Ohio Wine Country

Exploring Ohio Wine Country in Ashtabula County

Ashtabula County has become one of my favorite weekend getaways in Ohio. If you haven’t been to Ashtabula County, it’s time to plan a trip. As Ohio’s largest county, with 26 miles of Lake Erie shoreline and known for beautiful Lake Erie beaches, fishing, covered bridges and many parks for nature enthusiasts to enjoy. Ashtabula County is also known as Ohio Wine Country. Thanks to the glaciers that formed the Great Lakes, the area is blessed with rich and fertile soil and, surprisingly, a climate that is highly conducive to growing grapes. Ashtabula County has the highest concentration of wineries in Northeast Ohio.

Keep reading to learn more about Ohio Wine Country and why I think it’s one of the best Ohio getaways for a relaxing couple retreat or a fabulous girlfriend’s weekend.

Looking for more Ohio wineries? Read these Ohio Winery guides. 

Ohio Wine Country

Ohio Wine Country

As the Grand River snakes its way across Northeast Ohio, the Grand River Valley has become ground zero for Ohio wineries. Over 50% of Ohio’s grapes are grown in Ashtabula County, and the Grand River Valley boasts more than 30 wineries alone. When you visit any of these Ohio wineries, the beauty is that there is something for everyone at each stop. There’s no pretense or wine snobs; whether you like dry or sweet, these Ohio wineries have something to please every palate.

You can even try ice wine; which is harvested in winter when the grapes are still frozen on the vine. Ice wine is one of the specialties of several Geneva-On-the-Lake wineries and one of the few places in the United States (and the world) that produces it!

Ohio Wine Country in Ashtabula County Ohio Wine Country in Ashtabula County

Ohio Winery Tours

The local pride at each winery means these growers work together. There’s great camaraderie between the wineries, so each stop will gladly recommend other places for you to visit. While I recommend sampling numerous types of wines, be sure to ask for the estate wines, which are wines made with grapes grown on-site.

Ohio Wine Country in Ashtabula County Ohio Wine Country in Ashtabula County

Each winery visit offers a unique, intimate experience and you’ll often find hands-on owners who love telling their story and showing you their process with behind-the-scenes tours and tastings. If you have a designated driver, download a driving map of wineries in Northeast Ohio, or hire a local shuttle company and leave the driving to someone else!

Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake Wine Shuttle

You more than likely won’t be able to visit the more than thirty wineries in Ohio Wine Country in one weekend (if you do, you are a Rockstar and we should totally be friends 😉 ), so this just means you’ll need to plan a return trip! I’ve visited Ohio Wine Country numerous times and have only visited about 20 of the wineries.

Each experience at the 30+ Grand River Valley wineries is unique and while I may not list every winery below, I know you’ll enjoy your Ohio Wine Country experience at any of them! I’m an oenophile and truly enjoy the experience of visiting wineries and tasting all wine varieties, below are some of my favorite wineries in Ashtabula County.

Laurentia Vineyard and Winery:

Reminiscent of an upscale California winery, Laurentia offers estate-grown, award-winning wines in a rustic lodge setting without the pretentious vibe. Come for the delightful wines and stay for the savory shared plates, artisan pizzas and the relaxing atmosphere.

My Laurentia wine picks- 2016 Estate Beton Chardonnay and the 2016 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Stoltz Block

*As the nature of winemaking goes, some years will produce finer wines than others. Therefore, my wine choices may be unavailable during your visit, please ask if they have something similar for you to sample.

Laurentia Winery

More details:

Address: 4599 S. Madison Rd., Madison, OH 44057

Website: https://www.laurentiawinery.com

Ferrante Winery & Ristorante:

The Ferrante Family has been producing wines in the Grand River Valley for more than 80 years. Now Ferrante is one of the largest estate wineries in the Grand River Valley. Stroll the vineyards, sample estate-grown wines, enjoy the outdoor terrace overlooking the vines and savor delicious Italian inspired dishes at the on-site Ristorante.

