As a Pittsburgh gal, I always thought of Wine Country as a place in California. Today’s share will show you 5 Ohio wineries and Vineyard destinations only a stone’s throw away! Glasses up and cheers to incredible destinations celebrating everything wine.
You all know that I love my glass of wine, but for today, let’s just say I heart my GLASSES of wine! Someone has to find the premium source of all things wine and share it right? Now you too can enjoy superbly crafted wine boasting seductive aromas and flavors! Get out of Pittsburgh for at least the weekend and head to Geneva-On-The-Lake, Ohio for great wine tasting and eats!
What is very interesting is that in Geneva-On-The-Lake, Ohio, there are around 25 wineries in the Geneva-on-the-Lake area alone and more than 280 in the state! That’s right, 280 wineries waiting for you to come, wine taste and get your love of wine refined! It’s time to lavishly live wine out loud and visit the Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio to wine and dine!
5 Ohio Wineries and Vineyard Destinations
To be very clear and very frank, with all of you, I did not drink and drive. I was taken around in a shuttle with a group of ladies as my trip was hosted. We enjoyed wine tasting throughout Geneva on the Lake. The trip was fast and lovely and allowed me to experience only 5 of the 280 locations.
Now, I know I need to go back to uncover more great wines, so stay tuned. All opinions and images are my own based on my personal wine tasting experience in Geneva-On-The-Lake, Ohio!
Do make sure you map out your path, your timing and that you have a DD or hire someone to drive you around, you do not want to do wine tasting or vineyard and winery skipping without that preplanned.
St. Joseph Vineyard
Stop ONE – 11 AM, after all, it’s never too early to start the wine tasting right? Or just assume it is 5 O’clock somewhere and leave it at that, I do! Cheers!
The location is immaculate. Vines are running right off the parking lot and on their acreage and the owner Art was on hand to help us taste, delight and learn. Take a look inside, this is what I saw as I entered and you know I love to share.
After all, what is a trip to wine country without seeing inside and out? By the way, it was a rainy morning, but you will see as we progress through our wine travels, the day cleared up and showed us the beauty of the area!
Now I want to show you who Art is, and if you really want to know about wine, varietals, textures, which are ripely flavored and why then go here first! He is a walking wine encyclopedia. Sample, taste, and listen.
The vineyard is family run and located in Grand River Valley. 2018 marks their 20th year in business. In fact, St. Joseph Vineyard is the first in the region to grow and make Pinot Noir. An interesting point: some of the ‘reds’ have been recognized in those famous California competitions! The family has grown grape in Ohio since 1972!
Wines are produced in small quantity, and grapes are all handpicked. Art brought some Italian varietals with him from Italy after a visit!
Wines and Awards
Did I mention that St. Joseph’s winery has a few reds that have been recognized in California competitions? Well here you have it the official way to see the winners and then you can think about the ones you want to port on home!
I’d like to personally thank Art for his hospitality and tastings. It was an exceptional event, and each red that I tried were nicely integrated and blended. Each was fruit driven and admittedly harmonious.
Stop 2: Lunch and Wine Tasting
Welcome to a large estate winery with 175 acres of vine, so you can imagine the yield. Head towards Madison, Ohio which is just about an hour east of Cleveland. Notable about this vineyard is not only the lovely size but it is the first to open a microbrewery as well!
I gave you a forward and interior view. It is quaint, yet large, and there are multiple tables, and a patio, as well as an additional bar that is for Brews! Yep, I said brews right on the other side of the bar area, so wine it up or drink your fresh craft beers! This vineyard makes it easy for everyone to enjoy. There is food, craft beer, and wine, so Hello to the party!
What Is Debonne Vineyards Best Known For?
*Debonne Vineyards is best known for Riesling and Ice Wine. Additionally, the winery also produces excellent Cabernet Franc and Chambourcin (reds), Chardonnay and Pinot Gris(whites). We got to tour the facility, so I snapped a few pics for you. Truly I would like to bring a few of these home and have my own DANA Reserve on hand, lol!
I have to be honest, they have a lot going on here and I believe this stop is a mandatory for those who want eats, and drinks as well as a nice layout. Personally, I will be back to visit. Let me share the wine menu with you, just so you have a feel for what you can test, and drink!
Ready to take a Tour? I sure was and I got to see wine, where the winemaking happens, the party rooms, the larger room for parties and the bar area. There is a lot of ground to cover. This is a place for a wedding, a bridal shower, a friend, and family gathering.
Alright, imagine a wine-loving kind of girl about to take on an adventure into the tunnel of wine! I mean, you can only imagine my pure excitement to be one-on-one with wine!
The estate is gorgeous and well appointed. You have to really see it to understand. My challenge of outdoor photos and I apologize was the consistent pouring rain. You just need to go to see it yourself, that’s best anyway.
