There’s no denying the beauty of Geneva and Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio. Head to Northeast Ohio and you’ll find some of the prettiest sunsets I’ve ever seen. But, if you can tear yourself away from the water (or run out of wine!), where should you visit to refill your glass? A recent trip to the area gave me the best of both worlds: sunsets and wineries. Here are five must-visit wineries in Geneva, Ohio and Geneva-on-the-Lake & why I’m loving them.
I’m one of the rarer wine drinkers; sweeter wines are my go-to. Having written that, I love taste-testing dry wines and can appreciate a good, complex flavor. But, many times when I mention that I’m a sweet wine drinker, I get “the look”. And sometimes there’s even a stigma to drinking sweet over dry. One, young adults usually start out with drinking inexpensive sweet wine and graduate to dry varietals. Two, sugar is the go-to way to amp up poor quality wines. Happily, you won’t find a bad wine, whether dry or sweet, on this list.
Disclosure: I was hosted by the fine folks at Ohio wines to give you the scoop on what makes the wineries at Geneva and Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio must-visits. All opinions are my own!
St. Joseph Vineyard
Head to the official St. Joseph’s Pinot Vista Vineyard website and you can check out its awards for its Pinot Noir to Ice Wine. Add a 20-year growing and producing boast to its accolades and you’ll see why it made my list. I tasted at least seven wines before lunch (trust me, all sips!), and these came out on top:
Pinot Noir Reserve – You’ll smell hints of cherry and strawberries combined with roses and lilacs. What you’ll taste: Cherry, cranberry, and cedar.
Vidal Blanc Ice Wine – Vine-frozen Vidal grapes make this wine sweet and smooth. You’ll smell hints of honey and apricot. What you’ll taste: passion fruit and peaches.
Where to Visit: The Pinot Vista Tasting Room 7800 Warner Rd, Madison, OH
When to Visit: Monday, Wednesday & Thursday: 12-5pm, Friday & Saturday: 12-7pm, Closed Sundays & Tuesdays. Some holidays open: please check site for hours.
The Lakehouse Inn Winery
Sure, you can head to the Lakehouse Inn Winery and buy a bottle, but having a lovely wine-pairing dinner at its sister property, Crosswinds Grille, is the way to go. I had the pleasure of staying at The Lakehouse Inn (see below for the scoop), so walking a few steps to a delicious dinner was ideal. Four courses + with four complimentary wines = a happy gal. What you’ll find are small batch wines using grapes from Ohio’s Grand River Valley, honey, and local apples. You’ll also find a dry wine portfolio, so I sipped and did find a couple of standouts.
Reisling – Semi-Dry and flavorful. Also its most popular seller.
Saignée Rosé Pinot Noir- literally translating to “bleeding rose”, its color comes from the hint of grape skins used to create. During our dinner, it was very popular. Can be paired with starters or lovely on its own.
Where to Visit: 5653 Lake Rd E, Geneva-On-The-Lake, OH 44041
When to Visit: There are several ways to enjoy a bottle of wine from The Lakehouse Winery. While my favorite way is to enjoy at Crosswinds Grille, you can visit the Inn’s gift shop and drink on the outdoor patio. Patio hours are Memorial Weekend through June Wednesday – Sunday 12pm- 9pm. July – September (weather permitting) the hours are Wednesday – Sunday from 12pm-9pm (closed Mondays after Labor Day).
Another great winery to enjoy a good meal (I ate lunch there. Try the Grilled turkey Sandwich and potato salad), Debonne Vineyards is so beautiful. A laidback, rustic interior paired with flavorful wines lets guests spend enjoyable hour or two or an entire afternoon. Pronounced Deb o NAY, it prides itself on being the largest estate winery in Ohio. Not a wine drinker but visiting with friends that are? Double Wing Brewing is its sister property. feel free to test-drive a couple of craft brews.
You’ll also find a large, varied list from dry whites to fruit and dessert wines.
Moscato Reisling – A California Moscato blended with our Grand River Valley Riesling. not as sweet as a traditional Moscato, it was a nice way to begin. Afterall, you should start with the dry varietals and work your way to the sweetest.
Blueberry Noir – Three red vinifera grapes and natural blueberry flavoring. A 6.5% residual sugar gives that sweet, blueberry taste that reminds me of summer.
Where to Visit – 7840 Doty Road Madison, Ohio 44057
When to Visit – Sun. 12-6 PM (Mar. thru Nov.), Mon. & Tues. 12-6 PM, Wed. 12-10 PM (12-6 PM Jan. thru Mar.), Thurs. 12-8 PM (12-6 PM Jan. thru Mar.), Fri. 12-11 PM (12-6 Jan.), Sat. 12-8 PM
If you’re looking for a lesson in the science behind wine creation, M Cellars is your stop. It claim to fame: artisan, handcrafted, cool-climate wines. A hobby that began in Mentor, Ohio, small batches for family and friends turned into complex wines named after precious family members. What you won’t find are a lot of sweet wines, but the two that it does offer makes up for it.
R Katsateli – A tart wine, you’ll definitely notice a mouth-watering experience compliments of its acidity.
Reisling – you’ll notice a floral hint, but it’s the citrusy front notes that are what makes it. Want to pair it with food? The spicier, the better.
Amelia (Estate) – Named after the owners’ first daughter, its a beautifully-sweet blush. Hints of blueberry, cherry, and apple. My top pick.
Where to Visit – 6193 South river Road West, Geneva, Ohio 44041
When to Visit – Sunday – Thursday 12-6pm, Friday & Saturday 12-8pm
Of all of the wineries that I visited, Ferrante Winery is the one I’m most familiar with. Found in my local wine store, Ferrante wines have always been a staple in our wine collection. Since 1937, the Ferrante family has been selling wine since its beginning in Cleveland, Ohio. Fast forward to present day where Ferrante Winery & Ristorante is a huge draw for locals and visitors.
Vidal Blanc – Made from estate-grown grapes using a cool fermentation method. While the peach note will hit you first, it’s the honey finish that make this wine one of your faves. It’s already one of mine.
Vidal Blanc Ice Wine – Using naturally-frozen estate grapes, the winery picks them between 12-15 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s a residual sugar anywhere between 20-22%, making for a lovely, thicker consistency. Again, that peach hint is first, but the honey and nectarine follow beautifully.
Where to Visit – 5585 OH-307, Geneva, OH 44041
When to Visit – Sunday 1-6pm,Tuesday 10-5pm, Wednesday & Thursday 10-8pm, Friday & saturday 10-10pm. Closed Sundays
Where to Stay in Geneva -on-the-Lake
The Lakehouse Inn and Winery is my choice for its location right on Lake Erie and quaint setting. You’ll find eight beautifully-appointed guest rooms with private baths and cable television. You’ll also find plenty of free parking. If that wasn’t enough, the staff are impeccable, there’s a fridge filled with drinks, snacks in your room, and a Keurig machine on standby.
And, if that wasn’t incentive enough, each morning of your stay you’ll get a made-to-order breakfast at Crosswinds Grille. Locally-sourced ingredients are the staple, and Chef Nate’s own Na*Kyrsie Meats are on the menu, too.
Note to the reader: There’s no such thing as a free wine sample in Ohio. All wineries are required to charge a small fee. Trust me, it’s worth every penny.