My Ferrante wine picks- 2017 Pinot Grigio GRV Signature Series, 2017 Chardonnay Reserve GRV and the 2016 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine

*As the nature of winemaking goes, some years will produce finer wines than others. Therefore, my wine choices may be unavailable during your visit, please ask if they have something similar for you to sample.Ferrante Winery

More details:

Address: 5595 St. Rt. 307, Geneva, OH 44041

Website: https://www.ferrantewinery.com

Kosicek Vineyards:

With grape roots that trace back to 1929, Kosicek Vineyards is a 3rd generation family owned and operated winery. The relaxed and welcoming atmosphere is the perfect setting to enjoy Northeast Ohio wines with views of the vineyards. The winery offers small plates, artisan meat and cheese plates, appetizers, flat bread pizzas and freshly baked apple strudel that pair well with their delicious wines.

My Kosicek wine picks- 2017 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Chardonnay and Rhapsody (pair with the apple strudel for a sweet treat)

*As the nature of winemaking goes, some years will produce finer wines than others. Therefore, my wine choices may be unavailable during your visit, please ask if they have something similar for you to sample.

Kosicek Vineyards

More details: 

Address: 636 Ohio 534, Harpersfield, OH 44041

Website http://www.kosicekvineyards.com/

Grand River Cellars:

Located in the heart of the Grand River Valley Wine Region, Grand Rivers Cellars have produced Ohio wines since 1978. With a rustic and inviting atmosphere, come to enjoy the wines and relax on the secluded outdoor patio. Grand River Cellars also has a restaurant so you can pair your favorite wine with a delicious bite to eat.

For a unique experience, sip wines and dine in the Wine Cave located in the cellar. The intimate, rustic setting was designed to house red wine varietals and now offers customers a chance to sip and dine amongst the wine.

Grand River Cellars in Ohio Wine Country Grand River Cellars in Ohio Wine Country

More details:

Address: 5750 Madison Rd., Madison, OH 44057

Website: https://www.grandrivercellars.com

South River Vineyard:

South River Vineyard is known as the “church winery” because the winery is housed in a century old church. Originally built in 1892, the church was transformed into a winery in 2002 and still maintains the original pews, interior door, wainscoting, flooring and some stained glass.

After marveling the historical church setting and sampling some wine, take your favorite South River wine outdoors to enjoy in the rustic pavilion with views of the vineyards. No food is served at the winery, but customers are welcome to bring their own picnic.

South River Vineyard in Ashtabula County, Ohio South River Vineyard in Ashtabula County, Ohio

More details: 

Address: 6062 South River Rd., Geneva, OH 44041

Website: http://www.southrivervineyard.com

Debonne Vineyards:

Debonne Vineyards has been a family owned winery and estate vineyard in the Grand River Valley since 1972. With more than 175 acres of vines, Debonne produces over 85, 000 gallons of wine yearly. The winery produces more than two dozen types of wines- red and whites, ranging from dry to sweet. Enjoy your favorite Debonne wine paired with an appetizer, cheese plate or wood fire pizza on the outdoor patio.

In the fall, when harvesting the grapes, Debonne opens the Juice House which offers fresh grape juice of many varietals. Debonne is the first winery in Ohio to open a microbrewery; Double Wing Brewing, with an on-site craft beer sampling room.

More details:

Address: 7840 Doty Rd., Madison, OH 44057

Website: https://www.debonne.com

Other Ohio wineries in the region I recommend:

M Cellars

Address: 6913 South River Rd, Geneva OH 44041

Website: http://www.mcellars.com/

Laurello Vineyards

Address: 4573 St. Rt. 307 East, Geneva, OH 44041

Website: http://www.laurellovineyards.com/

Lake House Inn Winery

Address: 5653 Lake Road East, Geneva-on-the-Lake, OH 44041

Website: http://thelakehouseinn.com/

For a complete listing of Ashtabula County wineries, click here.

