Chocolate is for Lovers Wine Trail


This past weekend, my husband and I had a quick overnight getaway to Ashtabula County in Northeast Ohio. We participated in the Chocolate is for Lovers Wine Trail, presented by the wineries of the Lake Erie Vines and Wines Trail.

The Lake Erie Vines and Wines Trail consists of more than twenty local wineries scattered near the south shore of Lake Erie. This region has more wineries per square mile than any other region in Ohio and has over half of the grape acreage in the state of Ohio. The Lake Erie Vines and Wines Trail has several events to showcase the numerous wineries of the region, and the Chocolate is for Lovers Wine Trail was the perfect winter event to mix chocolate, wine, and the beauty of Ohio’s winter. During the Chocolate is for Lovers Wine Trail, each participant received two wine glasses, a candy dish, two wine samples, an appetizer, and chocolate at each winery visited along the trail. With thirteen wineries participating during this event, it was the perfect way to sample many varieties of Ohio wines! Through this self-driving tour, wine trail participants were able to visit each winery at their own pace. This allowed visitors to enjoy the beauty of driving on state routes and country roads with acres of grapevines blanketed with fresh winter snow. We were able to visit eight wineries during our weekend getaway. Each winery showcased wonderfully made Ohio wines with accommodating staff and friendly locals. The Chocolate is for Lovers Wine Trail reminded me of why I love Ohio’s beautiful countryside, friendly Ohio locals, and delicious Ohio wines!

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Grand River Cellars Winery and Restaurant was established in 1976 in Madison, Ohio. The primary focus in the 1970’s was on wine production and growing of quality grapes. Now, almost forty years later, the Grand Rivers Cellars is a well-known winery that boosts several varieties of wine and a restaurant. Situated back a lane, nestled in the woods, visitors can view their grapevines while driving back to this beautiful property. My favorite wines I sampled here were the Grand River Valley Chardonnay, and the Grand River Valley Riesling.

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Debonné Vineyards is the largest estate winery in Ohio with over 175 acres of vineyards. Located in Madison, Ohio, the winery has roots as a fruit farm in 1916, the vineyard was expanded in the 1960’s, and the winery was established in 1972. The beautiful chalet-style building welcomes visitors to enjoy award winning wines from this family owned winery. Along with award winning wines, Debonné Vineyards now has a craft beer brewery, Cellar Rats Brewery, which is located inside the winery. My favorite wines that I sampled here were the Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and their numerous award winner, Vidal Blanc Ice Wine.

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The Virant Family Winery is located in Geneva, Ohio and is a family-friendly winery with a casual atmosphere. This family owned and operated winery delivers fruity wines, a food menu from family recipes, and a beautiful outdoor space to host weddings and other outdoor events. Charlie and his son, Frank, are the winery’s owners and can be found pouring the wines and cooking meals for visitors. With stunning views of the rolling vineyards behind the winery, it is the perfect spot to taste these family made wines. My favorite wines I sampled here were the Red Velvet and Blazzin´ Blackberry. Both with fruity finishes that would be perfect to enjoy chilled on a warm summer evening!

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South River Vineyard is located near Geneva, Ohio in a century old church. Built in 1892, the church was originally located in Shalersville, Ohio, then moved to its now home, in Geneva, in 2002. With the original pews, interior door, wainscoting, flooring, and some of the stained glass windows, this beautiful church turned winery welcomes guests. Wonderful wines and a history rich ambience allows visitors to sample their wines in a lovely and historic place. Outside, the winery showcases the wonderful views of the countryside with two outdoor pavilions for guests to enjoy their wines. The South River Vineyard is a beautiful, quiet vineyard that allows you to savor a glass of Ohio wine, enjoy the company you keep, and marvel in the beauty of the Ohio outdoors. My favorite wines that I sampled here were the Pinot Grigio, Temptation (with a surprisingly delicious strawberry finish), and the Concord Ice Wine.

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Kosicek Vineyards is located in Harpersfield (Geneva), Ohio. Although the Kosicek Family has been grape farming since 1929, the winery was not established until 2012. Situated back a lane, surrounded by vineyards, a beautiful new building welcomes visitors to enjoy their time spent at this winery. My favorite wines I sampled here were the Concord, 534, and the Niagara.

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The Winery at Spring Hill is located in Geneva, Ohio. With 22 varieties of wine to choose from, and an extensive food menu visitors can enjoy an Ohio wine and good food in a relaxing atmosphere. The Winery at Spring Hill also has a bakery, serves locally roasted coffees and locally made cheeses, and has a large patio and deck to enjoy their wines outside during the warmer months. My favorite wines that I sampled here were the Chardonnay and the Covered Bridge Heritage.

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The Old Mill Winery is nestled in Geneva’s city limits. This winery and restaurant has more of a pub atmosphere, than a winery, but this is what sets it apart from the other local wineries. The neat old mill has many endearing and original features like the wood paneled walls, and the hardwood floors that creak when you walk on them. Visitors can enjoy wines, a full bar, and full menu at the Old Mill Winery. My favorite wines I sampled here were the Geneva Blush and the Geneva Rouge.

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Ferrante Winery and Ristorante is located outside of Geneva, Ohio and has 65 acres of vineyards surrounding the winery and restaurant. Selling wine since 1937, the Ferrante Family has perfected their wine making over the years, and have received numerous awards from national and international competitions. With an inviting tasting room that proudly displays their award winning wines, a wonderful Italian restaurant (we went back for dinner after the wine trail and our food was delicious!), and a gorgeous view of the vineyards from their outdoor patio, Ferrante Winery is the perfect place to enjoy fine Ohio wines. My favorite wines that I sampled here were the Chardonnay Reserve-GRV, Pinot Grigio-GRV-Signature Series, Raspberry Blanc, and the Carbonated Riesling.

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The Chocolate is for Lovers Wine Trail was the perfect way to sample wonderful Ohio wines. Ashtabula County, the city of Geneva, and surrounding towns have a special environment that showcases Ohio’s beautiful vineyards. Take a weekend getaway to explore the Lake Erie Vines and Wines Trail and to experience this wonderful region of Ohio, warm hospitality, friendly locals, and embrace the slower pace of the stunning countryside in Ohio. Have you visited any of these wineries? If so, please share with me your favorite Ohio wines! Cheers!

Thanks for reading!


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  1. This looks like a good time! As a northeastern Ohioan, I’ve never been to any of our wineries. I think it’s time I’ve changed that and this event aound like a perfect way to kick it off.

    1. Hi Darlene! Thanks for visiting the blog! I can’t believe you haven’t visited an Ohio winery, yet! With over 240 wineries, you will have plenty to choose from (especially living in NE Ohio!)! Cheers! 🙂

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