Dining At Debonne Vineyards
You will be captivated by the lovely aromas of food wafting from the Grille at Debonne. Truly articulated foods to pair with wine. Kick back, relax and enjoy. The hummus plate is huge, I mean an entire small plastic container of hummus, roasted red pepper, baby carrots, and mini naan flatbread. I do believe this would serve 2-3 not just one! Love when I am surprised by a serving.
Remember I am a culinary enthusiast and I travel the world tasting great foods and pairing wines, so this was perfect for me!
Next was a Caprese panini. Created with fresh mozzarella and tomato, basil pesto, grilled on sourdough. Phenomenal. Now let me speak to pricing. You know as things normally are, meals, when you are captive at a winery, are generally very pricey, but this is not like that.
The food is genuinely delicious, the cheese and crackers totally seal the deal. Pricing is beyond fair and the fact that you can eat, drink and Cheer with wine while you graze is a total AMEN to them!
Tour, taste and be happy. M Cellars is a newer area winery as it opened in 2012. Estate grown wines from Rkatsiteli and Pinot Gris, to reds of Noiret and Concord. This is a boutique winery created from passion, dedication, and hard-work. Unfortunately, the owners were not here and I would have loved to ask some questions or hear from them first hand, but I do not have much ‘insider’ scoop for you here.
The tasting room is gorgeous, there is an upper area, a fireplace area, and outdoor seating. The feel is a very open concept, much different from the others we visited. It is definitely newer. M Cellars has a few award-winning wines.
Tasting Room At M Cellars
Wine enthusiasts behold you are about to taste the flavors of M Cellar. A tasting bar, a loft and a ‘grand’ room, where will you choose? Perhaps the outdoor sitting area where you discover a 2-tiered patio/deck.
Strong fruit flavors will beckon your tastebuds, as the artisan, hand-crafted wine flows freely from the bottles. Each sip unfolds to reveal deep, rich flavors.
Welcome to a truly tenured, state-of-the-art winery operation. At Ferrante Winery you will find a lovely tasting room to enjoy all the different wines as well as the Signature Series. This is the Italian wine experience I had been waiting for all day long. The property, the building, the ambiance will not disappoint.
Truly, if I could have stayed here all day I would have. Not that the other wineries were not amazing, just the fact that this Italian gal likes her Italian wines and the food smell that was filtrating the air made me hungry. I smelled garlic and basil, all the true smells of Italy.
Outdoors and Indoors
Its terrace is large and offers plenty of seating, however, my guess is that Ferrante’s is always hopping and you want to get there early to take that seat! The indoor seating is gorgeous as well. Come to Ferrante to taste wine, but plan on eating too! The ambiance will just ‘suck you in” for lack of a better way to describe. I have to say the story is not just the wine, it’s the ambiance.
So here we go again, and I am mesmerized by the capacity and size of the wine development area. Anyone else want to dive on it? It can not just be me. LOL. Ok so maybe it is me alone, and that is great because there is a lot of wine for me to enjoy.
Yes, you see stainless steel, not oak barrels. This change was made after a fire years ago, and these actually are sitting well into the ground, not at foot level.
We did a little tour, and the tour was fun. You gain a whole new respect for the work that goes into winemaking. Here, they have moved away from traditional cork and had a whole new machine that does ‘twist off’.
Cork is a resource that is becoming ‘extinct’ and thus the pop we all like to hear is going away. Ferrante is right on top of this and you can see the capping machine above.
One more look before we go, I did do a 4 glass wine tasting here and each wine was impressive and held it’s own. Even the Ice Wine (which I will be honest I am not a fan) was delicious. You might be able to sway me a little, but keep the red flowing, please!
The Lakehouse Inn & Winery
A boutique resort with sunsets to enjoy with a glass of wine. The Lakehouse Inn is an 8 bedroom, 4 cottage bed and breakfast. Additionally, it offers a full production winery and meals offered are Farm-to-Table.
For those that love early mornings and sunrises, be sure to head to the shoreline to enjoy the best of nature up front and personal.
Don’t worry about driving anywhere once you are there and enjoying your wine, as you can simply walk to the ‘strip’, where there are a few shops and things to do. Of course, the property itself is immaculate and offers splendid gardens sure to impress.
The Crosswinds Grille
The Crosswinds Grille is the perfect way to end your wine tasting and foodie experience. Since you are staying the night, freshen up and get ready to enjoy farm-to-table cuisine. The boutique property has cultivated amazing relationships with local farms. Chef Nate Fagnilli is a true artisan of upscale farm-to-table cuisine.
Put your napkin on your lap, sip your wine and eat divine! Then, take your wine, and go enjoy the sunset on the terrace, there is nothing else like this in the area! Chill, sip and lavishly live life out loud!