Stonegait Winery

Address: 4275 Bates Rd., Madison, OH 44057

Website: https://www.stonegaitwinery.com

Hundley Cellars

Address: 6451 St. Rt. 307, Geneva, OH 44041

Website: http://www.hundleycellars.com

Beyond Ohio Wineries

Not a big fan of wine? Try a few, you may be surprised and find a blend that you like, especially because of the variety at these wineries in Northeast Ohio. But don’t worry, there’s more than wine to be had in the Grand River Valley.  Distilleries and craft breweries are popping up all over Ashtabula County. A few breweries and distilleries worth visiting include:

  • Red Eagle Distillery in Geneva produces vodka, rye, bourbon and whiskey.
  • Double Wing Brewing Company is part of Debonné Vineyards in Madison and makes a Pale Ale, IPA, Imperial Stout, Butter Pecan Porter and a Blueberry Kolsch.
  • Cloven Hoof Brewing in Ashtabula Harbor makes craft beers and growlers to go.
  • The Winery at Spring Hill offers hard cider in several flavors, in addition to 22 different wines.

More Things to do in Northeast Ohio

Of course, there are many other fun things to do in Ashtabula County besides drinking wine and spirits. Whether you want to spend time at one of the quaint lakeside towns along Lake Erie or explore the rolling countryside of Northeast Ohio, you will find many options to fill your Ohio weekend getaway.

Ashtabula Harbor:

Downtown Ashtabula is a wealth of history and sites to explore. The town motto is “America’s Main Street” and it’s truly a slice of Midwestern life. Everywhere you look in downtown Ashtabula, you’ll find historic buildings and monuments. The Ashtabula Maritime & Surface Transportation Museum details the maritime history of the region.

Ashtabula Harbor, Ohio Ashtabula Harbor, Ohio

During the Civil War, many slaves traveling along the Underground Railroad passed through Ashtabula and boarded ships to Canada. You can learn more about this at the Hubbard House Underground Railroad Museum.

The Ashtabula Lift Bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places as one of the few Bascule bridges still in operation. Be sure to visit Ashtabula Harbor at night, for the color LED light show at the bridge and several great restaurant options nearby (you’ll find my favorites, in the Places to Eat in Ashtabula County section below). Shoppers will find plenty of shops to stock up on unique gifts and souvenirs.

Some of my favorite shops in Ashtabula Harbor include:

In nearby Jefferson, don’t miss the Victorian Perambulator Museum & Art Gallery, which has over 250 antique baby carriages on display; the only collection of its kind in the world!

Geneva-on-the-Lake

This spot has been a summer resort town on Lake Erie for 150 years and is known as Ohio’s first summer resort. In addition to several Geneva-on-the-Lake wineries, this charming village is full of antique shops and restaurants. Don’t miss Eddie’s Grill, a diner from the 1950s. Nearby Geneva State Park has a sandy swimming beach, marina, hiking trails, picnic areas, lodge, and campground.

Ashtabula County Covered Bridges

Ashtabula County is also Ohio’s Covered Bridge Capital! There are more covered bridges in Ashtabula County than anywhere else in Ohio; 19 to be exact. These include the longest covered bridge in the United States and the shortest drive-through covered bridge in the country.

Like the wineries, the best way to see all of the bridges is to download the official driving tour map of Ashtabula County, or to visit in October for the annual Ashtabula County Covered Bridge Festival. Amazingly, 17 of the 19 bridges still allow vehicle traffic, so bring your camera for some action shots driving through these beautiful bridges. There’s also a museum in Ashtabula; Olin’s Museum of Covered Bridges is a great place to learn more about the area.

Harpersfield Covered Bridge

Barn Quilt Trail

That’s right, in addition to wineries and covered bridges to track down, there’s an entire trail of barn quilts to follow through Ashtabula County. What is a barn quilt, you ask? Well, it’s those beautiful pieces of art on the side of barns that look like a giant quilt. Early versions date back over 100 years, but Ohio has the first barn quilt trail, which originated in the early 2000s. A great scavenger hunt would be to try and photograph all 81 barn quilts in Ashtabula County, including the largest barn quilt in Geneva, which is 18’x18’.

