WINERIES 

It wouldn't be a Dog Days Wine Tour without our good friends at the wineries. As we have done since our first year, we route our guests to a number of local wineries. This year we are happy to welcome our old friends Matus Winery, Vermilion Valley Vineyards and Redhead Ciderhouse, our new friends from last year D&D Smith Winery and Paper Moon Vineyards, and our first time participants Sandy Ridge Vineyards. Each winery has its own unique atmosphere and styles of wine. We hope you will add them to your places to visit throughout the year and don't forget to tell them the Dog sent you. Remember, you can sample a little, buy all you want for later and we will get it back to the start for you. Our wine runners guarantee nearly everything makes it back unopened…

 

The first winery on all the routes is Matus Winery. As you ride up their drive you will pass by some of their vines, giving you a warm welcome and expectancy of what you will soon experience. In mid-July the vines will be busy growing their grapes and will be young and green. Be sure to take a photo of your bike leaning up against the vines holding next year's wine! Matus also has a lot of other fruits they blend into delicious varieties. Each year Matus comes home from regional winefests with numerous awards and adulations for their products. How many years in a row have they won Best Winery on the Cleveland Hot List? Check out their website for more information on what they have in store for this year.

 

All our routes will be stopping at Vermilion Valley Vineyards this year. The first thing you notice here is the abundant grape vines lining the long paved drive on both sides. This winery opened in 2009 and has already made its name well known in the region. They grow their own vines, including some varieties others won’t tackle. You will enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, while sipping some samples and looking out over the pond, trying to decide if you want to continue riding or call for a cab. Okay, that's never happened yet but we're pretty sure some have considered it briefly. Check out my good friend Gordy, the vineyard’s dog. 

 

The 50, 68 and 100 mile routes get the pleasure of visiting the Redhead Ciderhouse, located inside Burnham Orchards in Berlin Heights. Redhead Ciderhouse opened in 2014 and actually operates under a winery license so we know it's okay to include them on our Wine Tour. Burnham Orchards also houses Grandma Bea's Bakery and we will be happy to drive your pies, pastries and fruit back to the Lodge along with your cider purchases. The Ciderhouse offers alcoholic and non-alcoholic ciders of varying flavors and serving styles (cider slushy anyone?). If Josh is tending bar, make sure you ask him about Coop Dill’ville, made with a cyclist's best friend, pickle juice!

 

We are happy to announce that we have a new winery on the Tour this year. Sandy Ridge Vineyards in Norwalk will be part of our 68 and 100 mile routes. The Sandy Ridge Fruit Farm dates back to the 1950’s and served Huron County for over three decades. While the farm closed in the late 1980’s and transitioned to farmland, it came back in 2018 as a gorgeous winery facility with a focus on community, wine and food. Chef McFadden has three decades of culinary experience and his delectable offerings make this stop one you and your stomach won't soon forget. Oh, and the antique car inside the building offers a great photo opportunity. 


Our century riders get the pleasure of experiencing D&D Smith Winery, our farthest rest stop to the west. The Smith Family started their business in 2008 but they have been making wine for over 30 years. The beautiful historic building has been recently renovated. You are about halfway done with your century ride, so take a few minutes to relax and stretch your legs sitting under the pavilion next to the quiet stream. You can choose from over 30 wines, including numerous award winning wines. One of my favorites is the Due Vino Miscela which won a Double Gold Medal in the 2018 Ohio Wine Competition. I am a dog but I do speak a little Italian and that means Two Blend Wine. Hey all you non-century riders, it is definitely worth a trip to Norwalk to visit D&D Smith Winery. 


After the century riders cycle by Lake Erie, their next stop will be Paper Moon Vineyards. This modern, large winery with open views of their preparation tanks and vats holding wine for future bottlings is located in the historic harbor town of Vermilion, our northern most stop. The winery was named after the song “It’s Only a Paper Moon” and they opened in 2009. Enjoy the cozy cabin feel of the tasting room, with one of their numerous award wining wines while looking out over the vineyard, pond, woods, and the occasional bald eagle. If you are riding a shorter route, make it a point to get out to Vermilion and visit Paper Moon Vineyards.


Enjoy these wineries - they are special to us and really make our Tour something unique. Sample responsibly, eat plenty with any sampling, and visit the wineries again on other special occasions. Remember, you can purchase bottles or even cases and we will have our wine runners bring your purchases back to the Lodge for you to enjoy later.


 

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