Sarah's Vineyard - Wine in Ohio
A Wine Wire Wine Article by Katie Klaben
My mother had been wanting to visit the winery and, with her “wino” daughter in town (as she affection-ately calls me), it was the perfect excuse to go. It wasa sunny Saturday evening when we pulled into the drive, which may have explained the packed parkinglot. However, walking into the restored farmhousewith its 30-foot ceilings, vintage chandeliers, andcollection of local art adorning the walls, I realizedthat this place wasn’t just about the wines, it was about the culture, the history and the atmosphere.
Commissioned by the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Sarah’s Vineyard was chosen among numerous applicants to reestablish smaller-scale agriculture and a sense of community in the valley. In addition to growing and bottling grapes, the winery boasts a large “butterfly” botanical garden, an assortment of deli snacks, a gallery of photos, sculptures and jewelry crafted by local artisans, and art classes for students of all ages. So it is easy to visit the vineyard and focus on something other than the wines, or even skip them completely. Not that I would dare do that.
Although none of the wines impressed my mother or me as outstanding, they were most definitely drinkable and very economical by the glass and bottle. And since the bottles can be recorked and bagged to go, my mother and I were easily convinced into buying a whole bottle. People are welcome to bring their own food, or choose from an incredibly reasonably-priced selection of breads, cheeses, sandwiches and snacks. And with seating for well over 50 inside, and more tables outdoors, it is a comfortable place to relax, admire the art, chat with friends over a glass (or bottle) of wine and even play a few rounds of Bridge, as the older couple sitting next to us did.
In the end, I realized that the allure of Sarah’s Vineyard was not just the wines that were offered, but also the garden, the works of art, the old wooden barn, the community classes and the many guests who came just to sit and relax. I entered the winery thinking it would be just that – another winery. I exited realizing that it was so much more – a historic venue, a local hangout, a classroom – aspects make it worth visiting again.