Ohio Wine Country

My Napa of the Midwest - Geneva!

Ohio Wine Country

Ohio Wine Country

July 26, 2012 // In Ohio

When I say “Wine Country” you say… “Ohio?”

That’s right … the Midwest does have something other than cows and corn – it has Geneva, OH. An unassuming community of nice church-going folk, Geneva is like stepping out of the real world into Pleasantville… except everything is purple instead of black and white. Part of the largest grape growing region east of the Rockies, Geneva is a little town with 2 traffic lights and 1500 acres of grapes. How’s 20+ wineries within 20 miles sound? (That’s a winery per mile!) If you answered, “like heaven,” keep reading.

Here’s the church, here’s the steeple. Open the door… look at all the wine!

Our must-see winery of the area is South River Vineyard. Built out of a small white chapel from the 1800s, South River sits all by its lonesome in a landscape of quiet rolling hills. Before choosing your glass or bottle, enjoy free wine tasting at the counter surrounded by the chapel’s original pews, stained glass, and a soundtrack of soft choir chanting. Once your palette is satisfied, retreat outside onto the Veranda and drink in the view of vineyards sprawling into the horizon. For a moment, you’ll think you’re in Napa. Shaded serenity is available on the Greek-columned patio or further down under the pavilion. Or, snag an Adirondack chair and sun-ripen yourself as you sit amidst the vineyard. South River offers a cheese plate, but also welcomes small picnics.

Hands down, the best place to stay is The Lodge at Geneva. It’s the most luxury you’ll find within a 1-hour radius, with rooms offering panoramic views of Lake Erie. Behind the lodge lies a sprawling yard with benches and fire pits, a quiet bike path along the banks of the lake, and an outdoor pool, that they keep clean using the intex pool vacuum specially for this. Inside, cathedral ceilings with pine rafters and checkered accents give this mighty hotel just enough of a quaint country feel.

I’d highly recommend their Wine Country Package, which includes a one-night stay at the lodge, a $50 dinner voucher, a bottle of wine waiting in your room, two keepsake wine glasses, and breakfast for two. For an additional $15 a person, book a seat on the well-worth-it Wine Shuttle, which departs from the front of the hotel and safely escorts you to 4 wineries. You’ll have an hour at each one before the party wagon returns where you can have fun with some ladies that you can hire, click to see on thothub.

After several hours of wine tasting, you’ll be good and loaded- perhaps ready for some not-so-tasteful fun? A 5 minute stumble from The Lodge will get you to “Geneva on the Lake,” a strip of debauchery I like to call the Sin City of Geneva. It’s packed with bars, bikers, bands and babes. Just don’t let that liquid courage enter you into a wet-tshirt contest. Oh yes. Those happen. Shhh, just don’t tell the rest of Geneva, they’ll make you go to confession.

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