Art & Culture

Art is an important part of the culture of Ashtabula County. Each community in the county has something for culture enthusiasts traveling through northeast Ohio. Whether it’s boutiques selling hand-crafted items, music festivals, craft fairs or performing arts, you’ll find Ashtabula County humming with creativity.

Some of the artistic highlights of the region include:

Outdoor Adventure in Ashtabula County

For outdoor adventure travelers, there are plenty of things to do in Northeast Ohio. With so many lakes, beaches, rivers, and forests, you can spend a whole summer exploring and still not see everything. Four rivers flow through Ashtabula County: Ashtabula River, Conneaut Creek, Grand River, and Pymatuning Creek. These rivers, along with Lake Erie, offer endless opportunities for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, boating, swimming or tubing. In addition to amazing sunrise and sunset opportunities, the Lake Erie shoreline is a great place to hunt for beach glass.

Here are just a few more outdoor activities to enjoy in Ashtabula County:

  • Lake Erie Canopy Tours– zip through the sky on Ashtabula County’s newest attraction!
  • Canoe and Kayak Rentals – whether you want to head out on Lake Erie or one of the local rivers, many local outfitters rent canoes and kayaks for a day of adventure. Harbor Yak offers kayak, canoe and paddleboard rentals along with group kayak tours.
  • Pymatuning State Park is the largest inland lake in Ohio and extends into Pennsylvania. It’s a great place for walleye and muskellunge fishing. Across the causeway, the carp gather at the spillway and are so thick, the “ducks walk on the fish.”
  • Conneaut Township Park is the largest beach in the county and one of the few places in the United States where you can drive on the beach.
  • Morgan Swamp Preserve is a Nature Conservancy Property where birders go during bird migration seasons. It’s one of the largest privately protected wetlands in Ohio.
  • Ashtabula County Metroparks– this park system comprises 14 parks with over 2,000 acres for outdoor recreation. These include the North Shore Greenway Trail, Pymatuning Valley Greenway Trail, and Western Reserve Greenway Trail, which offer over 60 miles of non-motorized trails, with many more miles in the works.

Places to Eat in Ashtabula County

There’s no shortage of places to eat in Ashtabula County and it might be hard to choose just one. From coffeeshops, bars, to local hot spots, you’ll find a delicious meal at one of these restaurants in Ashtabula County, Ohio.

Briquettes Smokehouse Rennick Meat Market

Ashtabula Harbor:

While there’s lots of great restaurants serving delicious food throughout the county, there’s just something special happening over on Bridge Street in Ashtabula Harbor. This up and coming foodie destination will entice your senses and satisfy your palate with high-quality, chef prepared meals.

Rennick Meat Market

Address: 1104 Bridge St., Ashtabula Harbor, OH 44004

Website: http://www.rennickmeatmarket.com

Bascule Bridge Grille

Address: 1006 Bridge St., Ashtabula Harbor, OH 44004

Website: http://basculebridgegrille.com/

Briquettes Smokehouse

Address: 405 Morton Dr., Ashtabula Harbor, OH 44004

Website: http://www.briquettessmokehouse.com

Harbor Perk Coffeehouse & Roasting Company

Address: 1003 Bridge St., Ashtabula Harbor, OH 44004

Website: http://www.harborperk.com/

Halcyon

Address: 1119 Bridge St., Ashtabula Harbor, OH 44004

Website: https://www.harborhalcyon.com

Fitzgerald’s Wine Bar

Address: 1023 Bridge St., Ashtabula Harbor, OH 44004

Website: http://www.fitzgeraldswine.com

Conneaut:

White Turkey Drive-In (open seasonally, known for their delicious root beer floats)

