By Cynthia Schuster Eakin
Introduce yourself to some of the finest wines Ohio has to offer while enjoying a picture-perfect summer outing.
Sip a little. Relax a little. Find some great food. Vintage Ohio, the state’s original wine festival, is the place to discover new wines and wineries, and a place to find something that matches every palate. Held at the beautiful Lake Metroparks Farmpark in Kirtland, OH, on Aug. 4 and 5, the festival offers viniferas, hybrids, natives, reds, whites, roses, ciders, “fun” wines, “serious” wines, sweet and dry wines and everything in between.
To celebrate Ohio’s fine wines, the two “All that Glitters is Gold” tents in the center of the festival field will showcase one gold wine from each of the 15 gold and double gold wines awarded in the 2023 Ohio Wine Competition. Coordinated by Kent State University’s Ashtabula campus wine program with supervision by the Ohio State extension enologist and funded in part by the Ohio Grape Industries Committee, a subset of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the annual competition is judged by a dozen of the most respected wine judges from around the country.
Other specialty tents include the wine mixology tent, featuring cocktails created with festival wines, a hot new trend in wine appreciation. Tom Baker will be on hand in the Schott Zwiesel tent to talk about the difference great glasses make when serving wine. Regional wine authority and home winemaker with a mountain of amateur wine medals to his credit, Joe Hoover will be at the festival to help you launch your own home winemaking projects.
The cooking demonstration tent returns to Vintage Ohio. Led by Chef Lisa Pucci Delgado, now in her ninth year with the festival, the 2023 team of chefs includes Fred Stoldt, of Cleveland’s own hot sauce Fred Hot, Mark and Selene Gomez, celebrity chefs from Texas, and Mike McCourt, Blackstone Griddle ambassador. Each chef will present a unique menu item paired with wine from the festival field.
Delgado, a brand ambassador to a dozen companies, will be using products like Traeger grills, B and B charcoal, Tuxton China, Gunter Wilhelm Knives and Duck Fat Spray as part of her presentations. One of the region’s premier personal chefs and a barbecue pitmaster, she has appeared on Celebrity Chef, Food Network’s Chopped and on FOX News.
Stoldt, known as “Fred Hot,” will add humor to his presentation while featuring his own blended hot sauces and spice blends.
McCourt served in the army as a helicopter crew chief before becoming a student of all styles of cuisine. That passion led him to become a part of the Blackstone Griddle crew. He shares information about outdoor cooking on Mile’s Mess Hall social platforms.
Chefs Mark and Selene Gomez appear often on Univision, the Spanish television network. Mark Gomez has cooked for more than 70 well-known celebrities as well as two presidents.
“In addition to organizing the culinary demonstration pavilion and bringing in chefs from around the country, I arrange for top-of-the-line and big-name companies to sponsor our pavilion by featuring so many wonderful giveaways between each demonstration for the audience to take home,” Delgado noted. “We have given away Blackstone griddles, Big Green Egg grills, and many other beautiful prizes along with many smaller prizes that will enhance your culinary kitchen.” This year’s pavilion sponsors are Gunther Williams premium cutlery, Drouins woodworking cutting boards and trivets, Russell’s BBQ rubs and spices, Duck Fat Spray Company, MarDonaSpecialty Imports olive oils and vinegars, Snowville Creamery and Trices Spices. The cooking demonstration menu will be listed on Chef Delgado’s website, www.cheflisapuccidelgado.com, and on social media platforms prior to Vintage Ohio.
Many Ohio wineries have added ciders and craft brews to their beverage list. Vintage Ohio has recognized the interest among connoisseurs of craft beverages of every type by adding beers brewed by area wineries to the festival field. For an additional purchase price, brews from three wineries will be available. Ohio law does not allow beer and wine in the same designated area under the festival permit. Featured wineries include: Double Wing Brewing Company, housed adjacent to Debonne Vineyards in Madison, OH; Maize Valley Craft Brewery at Maize Valley Winery in Hartville, OH; and The Pine Lake Brewing Company in Columbiana, OH, the home of the Pine Lake Winery, restaurant and event center. Go to www.visitvintageohio.com/breweries for a list of craft beers to be offered.
Vintage Ohio will also feature dozens of gourmet food vendors and unique crafters. Live music can be heard all throughout the day at the festival. Attendees who want to make Vintage Ohio a wine getaway weekend can find lodging at the Lodge at Geneva on the Lake or at one of several nearby Lake County inns. There are more than 50 wineries to explore within an hour’s drive of Vintage Ohio.
Tickets to the Vintage Ohio festival are $37 in advance for adult samplers or $42 at the gate. Admission for non-drinkers, or for those under age, is $10. Tickets for children ages four to 17 are $4. Children three and under get in free. Groups of 10 or more can get discounted tickets by calling 440-466-4417. Go to www.visitvintageohio.com for additional festival information.
Enjoy the best of summer at Vintage Ohio wine festival
By Cynthia Schuster Eakin