The more than 250 wineries across Ohio are producing distinctive wines in nearly every style. From award-winning, classic viniferas, grown where Mother Nature allows, to sweet and traditional varietals reflecting our historical roots, our passionate vintners create handcrafted wines to match every palate. However beyond great wines, the industry offers an array of unique experiences to share as corks pop and glasses clink. These events range from “do good to do good” charity fundraisers to activities that create happy memories and are just plain fun. Here’s a sampling:
The Winery at Versailles, located just north of Dayton offers a blind, “Get Your Wine Connoisseur On” tasting. Guests vie for prizes as they sniff and sip for aromas and flavors of vanilla, oak, cherry, grass and berries and try to identify the grape variety in each disguised bottle.
Brandeberry Winery in Enon, east of Columbus, presents “Dog-tober Fest” each fall, raising money to rescue homeless animals and place them with loving families. And, as they release their spring wines, the winery plans a community event honoring our veterans; proceeds benefit the Dayton area “Honor Flight.” The charity project helps to send a World War II hero to Washington DC’s annual celebration honoring the sacrifices of a generation of great warriors.
Grand River Cellars in Madison offers an intimate and romantic environment in their “Wine Cave” where visitors can relax, surrounded by oak barrels and shiny stainless tanks, and learn about wines from an expert as they sip hearty reds and crisp whites complemented by locally produced artisan cheeses.
Candlelight Winery in Garrettsville supports the local Community Cupboard with a farm to table dining experience. Local farmers contribute their summer garden produce and Candlelight’s winemaker and chef prepare a variety of appetizers to pair with the wines.
And, for making memories, Debonné Vineyards in the Grand River Valley presents its hot air balloon rally each June. As the sun begins to set, a dozen or more colorful balloons float gently above the winding river and hundreds of acres of lush green vines while thousands of spectators cheer.
– Donniella Winchell