The only thing that could add to the bliss of a tranquil trip to a winery is a great story to go along with your drink. While there is an abundance of wineries in Northeast Ohio for you to swirl around that wine glass, a few family-owned locales stand out among the crowd due to their rich and very present history.
Old Mill Winery: Almost untouched from its construction in 1864, this former mill was turned into a winery in the early ’70s. With grain still occasionally falling from the ceiling, the original trellises, gears and conveyor belts characterize the structure’s charming history. Visitors can enjoy year-round grilling and try the famous wine burger ($10.99) while sipping on a glass of the sweet Grindstone White ($5 per glass) or even a wine slushie. “We did a few improvements as far as cosmetics, but basically, it looks the same as when you walked in years ago,” says owner Eileen Froelich. 403 S. Broadway, Geneva, 440-466-5560, theoldmillwinery.com
Stable Winery: Built in the 1930s, this three-story horse stable turned winery truly lives up to its name. Inspired by its history, the Litwiler family tailored its entire image through the lens of the former racehorses that called it home. Try one of its eight locally sourced wines — made in the original stables — including the best-selling dry red cabernet blend ($8 per glass). “All the original hardware, the doors, the stalls themselves, everything is still down there,” says co-owner Troy Litwiler. “We kind of took that idea and ran with it, so the entire winery is horse themed.” 5961 state Route 7, Andover, 440-965-6900, stablewinery.com
West Main Street Winery: Originally a general store that became a bar for nearly 100 years, this winery is steeped in history that dates back to 1831. Bought by owner Jim Wade in 2015, the property now triples as a winery, brewery and cider house and is home to its best-selling dry red carmenere ($15.99 per bottle). History tours are offered, featuring photographs of the old grocery store, newspaper articles from the 1800s and even a couple ghost stories. “The people in Ravenna are real appreciative that we’re keeping the history alive,” says Wade. “And we get a lot of visitors passing through from all over the country.” 234 W. Main St., Ravenna, 330-839-8042, wmswinery.com