Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Make Plans Now for the Aurora Wine Fest

Aurora Farms Premium Outlets, located in Aurora Ohio just southeast of Cleveland, is hosting a wine festival October 13 from 1pm to 7pm. In attendance will be eight Ohio wineries and 10 wine distributors, including "It's Your Winery" and Chalet Debonne; the Western Reserve Cooking School; and seven local restaurants, including Hudson's Vue Restaurant and Aurora's Bertram Inn.

Admission is $30 in advance or $35 at the door; designated drivers pay $10 (no wine samples). Tickets are available online or by calling 800 648-6342.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Vintage Canton

Get to know the wines of Northeast Ohio a little better at Vintage Canton, an evening of wine, art, music, and food, on Thursday, September 20 from 430pm to 930pm.

The event, held on Central Plaza in downtown Canton, features local wineries, including "It's Your Winery," Maize Valley Winery, and Perennial Vineyards as well as music by two blues bands and food from area restaurants, including the Arcadia Grill and Iris Restaurant. In addition, local artists and craftsmen will be in attendance, with demonstrations and exhibits.

Tickets to Vintage Canton are $25 in advance (register before September 18) and $35 at the door. Admission includes entrance, eight wine or microbrew samples, cheese, and live entertainment. A "designated driver" ticket is also available (no wine or beer samples) for $10. Call 330 458-2099 or visit the event's Web site.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Old Firehouse Winery

Geneva-on-the-Lake's Old Firehouse Winery is a delightful place to spend a fall weekend afternoon. Located along the Lake Erie shoreline, the winery has a huge patio, ideal for sharing a bottle of wine with your friends. There's even live music on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Old Firehouse Winery creates over 20 different wines, from the sweet Pink Catawba to the robust Chambourcin. All except for their Icewine are priced until $15. There's also an adjacent restaurant, the Firehouse Grill, that serves a variety of Mexican fare, steaks, sandwiches, and salads. Nothing on the Grill menu is overly expensive, either.

The tasting room is open Monday through Thursday from noon to 7pm, on Friday and Saturday from noon to midnight, and on Sunday from 1pm to 6pm.

Old Firehouse Winery is located about 1 1/4 hours from downtown Cleveland, at 5499 Lake Road in Geneva-on-the-Lake. For more information, call 440 466-9300 or 800 UNCORK-1.

(photo credit: Flickr user: Jessica Jeanne/cc license)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

September is Italian Wine Month at Cellar Door.

Cellar Door, the retail tasting room run by the Cleveland Wine School, is celebrating Italian wines this month. The unique venture is open each Friday and Saturday and is located just a few doors door from Moxie and Red Restaurants in Beachwood.

On September 14 and 15, they will be pouring wines from Friuli, Veneto, Trentino, and more. Look for Pinot Grigios, a Valpolicella or two, and the savory/sweet aromas of Amarone. Cellar Door is open Friday and Saturday from 5pm to 9pm. Tastings are $10 per person. You can even bring your own food (perhaps a salami or hunk of Parmesan) to munch on. No reservations are necessary.

Next week, the Cellar Door will feature wines from Central Italy--Tuscany, Umbria, Marches, and Latium.

No, they aren't pouring Ohio wines this month, but it is a fun Ohio wine event--close enough to our topic here.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Where to Stay in Lake Erie's Wine Country

Lake Erie's Wine Trail extends along the Lake from Painesville in Lake County to the eastern edge of Ashtabula County. The region is home to over 1500 acres of grape vines and to over 45 wineries.

Fall is a perfect time to visit. There are fall festivals, such as the Geneva Grape Jamboree (September 29 and 30) and the Ashtabula County Covered Bridge Festival (October 13 and 14), clambakes, fall foliage, and lots of wine to sample.

Plan a weekend -- or mid-week-- getaway to the Lake Erie Wine Trail by planning to stay at one of the region's small inns and bed and breakfasts. Among my favorites are:

  • Fitzgerald's Irish Bed and Breakfast - Located in Painesville, this family-run B&B (pictured above) is a 1937 Tudor home with six guest rooms, four with private baths. All feature air conditioning, cable TV, and free wireless Internet access. Breakfast is included each morning.

  • Rider's Inn - Another Painesville hostelry, Rider's Inn is a 19th century structure with a long history, including a role in Ohio's Underground Railroad route. The inn features eleven individually decorated guest rooms and a popular restaurant.

  • The Eagle Cliff Inn - This six-room inn is located in along the shores of Lake Erie in Geneva-on-the-Lake Ohio. The 19th century Victorian inn features air conditioning, large private baths, and complimentary high-speed Internet access.

