The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

January 27, 2014

County wines bring romance in annual Valentine’s Day tour

Doniella Winchell loves romance, chocolate and wine.

“The combination of all three is perfection,” she said.

Winchell, the executive director of the Ohio Wine Producers Association, is shooting Cupid’s arrows with the Chocolate is for Lovers Wine Trail, an event that brings sweethearts closer together with Ashtabula County’s best vintages.

The event, held over two weekends starting Saturday, leads chocolate and wine lovers to 15 local wineries.

“Each person gets a wine glass and a candy dish at their first winery,” Winchell said. “They travel from winery to winery, sipping wine tastings and gathering divine chocolates at each place. It’s an experience for the senses.”

Hors d'oeuvres with wine pairings will also be available at each winery.

Couples and singles can spread the wine and chocolates out over two weekends, with the event starting on Saturday and Sunday and continuing Feb. 8 and 9.

“I think people get frustrated when it comes to romance,” Winchell said. “They don’t want to stray too far from the traditional Valentine’s Day gifts, but they don’t want their gifts to be trite or contrived, either. The Chocolate is for Lovers Wine Trail is a romantic adventure of sorts, something to do together over the course of a weekend or two.”

“It has all the components of a traditional Valentine’s Day – chocolate, wine and time together – but it is certainly a unique way of giving it!” she said.

Tickets for the wine trail are sold in advance only. Cost is $50 per couple or $40 per single ticket. The wine tour is open from noon to 6 p.m. each day.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 800-227-6972 or visit

Participating wineries include: Benny Vino Urban Winery in Perry, Buccia Vineyards in Conneaut, Debonne Vineyards in Madison, Deer's Leap Winery in Harpersfield Township, Emerine Estates in Cherry Valley, Ferrante Winery & Ristorante in Harpersfield Township, Goddess Wine House in Saybrook Township, Grand River Cellars in Madison, Kosicek Vineyards in Harpersfield Township, Maple Ridge Vineyard in Madison, Old Firehouse Winery in Geneva-on-the-Lake, the Old Mill Winery in Geneva, The Lakehouse Inn and Winery in Geneva-on-the-Lake, Spring Hill Winery in Harpersfield Township, and Virant Family Winery in Harpersfield Township.

“There are wines out there for everyone,” Winchell said, “and Ashtabula and Lake counties certainly have a diverse selection for every palate.”

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