Over the years, I’ve hit pause on drinking wine (or any kind of alcohol for that matter).
In college though, my experiences with wine were as immature as I was (think Boone’s Farm). I didn’t yet appreciate the care and thought that goes into making a fine wine.
I eventually graduated from that cheap brand to moscato, enjoying the sweet droplets as it hit my tongue. I went on long weekends to the Finger Lakes and Chautauqua, soaking up the beautiful wineries in those New York regions.
In those days, I struggled to pick out notes of oak, tobacco or whatever else these skilled winemakers thoughtfully crafted in their cabernets and chardonnays.
But even without a glass of pinot in hand, I have to raise a toast to our area’s winemakers, wineries and vineyards, many of whom we are celebrating in this month’s “Through the Grapevine.”
Northeast Ohio’s weather conditions make growing grapes such as cabernet franc, pinot gris and riesling ideal — and even if there are varieties that might not excel in Ohio’s terroir, local wineries have established partnerships to source the fruit from areas like California, Oregon and even Pennsylvania.
Pair those tasty vinos with a casual, laid-back atmosphere — the live music, bocce ball courts and stunning villas at Gervasi Vineyard in Canton or the knowledgeable staff at the Winery at Chateau Hough (which is right in the heart of Cleveland) — and there’s plenty of reasons to sip (or not sip, in my case).
Sure, we all have our favorite ways of enjoying summer, but the experience of visiting local wineries — many nestled into rolling hills with lakes and ponds — brings me joy, especially after a year of staying close to home. It’s like a mini-vacation: all I need is a nice breeze, a beautiful sunset and plenty of friends to enjoy the fruits of our wineries’ labor.
And I’m sure for many of you, it’s the same. So whether you’re looking to expand your wine collection, dabble in a flight of reds or searching for your next must-have merlot, we hope you drink in this issue. If you need a designated driver, I’m available.