Uncorking the Spirit of the Wine Trail

Let the Good Times Flow in Coshocton, Ohio
By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide To Fun!

Over the rivers and hills to spirited places you shall go, all along the Three Rivers Wine Trail. But it’s not just wine on the menu; there is a brewery and a distillery too. So, whether you want a stem, stein or shot, follow the ribbons of country road connecting vineyards, woods and farms to villages and towns, all ripe with homespun tales and drinks in the making.

It isn’t only the desire to wet your whistle that makes a wine trail worthy of trekking, although this is an essential ingredient. Perhaps just as important are the strangers who become friends along the way.

There’s nothing like a familiar smile and a, “Hey, we just saw you back at…Come join us!”

This journey isn’t always about the destinations. You’ll sense sweet Mother Nature breathing open the essence of a blooming joy across this unique wine country. See a hawk soar overhead. Pause before century barns and all their charm. Pass an Amish horse and buggy. Get passed by a motorcycle. Oh, and then there are the mom-and-pop shops with storefront windows straight out of Yesteryear.

The best part of the Three Rivers Wine Trail is its diversity. …READ MORE…

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Debonné Vineyards Madison, Ohio

Debonné Vineyards in Madison, Ohio is open daily, year-round. Visit the website below for current hours.

Debonné Vineyards is a winery and estate vineyard located in the heart of the Grand River Valley. The winery offers a diverse selection of wines from sweet native varieties to premium European dry varietals grown right on the estate. Wines are available by individual sample, tasting flight, glass or bottle. A casual menu is offered daily with grilled sandwiches, appetizers and cheese plates. Inside the winery, you will also find the tap room for the onsite craft beer brewery, Double Wing Brewing Co. The beer bar offers samples, tasting flights, pints, pitchers, and carry-out. A gift shop and carryout wines are located inside the main building.

Live entertainment is scheduled every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday. The entertainment schedule is available on their website. An expansive outdoor seating area with live music pavilion, outside bar and Grille is open during warmer months. The grassy hillside picnic tables are dog-friendly!

Debonné Vineyards hosts many special events throughout the year, including a Hot Air Balloon festival, wine trails, music festivals, car shows, tours, craft shows, classes and much more. Visit the web site for upcoming events.

The winery offers a number of venue rentals for hosting special events, such as wedding ceremonies and receptions, parties, corporate meetings, reunions, showers and other celebrations. Contact the winery for pricing and availability.

Debonne does not take table reservations, but groups of 8 or more are required to register before visiting. Tour and tasting packages are available for groups of 25 or more by appointment.

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Gervasi Vineyard Canton, Ohio

Gervasi Vineyard is open year-round.

Gervasi Vineyard an upscale Tuscan-inspired winery resort is located in the heart of Canton. This destination winery features over 30 varietals of award-winning wines including three estate-grown wines, state-of-the-art winery, and distillery, tours, tastings, pairings, culinary classes, and events. The stunning 55-acre estate offers a coffee house, craft cocktail lounge, and three distinct restaurants featuring exceptional cuisine.

Spend the night in “Tuscany” in a luxury suite. The Villas, and the new boutique hotel, The Casa, offer a total of 48 luxurious suites, offering high-end amenities and are custom designed to feel like you have escaped to Tuscany.

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Grand River Cellars Winery & Restaurant Madison, Ohio

Grand River Cellars Winery & Restaurant is open year round. Mon & Tue 12-6pm, Wed 12-8pm, Thr 12-9pm, Fri & Sat 12-11pm, and Sun 12-8pm.

Grand River Cellars Winery & Restaurant is located far off the main road, which presents a very exclusive setting.  The winery is nestled in the woods allowing for afternoon shade on the hot summer days and a tranquil setting during the winter months.  It’s the perfect setting for family and friends to gather.

Inside you will be welcomed by a warm and inviting atmosphere that includes a beautiful fireplace, many hand-painted murals, and a large bar area for friends to gather.   Wine tasting is always available and wines are easily selected in the store.   A gift shop includes fun and festive wine related items.

The winery is landscaped with water features, beautiful seasonal flowers, and grapevines.  The outside patio hosts a variety of entertainers all summer long and smooth jazz on Sunday afternoons.

An extensive menu features a variety of appetizers, grilled sandwiches and entrees including steaks, chicken, ribs, shrimp, and lobster.  The restaurant is always open when the winery is open.

The winery also features two separate private rooms for parties that can seat up to 60 guests.  Its newest feature is the Wine Cave.  This exclusive room is downstairs in the cellar and can seat up to 20 guests for a very intimate, private event.

Grand River Cellars prides itself in producing quality wines from grapes grown in the Grand River Valley Wine Region.   Its Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Grigio all benefit from the care taken in the vineyard to produce a quality Ohio wine.

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John Christ Winery Avon Lake, Ohio

The John Christ Winery in Avon Lake, Ohio is open year-round. Visit the website below for their days and hours vary.

