As a backup quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bruce Gradkowski often has his hands full training and running drills. Whenever he gets a chance, though, he heads back to Toledo?where he first made his name as starting QB for the Toledo Rockets?to visit the restaurant he opened at the edge of campus. Echoing Gradkowski's love of his adopted hometown, the menu overflows with dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, such as the salmon filet, praised by the Toldeo Blade for its "light coating of salty parmesan cheese crust ? cooked perfectly and served with a compound butter that added to the richness of the dish."
A collection of wines ranging from dry to sweet fill bottles at D&D Smith Winery, alongside other eclectic beverages. Visitors to the cozy tasting room can savor fermented teas, raspberry wine, or the winery's first estate wine, the light, peachy Frontenac Gris. The winery also hosts comedy shows, live music, and other events in addition to serving up appetizers and other snacks that complement its offerings.
St. Julian is Michigan’s oldest, largest and most awarded winery. This family-owned winery, founded by Mariano Meconi in 1921, is nestled in the picturesque fruit-growing region along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. Today, grandson, David Braganini, has adopted the family tradition of wine making.
Hannah and Gord Mitchell purchased their 52-acre farm more than 40 years ago, dreaming of slowly transforming the property into a winery. But their careers took them away from their homestead for a while, so it wasn't until 1991 that they first successfully established vines on their land. Yet when they did, the soil and plants got on well and the Mitchells soon found themselves with 35 acres of noble grape varieties, including chardonnay, pinot noir, and cabernet sauvignon. Both their fruit and budget ripened, and in 2003 they finally began to build their own wine-making facilities. At the top of the list? A barrel-aging cellar and a 6,700-square-foot event patio.
Today, the winery holds regular property tours and tastings for visitors who want to try Sprucewood's wines. Situated along the shores of Lake Erie, the grounds also make a stunning venue for weddings and more casual picnics on the shore, many of which are regularly hosted by the Mitchells themselves.
When Colio Estate Winery opened in 1980, they were the first winery in the area to seek a license since prohibition was lifted. This is surprising, since these vineyards lie on the same latitude as famed wine regions in northern California and Tuscany, Italy, which indicates that the regions could have similar growing climates. The area also boasts lush, fertile soil and a growing season longer than most of Canada, making it a favorable place to ripen grapes.
Today, Colio Estate Winery produces more than 400,000 cases of wine per year, including big red wines and refreshing whites. Knowing collaboration is key in the winemaking process, winemaker Lawrence Buhler and vineyard manager Kevin Donohue work in tandem to produce high quality wines in varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Guests at the winery can learn about their process on tours, wander the vineyard, or recline in the outdoor pavilion to enjoy glasses of wine in the open air.