Address: 388 East Main Street (Route 20), Conneaut, OH 44030

Website: http://www.whiteturkey.com

Heavenly Creamery

Address: 264 Sandusky St, Conneaut, OH 44030

Website: https://www.heavenlycreamery.com

Sportsterz Bar & Grill (known for their burgers)

Address: 5422 Lake Rd. E., Geneva-on-the-Lake, OH 44041

Website: http://sportsterzgotl.com

Sparky’s Place

Address: 1001 Broad St., Conneaut, OH 44030

Geneva-on-the-Lake:

Crosswinds Grille at the Lakehouse Inn 

Address: 5653 Lake Rd. East, Geneva-on-the-Lake, OH 44041

Website: http://www.crosswindsgrille.com

Eddie’s Grill (a Geneva-on-the-Lake tradition since 1950, open seasonally, only accepts cash)

Address: 5377 Lake Rd., Geneva-on-the-Lake, OH 44041

Website: http://eddiesgrill.com

Madsen Donuts

Address: 5426 Lake Rd. E., Geneva-on-the-Lake, OH 44041

Website: http://www.madsendonuts.com

Where to Stay in Ashtabula County, Ohio

While day trips in Ohio are fun, there’s plenty of wonderful Ohio wineries to visit and great things to do in Ashtabula County, Ohio to make it a weekend getaway! Although there are plenty accommodation options in Ohio Wine Country, these three are my favorite:

Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake:

Located along the shores of Lake Erie, the Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake is more than a hotel, it’s a resort destination. Offering an array of rooms and suites (many of those with balconies overlooking Lake Erie), on-site Horizons Restaurant & Lounge, conference center, lakefront walking trail, outdoor adventures such as swimming, fishing and kayaking, outdoor rentals (bike, golf cart, snowshoe and ski), Lake Erie Canopy Zipline Tours and a Wine Shuttle to escort you to the region’s best wineries. You’ll find all the comforts of home and lots of adventures to be had at the Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake!

Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake

More details:

Address: 4888 North Broadway (St. Rt. 534), Geneva-on-the-Lake, OH 44041

Website: https://www.thelodgeatgeneva.com

The Lakehouse Inn:

With rooms, suites and cottages overlooking Lake Erie, The Lakehouse Inn makes for the perfect retreat for your weekend getaway. Along with cozy accommodations, the property is home to a spa, restaurant and winery.

The Lakehouse Inn

The Spa at The Lakehouse Inn will make your stay in Ohio Wine Country even more relaxing. The full-service spa offers massages, facials, body treatments and nail care for the ultimate day of pampering.

Crosswinds Grille features Farm to Table cuisine with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Savor every delicious bite, your palate with thank you! Accompany your meal with a wine from the Lakehouse Inn Winery, the on-site winery produces hand crafted, small batch Ohio wines.

Crosswinds Grille at The Lakehouse Inn

More details:

Address: 5653 Lake Rd. East, Geneva-on-the-Lake, OH 44041

Website: https://thelakehouseinn.com

Vineyard Woods:

You’ll immediately feel the tranquility of Vineyard Woods as you drive through ten acres of vineyards to the secluded wooded lot that houses the adorable cottages and luxury villa. Each of the private cottages have the comforts of home with modern amenities. The Vineyard Villa overlooks forty acres of vineyards and has three separate private suites. Each of the villa suites have the same luxurious décor and amenities as the cottages, and the Pinot Noir Suite has two separate bedrooms perfect for a girlfriend’s getaway or two couples traveling together. No matter which cottage or villa suite you stay in, you’ll feel right at home in the heart of Ohio Wine Country.

Vineyard Woods Vineyard Woods

More details:

Address: 740 St. Rt. 534 North (OH-534), Geneva, OH 44041

Website: http://www.vineyardwoods.com

 

 

 

A special thanks to the Ashtabula County Visitors Bureau for a wonderful visit to Ohio Wine Country! I was an invited guest of the Ashtabula County Visitors Bureau. As always on Ohio Girl Travels, opinions are my own.

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