There are dozens of wineries between Cleveland and the Pennsylvania border. Here are just a few. (Note: Always call before visiting wineries.)
Debonne Vineyards (7743 Doty Rd., Madison, 440.466.3485, debonne.com) is one of the largest and most commercially successful wineries in the state. The 110-acre vineyard produces riesling, chardonnay, cabernet franc, ice wine and scores of other varieties. The spacious, modern facility offers tours and tastings year-round and an outdoor grill serves up burgers and hot dogs up until closing time.
At Ferrante Winery and Ristorante (5585 Rt. 307, Geneva, 440.466.8466, ferrantewinery.com), visitors can enjoy wine-friendly Italian fare in a lodge-like dining room boasting views of the vineyard. A more casual patio featuring wine-barrel tables and live entertainment is party central on fine summer nights. Make sure to sample the award-winning rieslings.
Laurello Vineyards (4573 Rt. 307, Geneva, 440.415.0661, laurellovineyards.com) offers a comfortable perch to taste chardonnay blends, non-vintage cabernets and easy-drinking blush varieties. A light menu offers cheese plates, warm artichoke dip, grilled sandwiches and homemade pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven.
Visitors to South River Vineyard (6062 S. River Rd, Geneva, 440.466.6676, southrivervineyard.com) can sample wines in a 120-year-old church relocated to the site in pieces. Winery fans preach the gospel of Trinity, a house blend of cabernet franc, chambourcin and pinot noir.
No serious wine lover should overlook St. Joseph Vineyard (6060 Rt. 528, Thompson, 440.298.3709, saintjosephvineyard.com), source of some of the region's finest pinot noir. Join winemakers Art and Doreen Pietrzyk in the tasting room to sample and discuss estate-grown shiraz, chardonnay and riesling.
To save some running around, plan to attend Vintage Ohio (visitvintageohio.com), an annual celebration of Ohio wine August 7-8 at Lake Metroparks Farmpark (8800 Chardon Rd., Kirtland). The festival will feature more than 20 Ohio wineries, plus food, music, cooking demos and entertainment. Tickets are $22 for drinking adults ($25 at the gate), $10 designated drivers, $3 kids under 18.