Tour of Ohio Wines

Cleveland International Wine Festival

Tour of Ohio Wines
April 2nd, 2022 | 3:00pm : $30 / person

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California, Washington, Oregon and New York aren’t the only states that are capable of producing quality vinifera wine. Ohio was the first commercially successful wine producer in the United States in the 1830s. Today, the Ohio wine scene is populated by passionate, skilled grape growers and winemakers. They face natural challenges their California counterparts could never imagine. They persevere yearly to produce national class wines. Yet, Ohio wine consumers defaults to other wines from other places in the world. We’d like to provide a different perspective on Ohio wine. The Finger Lakes of New York enjoys spirited support from New York residents. We’d relish the same support in Ohio! Join winemakers Lauren Fiala, Rich Hill, Eric Cotton, and Joe Juniper as they discuss the challenges and rewards of making wine right here in your backyard!

Laleure Vineyards, Parkman, Ohio-Rich Hill, Owner, Winemaker

Laleure Vineyards has been growing grapes and making wine in Parkman, Ohio for 25 years. Laleure is an estate winery dedicated to producing high quality wines made primarily from vinifera grapes.  Laleure Vineyards is located just above the headwaters of the Grand River where our south facing slope, along with some lake effect climate enables us to grow high quality grapes used to make wines representative of our unique Geauga County terroir. 

The Wines
2016 Pinot Noir
Laleure Pinot is changing as we move towards new winemaking techniques. We continue to strive to maintain a strong presence of fruit, typically bright cherry, currant, and others depending on the year. It is aged in tight grained French oak barrels using a custom toasting profile optimized for the style wine we love. Our 2016 vintage is an excellent pinot, perhaps considered closest to an Oregon style.

2020 Chardonnay

Silver Crest Cellars – Eric Cotton Vineyard Manager, Co-Owner and Co-Winemaker

Located at the edge of the Grand River in Madison, Ohio, Silver Crest Cellars opened in June 2018.Founded by local grape growers, our winery uses grapes from our family vineyards which date back as far as the 1930’s.  We also produce wine from grapes grown by other local wine growers. Together, we grow and make both old-world and new-world wine varieties including Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Dornfelder, and Chardonnay, as well as local, historical varieties and blends. 

The Wines

2018 Dornfelder
The Dornfelder grape is a dark red variety from Germany which is genetically related to Pinot Noir, Blaufränkisch, and Chardonnay. It produces a deep, rich, dry, spicy, fruit-forward red wine with ripe tannins.

2020 Cabernet Franc Rosé
Produced in a darker “Clairet” style, our dry Cabernet Franc Rosé is made from grapes which are crushed and allowed to sit “on the skins” for 24 hours to extract extra flavor and color, then pressed and vinted into a lighter style wine.

Vermilion Valley Vineyards – Joe Juniper Vineyard Manager, Winemaker and Owner

Vermilion Valley Vineyards is an estate winery set into the rural landscape of the Vermilion River Watershed. Celebrating a four part mission: To produce WORLD-CLASS quality wines grown in North Central Ohio, provide a warm and inviting atmosphere where friends and family can gather and explore, to educate and promote SUSTAINABLE building and land use practices, and to view our community through a PHILANTHROPIC lens.

The Wines

2020 Pinot Noir
This will be the first public showing of the 2020 Pinot Noir and we look forward to your response!

2020 Gurner Veltliner
Full, crisp nose, ripe pear and stilton, minerally palate, over-ripe pear, slate, rock, grassy

Pet Nat (pétillant naturel)-En Plein Air
Eccentric crisp nose, strawberry, cidery palate, bright, lively, strawberry, gala apple, cherry juice, soft integrated bubbles

Markko Vineyards – Lauren Fiala Winemaker

In 1968, Arnulf “Arnie” Esterer planted the first Vinifera grapes in Ohio and opened the doors to Markko Vineyard. He, with guidance from Dr. Konstantin Frank, settled on the shores of Lake Erie in Conneaut, Ohio. The weather and soil were the best formula for his vision of producing French-style wine and growing European varietals. Riesling led the way, followed by Chardonnay and it wasn’t long after Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir were added to the 15 acre vineyard. Arnie’s mindset followed the belief that every vine is unique, like a child. From birth through growth, to harvest through fermentation, each vine requires personal attention such as hand picking and pruning. The thoughtfully selected American Oak barrels nurture the juice and allow it to age while developing its own personality.

Markko winegrowers will remain forever committed to creating quality wine from Conneaut and highlighting the beauty that comes with it. We carry Arnie’s wisdom with us. No two seasons are alike, no two vines are alike, and at Markko Vineyard, we will continue to let the wine will speak for itself.

The Wines

2018 Chardonnay
The 2018 vintage is our latest iteration of our soft oak barrel aged Chardonnay.

2017 Cabernet Sauvignon
The 2017 Cabernet is a beautiful ruby color. On the palate, there are notes of dark cherries and plum. There is a herbaceous note to the wine that adds character. Gripping tannins with balanced acidity make this an elegant and refined Cabernet.