The Geneva area in Northeast Ohio is home to several wineries. Along with dry reds, whites and great food, the region is known for producing ice wine.
Each year in March, wineries in the Grand River Valley in the Geneva and Madison area in Northeast Ohio hold an Ice Wine Festival. The eighth annual event will take place on the first three Saturdays in March.
This year’s festival wineries are:
- Debonne Vineyards in Madison
- Ferrante Winery & Ristorante in Geneva
- Grand River Cellars Winery and Restaurant in Madison
- Laurello Vineyards in Geneva
- St. Joseph Vineyards in Madison
The wineries are all within a few miles of each other on back country Ohio roads. The festival consists of visiting each of the wineries between noon and 5 p.m. to sample ice wine along with a complimentary appetizer. Other events include ice carving, cooking demonstrations and art shows. The fee is $5 per person at each winery.
Northeast Ohio in March can be cold and snowy, so prepare accordingly. If you intend to sample heavily or take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy additional glasses or the fine local wine, consider having a designated driver.
What is Ice Wine?
Ice wine is made from grapes that are allowed to freeze on the vine. When pressed, the grapes yield a small amount of intensely sweet juice. When fermented, the wine produced has a high residual sugar content, which can be as high as 20%.
Few grapes can withstand the cold so many ice wines are made from hardy Vidal grapes, although these Ohio wineries also make a Cabernet Franc. Because little wine is produced from each grape, the wine is quite expensive, often $25 to $40 for a small 375 milliliter bottle.
Information on ice wine and tours are available at many of the wineries in the Geneva-On-The-Lake area, which were the source of the information in this article.
Wineries in the Geneva Area
Due to its close proximity to Lake Erie, the Geneva area is one of the best places in Ohio to grow grapes. The lake moderates the winter temperatures. This has resulted in dozens of wineries opening up in the area, including 20 that are part of the Ohio Wine Producers Association.
One of the most popular wineries is Ferrante Winery & Ristorante, which is open year round and does have the restaurant included in its name. Food is also available in the tasting area. Gifts and, of course, wine by the bottle and case are available for sale.
Open times at the other wineries vary. Most will be open summer weekends. Visit the Ohio Wine Producers website or call 800-227-6972 for complete details.
Whether you are sipping a fine ice wine on a cold day in March or enjoying a meal and a Chardonnay on a lovely summer weekend, the wineries in Northeast Ohio are worth a visit.