On Ohio's Lake Erie Wine Trail: Put-in-Bay Winery
Everybody knows the Wine Trails of Napa/Sonoma, Argentina, the Loire Valley and, more recently, NY's Hudson Valley, but this week it's all about Ohio. Yes, Ohio has winerieslots of 'em actuallyand we'll be sharing our favorites with you.
Today: Put-in-Bay Winery in the town of Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island, Ohio
Perhaps the newest winery of all in the area, Put-in-Bay winery only opened in 2009 but at least took over a vintage Victorian mansion on prime waterfront property to make its mark. WIthout a history like Heineman's has, PIB decided to focus their energy on becoming a pretty place for drinking wineget the tourists that way.
The first floor of the Italianate complex is given over to a few rooms of tables for indoor tastings, plus a retail store and tasting bar. Head out back to a gazebo and massive park, or out front to the porch and front yard that looks over toward Put-in-Bay harbor, the tiny Gibraltar Island and the towering Perry's Victory Monument. We ordered up our wines, took 'em to the porch and played a game of checkers while enjoying the lake breeze. Cheap, easy and absolutely idyllic.
Tasting details: You have options here: do one of the three daily tasting flight specials, or just pay per taste of whichever wines strike your fancy. Prices vary for the latter, but $2.50 each is average and this is the option we chose. On the day we visited, the three tasting flights were: Put-in-Bay Winery wines (flight of 4 for $9); Pelee Island wines (flight of 4 for $10); and west coast wines (flight of 4 for $12).
Our wine pick: While their own label "Celebration" sparkling wine was quite tasty, it's made with Californian grapes and we didn't come all the way out to this Lake Erie winemaking island to taste something made half a country away. Nope.
Luckily we tried a few others and settled on the Gamay Noir from Pelee Island Winery as our favorite. Pelee is another Lake Erie island that makes wine, and though you can see it on the horizon from Put-in-Bay, Pelee is over the property line dividing the US and Canada. Its claim to fame: Canada's southernmost winery.
[Photos: Cynthia Drescher/Jaunted]