Did you know that Ohio has a beautiful, picturesque, lakeside wine country? Well fellow Pittsburgh-area, wine-lovers get your weekend bags packed! We don’t have to board a plane to Napa to immerse ourselves in wine country, its just a short drive away along Lake Erie, Ohio.
The Grand River Valley area of Ohio surprisingly has thriving grape growing conditions. The limestone in the soil apparently helps grape trees flourish. I was recently invited to stay the The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake, and adventure on a wine shuttle bus tour. The winery hopping experience here is quaint and unpretentious, just relaxing and fun!
Read a post covering my lovely stay at the lodge here.
Visitors can hop on one of many wine tour buses to explore the local wineries, a activity great for couples, or a bachelorette weekend. My bus was hosted by the lodge, joining me was a mix of retired couples and a rowdy bachelorette party (so be warned, you may have a lively bunch along for the ride haha). Expect to pay for wine samples, as giving away alcohol in Ohio for free/as complimentary is apparently illegal.
Our route’s first stop was Kosicek Vineyards a family-owned 3rd generation vineyard. The setting here truly feels like you’re in a wine region with the tasting room set back on land surrounded by rows of grape trees. The tasting room has both indoor and outdoor seating and games. I loved the fun wine-bottle chandelier and light fixtures across the interior.
The wine samples at Kosicek are $1 each, $3 for the ice wines. I sampled all of their sweet varietals (of course), really enjoying the Dam Red. I took a bottle home with me for only $10! I also enjoyed a local cheese plate, sustenance is important when you’ve got a long of wine drinking ahead 🙂
The second winery stop was to the Debonne Vineyard. Debonne is very popular, as its the largest estate winery in the region with 175 acres of grapes. There’s also a micro-brewery onsite, which is great if there’s any beer drinkers in your group. The place is more casual than I was expecting for a winery, but there’s plenty of outdoor seating, food options and a live band.
At Debonne a choice of several tasting trays are available for $10.00 each (Premium $12.00) and include a souvenir glass, bottled water, crackers and almonds or chocolate. Each tray contains your choice of 6 to 8 different wines. Individual wine samples are $1.00 and Ice Wine and Cask samples are $2.00.
I really enjoyed the wines here, they had so many fruit and sweet options. My tasting tray the “Sweet Wine Selection,” included their Vidal Blanc, Moscato-Riesling, Classic Rosé, White Catawba, Pink Catawba, Peach Tree Grigio, Strawberry Rosé, Blueberry Noir. I couldn’t decide what was my favorite. I ended up purchasing a bottle of the Moscato-Riesling and the Peach Tree Grigio, but I also really loved the Catawba varieties.
Next on our tour was a stop at the beautiful Laurentia winery. This is a very upscale winery. The tasting room is beautiful set on a small lake with beautiful landscaping. The fine finishings throughout the interior create a stately vibe. The wine list is smaller here, with no sweet or fruit options. They have whats called a “wine club” which is basically an exclusivity thing, giving more options to those that are members (like at a golf club). This would be a beautiful spot for wedding. The space reminds me a bit of my favorite Canton, Ohio winery Gervasi.
I sat outside on the stone porch and enjoyed sampled the 2016 Estate Riesling, and the 2016 Estate Gewurztraminer (I think they were $2 each). I didn’t like either, but did enjoy the flatbread I ordered. The overall vibe here is definitely different than the more low-key, fun stops previously on the tour. I enjoyed relaxing by the lake, but would have liked more choice in wine options.
The final stop on our tour was to Ferrante Winery and Ristorante. This was the biggest spot we visited, as far as size and amount of people. The wine sample trays were really fun, with plenty of fruit and sweet wines to sample. I tried the “Specialty Wine” tray with, Holiday Blush, Celebration Spice, Raspberry Blanc, Cranberry Blanc, Blueberry Blanc, 2016 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine, Sparkling Riesling and Sparkling Raspberry Blanc.