John Christ Winery in Avon Lake:  This winery features tours, a tasting room and picnic area overlooking a golf course. There are acres of vineyards, a wine bar and hospitality room for hosting special events. It is named after a Macedonian who started it in 1946.

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Klingshirn Winery Avon Lake, Ohio

The Klingshirn Winery in Avon Lake, Ohio is open 10am – 6pm Monday – Saturday.

  • Location: (Map It) 33050 Webber Road in Avon Lake, Ohio 
  • Phone: 440-933-6666

Klingshirn Winery in Avon Lake:  This winery was founded in 1935 by the Klingshirn family, is now operated by the third generation of Klingshirns. Back in 1935, due to the large grape surplus, Albert Klingshirn began producing wine commercially from the cellar of his home. Within five years, he was operating a small winery from the home. In 1955, his son, Allan, bought and expanded the operation. By 1978, it was four-times larger. Today, Alan’s son, Lee, serves as the winemaker. Lee has a degree in Viticulture and Ecology from Ohio State University.

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Old Firehouse Winery Geneva-On-The-Lake

The Old Firehouse Winery at Geneva-On-The-Lake is open daily year-round. Visit the website below for their days and hours vary.

Old Firehouse Winery Geneva-On-The-Lake:  This quaint and enticing winery is located right in the heart of the Resort town of Geneva-on-the-Lake, situated in the Village’s first fire station. The name, Old Firehouse Winery, summarizes the atmosphere; an eclectic collection of fire paraphernalia and the fact that this was indeed the first Firehouse in Geneva-on-the-Lake. Besides its historic charm, much of the enjoyment in visiting the Old Firehouse is in its setting: the Lake Erie Shoreline.

The three partners in the Winery, Dave Otto, Joyce Otto, and Don Woodward never thought twice about their decision to start a new winery in Northeast Ohio, an area long known for outstanding wines and home to over a half-dozen wineries.

“The area’s reputation for fine wines, singular grapes, and the extraordinary wineries is precisely why we chose Northeast Ohio,” stated Dave Otto, managing partner.  “Without quality grapes readily available, you are not going to have a quality wine.”

But why The Old Firehouse Winery?  “You can thank my partner Don Woodward for that”, answered Dave.

A third generation volunteer firefighter, Don is now retired as a firefighter and EMT with the Geneva-on-the-Lake Fire Department and was the Assistant Fire Chief for a number of years.  His grandfather was one of the original seven firemen who started the Fire Department in 1924.

“It really is an engaging story as to how this came to be the first firehouse,” explains Woodward, one of the partners in the Winery. “After fruitlessly battling blazes with a “bucket brigade,” several local businessmen chipped in and ordered a 1924 Graham Brothers firetruck. They now had a truck on the way, and had two immediate issues to address: a place to put the truck and who was going to be fire chief.  Emery Tyler offered the use of his barn.  Everyone was so grateful they promptly made him chief,” Woodward continued.

“So in 1987, Dave, his mom Joyce, and myself looked at an old run down barn and a rusting, 1924 Graham Brothers firetruck, and decided we had our Winery,” Woodward said.

The firetruck still silently stands guard at the front of the Firehouse.

During the Summer months, the large, meandering patio and gazebo overlooking Lake Erie features a full service menu with dishes ranging from sandwiches to ethnic foods, to Barbecue chicken and ribs.  Old Firehouse is known not only for its fine food; almost of the eighteen wines have at one time won medals in statewide competition.  Nightly entertainment is featured seven nights throughout the summer.

Lake Erie wines, such as Raspberry Reflections, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, White Catawba, Pink Catawba, Grape Jamboree, Merlot, Sweet Concord, Firehouse Red, Lighthouse Niagara, Reflections of Lake Erie, Chambourcin and Port are made right on premises. Two different fruit wines are also featured, such as Spiced Apple and Peach.   There are special events and nightly summer entertainment. Its location in a marvelous resort town makes this a popular Northeast Ohio attraction.

Special events are featured throughout the year.  The most popular events include the Lake Erie Wine Fest in June, Firemen’s Roundup in June, the Celtic Feis in August, the two day Clam Bake and Food Extravaganza in September and the three day Christmas Party in December.  Call for dates and details.  Free tours are offered for groups of 20 or more, reservations are appreciated.

One of the major attractions in this region is the Lake Erie resort Village itself, a rare melange of shops, nightclubs, public parks, lake front cottages and amusements.

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Virant Family Winery Geneva, Ohio

The Virant Family Winery in Geneva, Ohio has seasonal hours updated at their website below.

Virant Family Winery in Geneva:  Situated in the vineyards of the Grand River valley, Virant Family Winery offers 14 great wines, a warm, relaxing atmosphere, good food, and the feeling of being with family.  Steak, rib, and chicken dinners along with musical entertainment is offered on Saturday nights.  Virant Family Winery, where you’re treated like family!

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