|The Drive: Geneva-On-The-Lake, Ohio
Quite a Fest: Take in some music on the lawn at Debonne Vineyards on Saturday, Sept. 15 for the inaugural Rompas Bacchanalia Harvest Mardi Gras Folk Festival. www.debonne.com
With more than 20 options, Northeast Ohio is a hotbed for wineries. The area has more per square mile than any other region in the state. Enlist the help of Ohio Vine Tours, an organization that customizes estate-only winery tours for groups of any size. They’ll arrange lodging and cart your crew around so you can be worry-free.
Begin at Debonne Vineyards, Ohio’s largest estate winery, with a lazy afternoon in the expansive outdoor amphitheater listening to some live tunes and gabbing with friends. Order tasting trays ($5) to share, or grab a bottle of crisp, sweet Raspberry Riesling.
Head next to South River Vineyard, 20-plus acres of vineyards that could fit as well in the California countryside as they do in Geneva. The restored 110-year-old Victorian chapel stands at the front of a lush setting complete with an outdoor stone fireplace.
At Virant Family Winery, you can pair pleasing blends with a hearty barbecue dinner: steak, chicken or ribs straight from the grill. There’s no need to act refined here, it’s all about getting loud and having a good time. Throw some coins in the jukebox for good measure.
End with Chambourcin, a dry red wine with hints of cherry, at the rustic Old Mill Winery. The pace picks up inside the historic mill, where a live band (and all that wine) will stir you to dance the night away. (440) 576-4588, www.ohiovinetours.com