Like the area at the eastern shore of Lake Erie in Lake and Ashtabula Counties, where wineries abound, the central Ohio Lake Erie coastline and Lake Erie Islands offer excellent soil and climate for growing wine grapes. During the summer, the lake keeps the temperature mild while in the winter, the lake and the snow it brings, acts as a blanket to protect crops. Below are just a few of the wineries you'll find in this region of Ohio.
Firelands Winery, located just outside of Sandusky off of Route 2, is the largest winery in Ohio. The company, started in 1880 as Mantey Winery, makes a variety of red, white, and sparkling wines. They have won numerous awards, including the double gold, best of show award at the 2009 Pacific Rim competition for their 2008 Gewurztraminer.
Firelands is open year round (except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day) for tastings and tours.
917 Bardshar Rd
Sandusky, OH 44870-1507
Founded in 1888, Heineman's is a staple for vacationers on South Bass Island and Put-in-Bay. The family-run winery is open from mid-April to late October for tastings and offers tours from early May through September. The only surviving winery of the 17 that once dotted the island, Heineman's is known for its off-dry wines, including award-winning Pink Catawba and Niagara wines. The patio at Heineman's is a delightful place to spend an afternoon on the Lake Erie Islands.
978 Catawba Avenue
Put in Bay, OH 43456
Another Lake Erie Island winery is the popular Kelleys Island Wine Company, founded in 1982. This island winery is housed in a traditional island-style dwelling with a wrap-around porch. The winery's six wines include both whites and reds and the company serves pizza, salads, cheese and meat platters, and a variety of meat and seafood skewers.
Kelleys Island Wine Company
418 Woodford Roadd
Kelleys Island, OH 43438
A sister company to Sandusky's Firelands Winery, Mon Ami has the ambiance of a French country estate. Located on Catawba Island (actually a peninsula) near Port Clinton, Mon Ami features a French restaurant and wine/gift shop. The winery also offers periodic tasting tours of its wine cellar. Founded in 1872, Mon Ami produces a diverse collection of red, white, and sparkling wines, using both French and Lake Erie varietals.
Mon Ami Winery and Historic Winery
3845 E Wine Cellar Road
Port Clinton, Ohio 43452