One doesn’t expect to find a pocket of Tuscan charm just a 10-minute drive from Interstate 77 in Coshocton County, but Raven’s Glenn Winery delivers it among the rolling Appalachian foothills.
Rows of grapevines stretch into the distance, and on a quiet day you can hear the gentle babble of the nearby Tuscarawas River from the parking lot. Inside the main restaurant and tasting room, guests find vaulted ceilings, a towering fireplace and picture windows offering views of the river and surrounding vineyard.
Current owners Beau and Tracy Guilliams bought Raven’s Glenn from Beau’s parents, Robert and Renee Guilliams, who started their first grape crop back in 1997. In the years since, the business has expanded to include more than 25 different wines — 15 of which have won awards — a wedding venue and a full-service restaurant.
“My father created a destination,” Beau says with a proud grin. The menu of mostly Italian fare has been developed to go well with Raven’s Glenn’s wine, and tasting flights are just $5 for 8 to 9 wines.
“We can teach you as much as you want,” says Beau. “Or if you and your significant other are having a weekend, and you want to spend time together, we’ll keep your glasses full.”
After long and fruitful careers in healthcare, Robert decided to look into growing a crop and called the local department of agriculture to see if they could recommend something.
“They looked at it, and they said, ‘Yeah … you can’t really grow anything here,” Beau recalls. But a week later, the department followed up with an unexpected proposition: grapes. Soon after, grape experts came and surveyed the property.
“They said everything here is perfect. It faces the right direction, the wind flows in the right direction, great drainage … ” Beau says. “[My dad] started learning more and more, and said, ‘OK, we’ll grow grapes then.’ ”
He and Renee got to work, and today there’s still a section of grapes on the vineyard called the “97 Block” from the first year they planted. After some experimentation, they chose three grape varieties to focus on: chardonel, vidal blanc and noiret. It took a few years, but by 2002 they had purchased the land by the Tuscarawas River where Raven’s Glenn now sits. In 2003, the winery opened for business, and the restaurant was added a year later.
“My father had a 10-year business plan that, at the end of 10 years, you would think he wrote it after the fact,” Beau says. “We talked through everything from when the place would open, to what we would serve, to when we were going to start distribution.”
When Raven’s Glenn first opened, yearly yield was around 2,500 gallons. That number has since steadily climbed to the current output of around 80,000 gallons.
The winery has also garnered multiple accolades. Raven’s Glenn’s R2 wine — an earthy, full-bodied red made entirely with noiret grapes grown at the vineyard and named in honor of Beau’s parents — won the distinction of being the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s best red wine for 2015.
“That I’m the proudest of,” Beau says. “It was the legacy my father wanted to leave behind.”
Besides expanding its wine output, Raven’s Glenn opened a banquet center in 2007 which has become a popular wedding and reunion venue. The winery also offers themed four-course wine-paired dinners throughout the year. The wild game dinner every March is one of their best-sellers. Despite all the growth, Beau says the goal here has never changed: Offer a beautiful setting, some great wine, a knowledgeable staff and absolutely zero pretention.
“Have fun, its just wine. Don’t make it tough,” Beau adds. “You drink it, you like it, it’s good.”
56183 County Rd. 143, West Lafayette 43845, 740/545-1000, ravensglenn.com