Monthly Archives: January 2011

My First Wine Adventure

It’s no secret that economic conditions have recently had a negative impact on businesses.  Blogger K.O. on GTS “Franchise Success” News wrote people are still “drinking like fish” even in this economy.  The difference?  K.O. said people are drinking like fish at home and with cheaper bottles of booze.

This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a nice dinner and an alcoholic beverage at a moderate price every now and then!  It just means you might have to look outside your box.  Step out of your comfort zone and go to new places and try new things.  Be adventurous!

Try This.

Ohio Winery - Grand River Cellars

Photo courtesy of Grand River Cellars

I made the trip  to Grand River Cellars, located in the Northeast Ohio town of Madison, part of Ohio’s wine country, for this post.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  It only took a few seconds in the drive surrounded by vines to feel the relaxed vibe enveloping Grand River Cellars.

It was hard to gauge the best part of the experience.  The wine was second, only to the amazing service.  I tried the semi-sweet to sweet wine sampler for $6.  My favorite was the Vidal Blanc Ice Wine.  This was the first time I tried it and it tasted just like honey!  The grapes for this wine were actually picked only a few weeks ago.

The Vidal Blanc Ice Wine has won a double gold medal in the Best-of-Appellation Wine Competition, a gold medal in the Ohio Wine Competition and a silver medal in the International Eastern Wine Competition.

The food was equally astonishing!  I had a 10-ounce sirloin strip steak with a vegetable medley, skin-on redskin mashed potatoes, a pretty big salad and a roll.  The menu is full of an array of choices for every budget.

The atmosphere was joyful and homelike, providing the perfect location for friends and family to enjoy one another’s company.

Medals for the numerous award-winning wines inundated the bar, and trinkets for sale lined the walls.

I was greeted by a friendly hostess and escorted to a table near the bar.  To my surprise, Grand River Cellars president and owner Cindy Lindberg took a few moments out of her obviously busy Saturday night to speak with me…a bonus I didn’t expect!

Grand River Cellars, Ohio Winery, Ohio Wine

Grand River Cellars owner Cindy Lindberg (right) and me

Lindberg was excited to speak with me, partly because she is a Kent State grad, but mostly because I told her I was going to write this blog post.  Her enthusiasm and passion for this winery she acquired five years ago was contagious.

Give Back.

I was most impressed with the fact that Lindberg is a former school psychologist turned business owner.  And part of being a good business owner is social responsibility.

Lindberg found a way to incorporate her love for children into her new business endeavor.  She and a friend started the charity, Northeast Ohio Autism Group, to benefit local schools, programs and services that help care for people with autism.

What makes this so impressive?  The winery blends and corks two types of wine for the sole purpose of contributing to this cause.  A portion of the sales from the bottles of Austin’s White and Austin’s Red wines go directly to the charity.  Between $3,500 and $5,000 are donated each year through sales and donations.  Children even get to design the wine label.

“Even though the economy is down, alcohol is still surviving,” Lindberg said. “It’s important to give back.  Those suffering with the disease are the real victims.”

What am I trying to tell you here?  First, social responsibility is key to running a business.  Second, these bottles of wine cost between $13 and $15 per bottle – a small price to pay to help someone with autism.

Give Back.  Animal Style.

Not only does Grand River Cellars support a cause for humans, but it also supports an animal cause. Being a dog lover, I thought this was worth noting.

Winemaker Ed Trebets had the idea to create another wine label and send proceeds from those sales to Geauga Humane Society’s Rescue Village.

The wines are called Muddy Paw Wines and come in a white and a red.  The white is a Semillon and the red is a Cabernet Sauvignon.  They can be purchased locally or online.

The Point.

I get that people are hurting for cash these days.  Trust me, I’m in college.   Treat yourself to a nice night out once in a while to stay sane!  Better yet, support local businesses that practice social responsibility.  Why?  Because you’re doing two good things at once that way, that’s why!  The booze shouldn’t be the only reason you’re warm and fuzzy inside.