by Jane Primerano
Wine tastings are what you expect at a winery, Grand River Cellars includes olive oil tasting for a bit of a surprise. Grand River Cellars is off Madison Road in Madison, Ohio, up a long driveway with leading to a building with as much room on the terraces as indoors.
The front terrace is the smoking deck, the larger side terrace was full on a recent sunny afternoon. Inside are dining rooms, including rooms for private parties. A small gift shop features wine- and grape-themed jewelry and accessories. “Our guests like to find different things, things they can’t get anywhere else,” said Cindy Lindberg, one of the owners. Tastings are from small glasses on a tray. The olive oil comes in tiny cups with bread provided. A bread, cracker and cheese tray is a fine accompaniment. However, Grand Cellars offers a menu of light meals as well. “Most (wineries) have branched out to at least snacks,” Lindberg said. “We have a more extensive menu than most.”
“We are all aware we must be creative and offer something diverse. We all need to figure out our niche,” Lindberg added. “There are so many wineries here and more coming.” The trade magazine of Ohio Wines, Love at First Sip, lists more than 175 wineries in all areas of the state. Many are in the northeast corner between Akron and Cleveland where Ohio is near Pennsylvania and the tiny section of New York that borders the state, not far from Lake Erie. Grand River has on its property another unique feature, the head of the Snow Shoe Trail, which is used for hiking as well as its namesake snow shoeing when weather permits. The winery is decorated with large pots of brilliant flowers in season, Lindberg owns the cellars with Beth and Tony DeBevec, who own and operate Debonné Vineyards, one of Ohio’s most prestigious.
At one point the property was seized for taxes, but the current owners came in and “gave it personality,” according to Lindberg. The Vidal Blanc Ice Wine received Double Gold for Best of the Appalachians, a Gold in the Ohio Wine Competition and Silver in the International Eastern Wine Competition. A popular wine is Cask1013, which is a little more expensive than most of Grand River’s but remains a favorite. Other fine reds include a dry Merlot, the Muddy Paw Cabernet Sauvignon and the Grand Red. Three of their excellent whites are the Muddy Paw Silmillon, the Unoaked Chardonnay and the Pinot Grigio. The olive oils come from Arizona. They include a balsamic vinegar and a white balsamic vinegar, a sundried tomato parmesan and garlic and a rosemary. The cellars are located at 5750 S. Madison Rd (Route 528), Madison, OH. For information firstname.lastname@example.org and the website is www.grandrivercellars.com