Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mahoning County Wineries

Mastropietro Winery. Photos by OHventures

If there's one adventure I am always up for, it's one that involves wine! So when I went home recently to my hometown of Hubbard, I welcomed with open arms a proposal by my father and aunt to take an impromptu tour of nearby wineries! This meant heading slightly south to Mahoning County where we eventually visited Mastropietro Winery in Berlin Center, Halliday's Winery in Lake Milton, and Myrddin Winery also in Lake Milton.

The first stop on our trip was to Mastropietro Winery (14558 Ellsworth Road, Berlin Center, OH 44401). We were visiting thanks to some word-of-mouth that my Aunt Patty had heard from friends. It was early afternoon on a Saturday, so when we arrived, driving down the rows of grapevines (pictured above), we found that we were the some of the only ones there (another couple nearby drank wine while playing boardgames by the fireplace inside). However, we soon learned that most times, Mastropietro is buzzing with crowds to enjoy live music and food (on Friday and Saturday evenings), private parties, and the fantastic and picturesque lake view outside!

To get our winery tour started on the right foot, we decided to "wine down at the Mastropietro Winery" and split a tasting platter of all 15 wines they had available that day (photo below, taken after we drank all of the white wines). The young girl working there was super helpful in putting together the tasting and was extremely personable. She delivered the platter to us, in which the wines (7 white, 7 red, and 1 rose) were organized in order of sweetest to driest, and had mini descriptions of their flavors printed on the place mat. 

My favorites here were the driest of reds (something I predicted thanks to my wine making experience at Camelot Cellars), including the Red Zinfandel and Valley Red. My aunt really enjoyed the Frontenac Estate Grown, as it had a "jammy" concord grape taste to it, which she really enjoys (as evidenced by the photo below). The sampler was an awesome way to experience all of the wines made right there at Mastropietro, and was extremely affordable at a price of only $7.50!! I also bought a fun snack to accompany our drinks - "whiskey sticks"! The whiskey sticks were pretzels made with spices and, yes, whiskey, and were made in nearby Salem, OH in Columbiana County.

Moving on from Mastropietro, we hopped on the GPS and found Halliday's Winery located just under 15 minutes down the road at 2400 NE Rive Rd, Lake Milton, OH 44429. This winery was situated alongside a golf course, which had dedicated golfers hitting the green even in February! The building had a large burgundy awning donning the name of the winery (pictured below) and a significant number of people inside its large, open interior. Immediately to the right, as we walked in, was a small gift shop that had jams, jellies, chocolates, and other goods for sale that were made especially for Halliday's. My aunt went ahead and bought the "Traffic Jam," which was a jam made out of a countless number of different fruits. 

We saddled up at the bar and immediately ordered a three-wine flight sampler from the bartender. All of us opted for red wine (we like our teeth purple). There was a much smaller selection at Halliday's (3 reds, 3 whites) and we learned that the wine itself was not made on site. The good news is, it is still made in Ohio, up in Geneva in Ashtabula County.

The last stop for us on our tour was a real quick stop to the magical Myrddin Winery, which was just under 10 minutes away at 3020 Scenic Avenue, Lake Milton 44401. This eclectic spot is situated in the midst of the woods and is easy to miss unless you are on the lookout for the blue decorative lights lining the pathway out front (pictured above). Myrddin, which is an Old English spelling of "Merlin", feels like it has taken a page out of Harry Potter with its wizarding theme. Even the wines themselves have names such as Pendragon and Sorcerer's Red. We tried one that tasted vey much like a chocolate Tootsie Roll! 

Even though we stayed at Myrddin for the shortest amount of time, it was definitely our most favorite of the three wineries we visited. The staff (Evelyn, Kristopher, and Gayle) was awesome, and there was even a dog named George there to greet us! My dad bought a bottle of wine to take home, and, as a parting gift, everyone got a fortune cookie to take with us! The patio was beautiful and had a great view of Lake Milton (below). We can't wait to come back in the summer!

Our tour of these three wineries lasted just about 4 hours and was a total blast. Get yourself a designated driver and plan a Mahoning County Winery tour for yourself this spring!

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