(photo credit: Flickr user: Trish N/cc license)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Wine Quotes

People have been writing about wine, almost as soon as man took pen to paper. Here's a sampling of notable quotes:

  • Good wine is a necessity of life for me. ~ Thomas Jefferson
  • A man will be eloquent if you give him good wine. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne. ~ John Maynard Keynes
  • If God forbade drinking, would He have made wine so good? ~ Cardinal Richelieu
  • What though youth gave love and roses, age still leaves us friends and wine. ~ Thomas Moore

(photo credit: istockphoto)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Make Your Own Wine at Fairlawn's "It's Your Winery"

Have you ever wished that you could create your own wine, with your own personalized label? Fairlawn's "It's Your Winery" makes it easy and affordable to do just that. The storefront at Fairlawn Town Center (just down Ghent Road from I-77) lets you pick your own blend of wines and begins the wine-making process. You then return five to nine weeks later to bottle your creation.

The 30-bottle package ranges from $109 to $199 and includes the wine, corks, colorful foil toppers, personalized labels, and state and federal taxes. Bottle are extra or you can bring your own.

It's Your Winery is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11am to 7pm, Friday from 11am to 9pm, and Saturday from 10am to 5pm. You can also make arrangements for them to be at your next party or family gathering.

(photo credit: istockphoto)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Ohio Wine Regions: The Canal Country Wine Trail

Located along the path of the former Ohio-Erie Canal, south of Cleveland, is Ohio's Canal Country Wine Trail. The region is roughly bounded by Akron to the north, Dover/New Philadelphia to the east, and Wooster to the west. It runs through the fertile farm country of Ohio's Amish Country.

Among the dozen of so wineries in this region is Breitenbach Winery in Dover (pictured at left). This family-run farm produces everything from dry reds to spiced and fruit-flavored wines (a specialty of the region). The property also has a Bed & Breakfast inn and a food market, filled with Ohio-made cheeses, mustards, and preserves.

In the center of Amish Country, in Hartville, lies the Maize Valley Winery. Fall is a great time to visit this 750-acre farm. They have a corn maze, hayrides, a farmers' market with lots of fall produce and, of course, wine.

(photo credit: Flickr user: arabella/cc license)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

From Vine to Bottle at Kinhead Ridge Estate

And you thought that Ohio wineries were about tasting rooms and rustic dining rooms...

The owners of Kinhead Ridge Estate Winery near the Ohio River in southern Ohio tell a little about the effort it takes to run a winery and keep the vines healthy.

Kinhead Ridge, in Ripley Ohio, is open Saturdays from April through Labor Day, and again on weekends from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Wine Flights at Bexley's Monk in Columbus

You have to take notice of a restaurant that names itself after the venerable Dom Perignon. When that eatery is also cozy, friendly, and serving excellent food, you know it's a winner. So is Bexley's Monk, located across from Capital University on Main Street on Columbus' east side.

Bexley's Monk, founded in 1983, excels at pairing affordable and tasty wines with their innovative food. On Thursdays, you can take part in their "Wine Flights," a weekly sampling of one type of wine or wine region. Most "flights" are $7.50 per person and hors d'oeuvres are available to accompany the wines. The tasting starts at 530pm. Upcoming events include:

  • September 6 - Sparkling Wines
  • October 4 - Cotes du Rhone
  • October 11 - Ports

Bexley's Monk is located at 2232 E. Main Street in Columbus; call 614 239-6665 for more information.

(photo credit: Flickr user: zesmerelda/cc license)

Monday, September 3, 2007

Clambakes at Chalet Debonne

Clambakes are a Northeast Ohio tradition, most likely brought from New England to the region with the first settlers of the Connecticut Western Reserve. What better way to enjoy the fall season that to combine wine, the Ashtabula County foliage, and a fine outdoor clambake?

Chalet Debonne, a Madison Ohio winery, is hosting just such an event on September 7 and 14, from 6pm to 730pm. Their "Steak or Clam Bake" includes a dozen clam or a steak, a 1/2 chicken, clam chowder, sweet potatoes, red skins, and corn. All for $24.95. Reservations are required at least five days in advance. Call 440 466-3485.

Chalet Debonne's Debevc family has been making wine since 1916, and the current winery was built in 1971. The winery crafts a wide variety of wines, the most noted of which is their Lake Erie Icewine, made from Vidal Blanc grapes that are allowed to freeze on the vine.

Chalet Debonne is located at 7743 Doty Rd. in Madison, Ohio.

(photo courtesy of Chalet Debonne)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Wines of Ohio

Wines of Ohio is a new blog, designed to showcase the diverse -- and tasty -- wines produced in the "Buckeye State." We'll talk about restaurants, wineries, wine events, and more. I'll even post some tasting profiles of regional wines. So join me for a romp through Ohio's wine country.

(photo credit: istockphoto)