Old Firehouse Winery ferments more than 20 full-flavored vinos along the glistening shores of Lake Erie. Diners can admire the dining room with its shelves of glossy wine bottles to the gently lapping lake. Visitors can opt to purchase sweet and dry wine tastings ($1 for two tasting trays), which each include 10 samples of single-grape and blended varietals. After sampling the full range of sweet and juicy concords to dry and full-bodied chambourcins, duos can imagine how each exquisite vintage would look inside their souvenir wine glasses and how advantageous the imprinted corkscrews would be during a close-range jousting match. In the warmer months, patrons can swill, sniff, and sip from a romantic lakeside overlook on the outdoor tasting patio and supplement the winery outing with a ride on a historic ferris wheel.
Drinkers can get their fill of fine, fermented libations at The Barrel Room, where guests meet more than 20 wines by the glass, an assortment of imported and domestic beers, and noshables that soak up the stomach's liquidy contents to make room for more. A sip of Norton malbec will excite tongues with a mildly berryish, tongue-smoothening Argentine flavor ($5), and Australia's Red Bank pinot grigio entices nostrils with floral, herbal, and pear notes ($7) while friending palates with its fruity mouthtaste. Malted options include Dogfish Head's 90-Minute IPA ($6.50) and Delirium Tremens, a Belgian pale ale that's often prescribed by non-licensed psychiatrists as a remedy for madness ($6). Three-part wine flights are available every night in red- or white-hued trios ($8–$10).
Carnage in the Corn at Maize Valley Market and Winery is a six-acre corn maze full of twists, turns, and frightful sensory escapades. A vast growth of corn sorghum, field corn, and forest paths create a seasonal labyrinth that will have your blood developing goose-bumps as you turn each corner in unknowing darkness. Carnage in the Corn employs no actors or gross-out techniques lifted from such horror films as Man, Blood, There's Blood, Man; the unknown nature of the maze and the darkness are all that it takes to strike terror in participants of this sprawling center of the spooky. The maze is designed for kids of all ages, within reason, as actual babies are likely to go feral if exposed to fresh air and cornstalks for more than a few minutes at a time.
For four generations, the same family has tilled the soil beneath the grape vines that thrive at Barrel Run Crossing Winery and Vineyard. Originally used to grow grain, hay, soybeans, and wheat, the land saw its first vines in 2006, and grapes have been planted each subsequent year. Now totaling 10 acres, up to eight grape varietals flourish on the land. The result of these planting efforts is a host of handcrafted wines and ciders, including 2012 Ohio Wine Competition award winners Tipsy Conductor and Engine Number 5. All of Barrel Run Crossing’s wines are available for sampling in the spacious tasting room and for purchase by the thimble, glass, or bottle.
From first sip to final swallow, Abruzzo's bottles all things vino and malted barley and hops into one convenient location, including bottling supplies and at-home wine- and beer-making equipment. Guzzlers can build a twisting tapestry of bitter tastes with the Brewer’s Best equipment kit (a $67.38 value), which includes every tool necessary for concocting barley imbibables––including a home beer-making book and a 6.5-gallon fermenter, perfect for filling party goblets and 6.5-gallon stomachs. Each kit also includes a beer ingredient pack in one of seven flavors (starting at $29.70), including Brewer’s Best American cream ale, American light, English brown ale, English bitter, Scottish ale, Irish red ale, or Bavarian kölsch.
The family of vintners at The Grape and Granary have concocted vinos for years, and their ancillary enthusiasms for beer brewing and other DIY drinks have led to some one-of-a-kind grape distillates. The Grape and Granary’s specialty Jalapeno Pepper wine ($12.95) saunters across the palate's runway and leaves behind sweet and spicy smoke trails. This particular semi-dry white—sold only in Ohio by buckeye-flavored salesmen—pairs well with piquant cuisines and tabasco-flavored frozen yogurt. A jalapeño pepper luxuriates in every bottle. The Grape and Granary also culls dry wines from grapes born, raised, and mostly educated in California’s Central Valley such as the dry red 2009 Renaissance Wine Cellars merlot ($12.99), which boasts a light body with dry, fruity tones in hot pursuit.