Wine & Chocolate Trail (2022)
Self-guided tour of Northeast Ohio Wineries
Friday, February 18, 2022
Grand River Cellars Winery & Restaurant
We met Melissa & Jason Vlasak and Jim & Karen at GRC Winery to start the tour and plan the weekend.
We had samples of the Pinot Grigio, Chardonay, Cabernet Franc Rose’, and Semillon, then ended up ordering a bottle of the Pinot Grigio. For dinner, we got the pear and brie appetizer, Betsy had the Lobster Bisque, and I had an Asian Chicken Salad.
A bottle of Pinot Grigio to go and a fun sign “If you need a sign that you should have a glass of wine, this is it!” was acquired in the gift shop on the way out.
Saturday, February 19, 2022
Deer’s Leap Winery
Since we had some time before meeting up with the others, we made a quick stop at Deer’s Leap Winery. Two small wines tastings and cake. Large enclosed outdoor area that looks like it would be nice in the summer.
Rob tried the Chocolate Strawberry and Raspberry wines, which or course were both really sweet.
Betsy had the Chenin Blanc and Merlot – Chenin Blanc was good, Merlot was plain.
Winery at Spring Hill
We then went on to Springhill Winery to meet back up with Melissa and Jason.
Rob tried the Covered Bridge Heritage, a blend of Concord, Niagara and Catawba grapes.
Betsy had the Covered Bridge White blend.
We had stayed at Springhill Winery in June, 2019 as a Harvest Host with Phil & Tina Evans.
Then on to Rosabella Winery to meet up with Jim & Karen
Rosabella was serving a Zinfandel paired with Bruschetta. Rob also sampled the Chardonay and Betsy had their Pinot Grigio (a little tart).
Ferrante Winery & Restaraunt
Ferrante was packed! They were serving a Pasta Frijole, paired with their Pinot Noir. Rob also tried their Vidal Blanc while Betsy got another Pinot Grigio. The dining rooms are expansive and beautifully decorated.
Benny Vino Winery
We decided to get some lunch at Benny Vino. They had samples of their chocolate chili. Rob tried their Chardonnay and Riesling and ordered a glass of the Pinot Grigio with lunch. Betsy tried the Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc and went with the Sauvignon with the meat and cheese tray.
The owner, Benny, was making the rounds, talking to all the guests and Melissa was chatting about being disappointed that they didn’t have their Sangiovese available. Benny explained that he was still “working on it” to get it just right, but brought out a bottle of 10-12 year old Zinfandel from his private collection for us – on the house!
Debonne Vinyards / Double Wing Brewery
Debonne has a beautiful tasting room adjoining the bar for their brewery! Jason and Rob sampled a few of their brews after trying a couple of the wines.
Jim & Karen went home, leaving the rest of the party to our last stop of the day. Stonegait was a horse farm in the 90’s that they converted into a beautiful winery & restaurant.
We got some samplings of their dry whites to go with the chocolate covered pretzels they provided. Rob liked their Pinot, while Betsy preferred their Rkatsitell. We ended up staying after Melissa and Jason left and got some Taco Pizza, a glass of R-kat and Conway’s Irish Ale for dinner.
Sunday, February 20, 2022
South River Vineyard
We started off Sunday by going to Church – South River Vineyard’s tasting room is a century old church moved from Shalersville to Harpersfield in 2002! The stained glass and original pews give this winery a unique atmosphere. We sampled their whites while we waited for Dmitry & Yelana and Melissa & Jason to join us, then got a glass of the Pinot Grigio to share.
Red Eagle Distillery
South River Vineyard also operates Red Eagle Distillery next door. Here they offered a vodka-based Sea Breeze cocktail served with a strawberry chocolate. Such a quick stop, we forgot to take a picture.
Hundley was so busy we had to get a little creative with the parking! A 2-person band played up front while we enjoyed a sampling of Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Niagra (still pretty sweet), Chardonnay, and The Baron (a Semillon blend) served with a fudge brownie.
Time for some lunch at Cask 307. They offered a set tasting of wines with candied popcorn. We ordered a bottle of the Bourbon Barrel-aged Chardonay, while Dmitry got a couple flatbreads and turkey sandwiches to share with the table.
Silvercrest is a Harvest Host that Melissa & Jason are thinking of staying at later in the year. They have an LED strip embedded in resin which is a really cool look. Their second floor gives a nice view of the surrounding vineyards.
We forgot to record the wines and get a picture here.
M Cellars was not on the tour, but Melissa recommended we stop there to end the weekend. We split a bottle of Rkatsitell with Dmitry & Yelana, while Mellisa and Jason got the Reserve Chardonnay. We made ourselves comfortable on the couches in the (members only) wine loft (oops – missed the sign). We bought a bottle of the Reserve Chard to go.
2022 Participating Wineries:
Benny Vino Urban Winery, Harpersfield
Buccia Vineyards, Conneaut
Cask 307, Madison
Debonné Vineyards, Madison
Deer’s Leap Winery, Geneva
Emerine Estates, Jefferson
Ferrante Winery & Ristorante, Geneva
Goddess Wine House, Ashtabula
Grand River Cellars Winery & Restaurant, Madison
Hundley Cellars, Geneva
Markko Vineyard, Conneaut
Old Firehouse Winery, Geneva-on-the-Lake
Red Eagle Distillery, Geneva
Rosabella Winery, Austinburg
Silver Crest Cellars, Madison
South River Vineyard, Geneva
Stable Winery, Andover
Stonegait Winery, Madison
The Winery at Spring Hill, Geneva