HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — The 2021 of the Grand River Valley Ice Wine Trail is underway providing entertainment for wine lovers with an attempt to be as socially conscious as possible.

The festival normally occurs over three weekends in March, but with COVID-19 still providing challenges, the festival has been moved to April and spread throughout the month.

Friday was the second day of the festival and area wineries are happy with the results.

Jan Paden, manager of Ferrante Winery, said the new format has been working out “nicely.” She said the festival is being held on Thursdays in a small serving area, but will be moved to a larger tasting room on the weekends.

“It is still to early to tell,” said South River Vineyard Owner Gene Siegel. He said the decision to change the format during the pandemic was the socially responsible thing to do.

He said March business for the wineries was down, but believes the businesses will benefit as the weather warms. Siegel said there was good foot traffic on Friday.

“We actually had a line for a little while,” he said.

Business was brisk on Friday afternoon at Debonne Vineyards.

“We had 44 people yesterday [Thursday],” said Beth Debevc, co-owner of the winery with her husband Tony.

The sweet nature of ice wine draws many to the area.

“Ice wine is different. It is the dessert,” she said.

The wineries involved are Debonne Vineyards, Laurello Vineyards, CASK Three Oh seven, Ferrante Winery and Ristorante, South River Vineyard and Grand River Cellars. Event times and days of operation are available at each vineyards’ website. The event costs $6 at each winery that includes samples, a souvenir ice wine glass and an appetizer.

One dollar from each ticket will be donated to local food banks.

“This is our first time. The ice wine is delicious,” said Karyn Mazzolini of Mayfield. She said she has lived in northeast Ohio her entire life, but had not been to Ashtabula County.

“There is so much to do. It is a beautiful day and the snow is gone,” she said.

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