There’s a full restaurant on the property which I didn’t get to try, but heard was good. The outdoor space has a live band and a fountain. At this point in the day, the clouds had cleared and the sun was out, so I ended my wine tour with a citrus sangria.
If you love wine, or love fun I would suggest trying hoping on a wine tour in the Grand River Valley region of Ohio, aka wine country! Let me know if you’re going, I might (most definitely) want to tag along 😉
Have you noticed all the fun beauty products I’ve been trying out lately thought my Instagram posts? I’ve been indulging in lush and fun products courtesy of freebies sent to me from Influenster. Are you wondering how to get your own free full size products from Influenster? Well I’m here to share the scoop! P.S. ITS FUN!
So Influenster – What’s that?
Influenster is a community to discover new products and to read honest reviews about popular products authored by users sharing their honest product experiences. The vocal community is also post photos, sharing videos, writing articles covering what they experience when they’re testing. You can access the vast community through the website or through the simple app.
What is a VoxBox?
A VoxBox is a box of free, often full-size products that Influenster delivers directly to its active members for testing purposes. These are products you actually want to try out by some of the biggest brands! I’ve received makeup and beauty indulgences from Dior, Ciate London and Origins just to name a few desirable brands. It’s truly exciting to get the email notification that you’ve qualified for a box! I usually love the products, so I find it fun to share my enjoyable experience through reviews.
The program works through brands looking to Influenster members to provide honest feedback and share authentic experiences on social media.
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My latest gift was the #IconicVoxBox ! This VoxBox is full of finds to help you unlock your inner icon, with a little help from Origins, Patchology, St Moriz, Hope Fragrances, Go Smile Whitening and Velour Lashes! Check out these Instagram posts to see my reactions to the products.
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I received the product(s) shown complimentary for testing!
This past week I had the pleasure of dining at Pittsburgh’s most exciting new restaurant Poulet Bleu, a charming french bistro. I was lucky to get a random open reservation for 7:45 on a Thursday. This new spot is booked for months out, for many good reasons!
The location is beautiful inside and out. To start, guests enter through a beautiful open courtyard with french music playing, a fountain, and yellow stripped awnings.
The entrance area features a long bar. I loved the touches of gold and the antiqued mirrors in the bar space. Tip: its first come first serve, you can order a full meal and its empty on Pens game nights.
I know I keep using the term charming, but the design and decor truly brings this small spot to life. I love the gold light fixtures, blue hues and white marble throughout. The bathroom houses my dream sink + faucet, and there’s many beautiful mirrors framed in flourishes throughout the space.
It’s so unique that the kitchen is in the center of the dining space. I couldn’t stop staring at the chefs preparing food in the open kitchen. Next visit I want to sit right at the island up close for the show.
We enjoyed a few starters or “petit plats.” Including the french onion soup made with braised oxtail, cognac veal stock and emmental, gruyere cheeses. The best part is the floating bread smothered with cheese and crisped flowing over the edges of the bowl. Definitely rich and could be a meal in itself. Also enjoyed the mussels in a creamy sauce with fennel, garlic, white wine and fresh herbs.
For a main dish we shared a 12oz prime NY strip paired with cognanc pepper sauce and pommes frites. Steak and french fries are already a great combination, but at Poulet Bleu this was an extra special treat. I really enjoyed the tender steak and the flavorful red wine caramelized onions it was served with. The super skinny frites were delicious, crispy and salty.
For dessert we indulged in the already famous chocolate souffle. It’s a fun pouf of chocolate served with accompaniments banana ice cream, cherry compote, candied pineapple, chocolate sauce, and a delicious creme anglaise.
Cheers to exploring another unique dining spot in Pittsburgh! I can’t wait to return to Poulet Bleu! I’ve already made a lists of things to try, like the cheese plate and the Parisienne gnocchi.
My grainy iPhone pics don’t do this place any justice, I would encourage you to check out these professional pictures by Adam Milliron in the Eater review.