John Christ Winery
John Christ Winery’s patio and bar feel as welcoming as the picnic tables at a good friend’s house. Its wine list helpfully denotes dry through ultra sweet for each wine. Its Special Blend is a signature combination of Concord and Niagara.
Don’t Miss: See what the stars have in store for you at one of the winery’s most popular events, the psychic fairs, which include palm readings, tarot cards and more.
Food Service? No, but guests are welcome to bring their own meals — many regulars order pizza to pair with their drinks. The winery hosts occasional steak cookouts, seafood grills and clambakes during the summer and fall.
32421 Walker Road, Avon Lake, 440-933-9672, johnchristwine.com
Klingshirn Winery Inc.
Klingshirn Winery is a third-generation, family-owned winery. Instead of dividing its listings into red and white, you’ll find Premiums and Labruscas, which are made from Vitis labrusca grapes. 2010 was a very good year for Klingshirn — three of its Premiums and three Labruscas medaled in the Ohio Wine Competition.
Don’t Miss: You can order custom-made labels for bottles to give as gifts. Examples are available online, and the folks at the winery will be happy to help you through the process.
Food Service? No. It offers one catered meal per year, and the Retail Room lets you sample wines for a fee.
33050 Webber Road, Avon Lake, 440-933-6666, klingshirnwine.com
This picturesque, 75-year-old family farm knows how to throw a party, offering a variety of entertainment. Matus Winery’s Outback is an award-winning dessert wine, blended from local elderberries and blackberries. Or, if you like red, try Martin’s American Concord, named for the owners’ Uncle Marty, who planted the concord grapes more than a half-century ago.
Don’t Miss: The rustic barn on the property is available for rental — talk about a picture-perfect wedding!
Food Service? No. But feel free to bring your own food to enjoy with your wine.
15674 Gore Orphanage Road, Wakeman, 440-774-9463, matuswinery.us
Paper Moon Vineyards
Paper Moon’s five acres of vineyards were planted in 2008 and are nearly mature, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, its award-winning wines are homemade from local grapes and a few from other states. Its popular Niagara wine is a sweet white made from local grapes, and the sweet Honeymoon Mead is made with local honey.
Don’t Miss: Live music on Fridays and Saturdays allow wine-lovers to enjoy the 50-acre vineyard.
Food Service? Yes. A limited menu includes flat breads, paninis, soups and other appetizer-type offerings.
2008 State Road, Vermilion, 440-967-2500, papermoonvineyards.com
Guide to Grapes
A varietal is a wine produced from a single grape. Varietals are named for that variety of grape. Wines created from two or more varietals are known as blends.
Labrusca grapes. These are also known as “Native American” grapes. Only about 1 percent of wines worldwide are made from these, which grow primarily in the northeastern U.S. and Canada.
Catawba, concord and Niagara. These are the three varieties of Labrusca grapes you’re most likely to find in these Lorain County wineries, although Ives and Delaware varieties may be grown as well.