By now, I think you know I love me a glass of wine (or two) and I love getting said wine from the fabulous wineries in Ohio, because if you’re going to drink, you should drink local! So, when Ohio Wines invited me to take an in-depth tour of some of the Geneva area wineries, I immediately jumped at the chance.
Joined by fellow bloggers Dana Vento and Sand and Snow, we explored not only the wineries, but also the scenery of the Grand River Valley. One of my favorite non-wine stops was the Harpersfield Covered Bridge.
Ohio wine country doesn’t just boast great wineries, but great photo opps too!
But, of course, we mainly explored the wineries! We started at Saint Joseph Vineyard, known in the region for their Pinot Noir.
I’ve been learning to appreciate Pinot Noir, which satisfies my desire for red, while pairing nicely with dishes such as salmon. Owner Art took us through a tasting of Saint Joseph’s wines and the Pinot Noir and Pinot Noir Reserve were my favorites. I also really enjoyed the Sauvignon Blanc.
Next up was Debonne Vineyards, the largest estate winery in Ohio.
Matthew and I had our third date at Debonne Vineyards’ Hot Air Balloon Festival and it’s always a favorite place for us to return.
I sampled some of their red wines, including the unique Cask wine, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon that is aged in a 100% French Oak Barrel. Each year 1/3 of wine will be removed from the barrel, bottled and replaced with a new vintage making it a continual red wine blend.
The myth that all Ohio wines are sweet, Catawba-style wines is definitely not true, although there are sweeter varietals if that’s your speed. We also enjoyed a tasty lunch at Debonne. I highly recommend the caprese panini!
Then it was off to M Cellars, whose Meritage has become a recent favorite of mine!
But I also tried the Dry Riesling and give this a nod for summer sipping!
M Cellars wine club, which I very nearly joined on the spot, includes all kinds of perks like complimentary tastings, invites to special events, and two mix-and-match cases of M Cellars wine.
We popped across the street to sample some spirits at Red Eagle Distillery, whose spirits taste delicious straight or in one of their many creative cocktails!
The Ohio Red Maple, made in a rum-style with Ohio maple syrup, might be my favorite because it is so unique!
We ended our round of winery hopping at Ferrante Winery, whose brand new sign will be the site of oh-so-many Instagram memories this summer!
We toured Ferrante’s impressive production facility, then got to sample four of their wines.
My favorite of the ones we sampled was the Pinot Grigio, which will be released to market in early June and is light, crisp, and totally delicious!
Before heading back to The Lakehouse Inn (our cozy, comfy overnight host), we couldn’t resist a stop in downtown Geneva-on-the-Lake at Madsen Donuts.
I’ve loved their cream stick donuts for the past two years at Donut Fest, so I wanted a chance to visit the actual shop. Of course, they were amazing!
After some time to relax and refresh, we met up again for dinner at Crosswinds Grille at The Lakehouse Inn.
Owners Sam and Karen were gracious hosts, providing a four-course, wine-paired dinner.
The charcuterie board featured Na*Kyrsie Meats, butchered and cured by Nate, the executive chef at Crosswinds Grille, as well as cheeses from Mayfield Road Creamery. The Lakehouse Inn, along with all the other businesses we visited that day, are committed to sourcing locally as much as possible.
Paired with The Lakehouse Inn’s own rose, this charcuterie and wine pairing was the stuff summer picnic dreams are made of!
After a fresh local salad with housemade balsamic vinaigrette, we enjoyed a moist and delicious chicken breast (butchered by Nate of Crosswinds Grille) with wild mushroom rice and wilted kale.
We capped off the day with The Lakehouse Inn’s cabernet sauvignon paired with a rich slice of chocolate cake.
We retired to the patio to watch an incredible sunset over Lake Erie and reflect on a fun-filled day.
After a relaxing night at The Lakehouse Inn, we met up again for breakfast at Crosswinds Grille.
We hit the road for home feeling well-nourished and well-rested!
What struck me most about this in-depth look at Ohio wine country was the camaraderie of the region. From our shuttle driver Frank (from the Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake) to our Ohio Wines guide Donnie to everyone we met at the wineries, people were warm, welcoming, and focused on growing the region through supporting each other’s endeavors. And that is something worth saying cheers to!
June is Ohio Wine Month and to celebrate, Ohio Wines wants you to build your own virtual celebration case, by selecting Ohio wines that hold special memories for you. I know some of the wines I tried on my tour would be in my case! Click here to build your own.
***Disclosure: I was invited by Ohio Wines to attend a complimentary Ohio wines tour. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***