On Ohio's Lake Erie Wine Trail: Firelands 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: Firelands Winery and Vineyard in Sandusky, Ohio
Drive to Cedar Point Amusement Park BUT, just before you take the exit to the Roller Coast Capital of the World, make a turn onto tiny Bardshar Road and into the driveway of Firelands Winery. Originally named Mantey vineyards, the winery has been around since 1880 and growing all their grapes either right there...in the vineyard next to the parking lot or, for the majority, on the tiny North Bass Island just a ferry ride away.
To see the historic winery, you're free to wander around on a self-guided FREE tour. There's the tanks, the bottling room and the temperature-controlled warehouse. If you'd like to stay for a little longer, you can hit up the wine dispensers for a pour and pop a squat in their very nice bar area, complete with chandeliers made of wine bottles.
We're in it for the local varietals, so the Sweet menu was ideal with its Catawbas and Concords. Our tasting of 6 wines progressed in this order: Vin Rose, Delaware, Blue Face Concord, Pink Catawba, Cream Catawba, Blackberry and Dover Cream Concord (the latter our bonus 7th pour). Had we chosen the Dry wines, we would have tasted in this order: Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Merlot, plus whatever bonus pour.
Tasting details: For $3, you taste 6 wines with a bonus 7th of your choice. Chose from either the Firelands label (dry wines) or the Mantey label (sweet wines). Add a tasting of the Firelands Ice Wine for an extra $2.
Our wine pick: the semi-sweet Delaware white, a Niagara grape blend that's soft and golden with rich fruit flavors. Only $6.49/bottle. We also heard the Mellow Concord is excellent, but it was unavailable at our tasting.
Tasting the Ice Wine, made from grapes on the property, then hand-picked, processed, bottled and sold right here.
[Photos: Cynthia Drescher/Jaunted]