Saturday, October 29, 2011

Firelands Winery, the old Mantey Brothers' Place

In 1880, Edward Mantey, originally from Kelley’s Island, purchased land in Venice, a village just west of Sandusky.  Much of the fruit farm was allotted to grapes and Mantey's wine was eventually sold from Pittsburgh to Chicago. This winery eventually became Firelands Winery, which now produces Mantey label wines from grapes grown on North Bass Island.  Winemaker Claudio Salvador oversees the winery operations, and visitors can tour the winery and watch a film about its history and wine-making operations. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Follow a Trail

The Lake Erie Shores & Islands Wine Trail and the Lake Erie Vines & Wines Trail provide an afternoon or weekend adventure with sweeping views of Lake Erie along scenic byways. A great selection of wine can be enjoyed in cozy tasting rooms or fresh-air patios. Serenading accordion music and oven-fresh bread lull wine lovers into Old World siestas, Lake Erie style.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mon Ami Champagne Company

George Loeb built the beautiful 1872 limestone building that housed the Catawba Island Wine Company. The Neals, Landys, and Ellithorpes  ran the 130,000-gallon winery until 1937 when the property was purchased by Mon Ami Champagne Company of Sandusky. Mon Ami, “my friend,” was one of only a few US wineries that produced champagne at the end of the 19th century. The vitis labrusca-classified Catawba grape is still used, in Mon Ami’s famous sparkling champagne. Enjoy a smooth Cabernet Sauvignon and other European-style wines, served with lobster bisque and crab cakes. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Covered Bridges with Your Wine

Since I live in the Cleveland area, my wine country journeys have mostly been confined to northern Ohio.  Today, many vineyards along Lake Erie’s shore and on the islands grow local varieties of Catawba, Cayuga, Delaware, Concord, Chambourcin, and Niagara grapes, but are also experimenting with French varietals such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc. During the Covered Bridge Festival in the fall, one can drive along the back roads surrounded by spent corn stalks, and find historic bridges and modern wineries. Most of the wineries are new, but the soil on which the tasting buildings stand is enriched by grapes and vines. Ohio’s in the midst of a grape-growing and wine-making revival. East of Cleveland, Ashtabula County has more wineries per square mile than any other region of the state and is home to over half of the wine grape acreage in Ohio.