Behind the Scenes: Northeast Ohio Winery Owners

Get to know Northeast Ohio winemakers and winery owners, as well as their travel tips for visiting the area.

Ohio winery owners share their stories and Northeast Ohio travel tips.

Matt and Tara Meineke, M Cellars

Winemakers Matt and Tara Meineke demonstrate on a daily basis that you can grow cool climate varietals and produce world-class wines. They have turned a hobby into a thriving business, and it has now become their passion.

M Cellars has been a work in progress. The Meinekes, originally high-school sweethearts, have been vintners for a total of 18 years. Their vineyards have been in operation for 11 years, while the winery came four years later. And that’s when they discovered their greatest love: interacting with their guests. The couple enjoys talking with customers and sharing the different facets of growing wine.

Tourist Tip: The Meinekes enjoy taking guests on a wine tour to other wineries in the Grand River Valley.

Brad Indoe, Laurello Vineyards

Is it really a job if you love what you do? Brad Indoe, the winemaker at Laurello Vineyards, fell in love with the process of winemaking after a weekend visit to Napa Valley and the central coast wine area of California. “From beginning to end, I love it all,” he explains. “I am especially fond of the barrel fermentation process.”

Realizing the impact of the growing wine industry in Ohio, Indoe knew he wanted to pursue a career in winemaking. After securing an apprenticeship at a local winery, he went on to get a degree in Enology from Kent State University. Four years later, he’s found himself doing what he loves to do — the handcrafting of wines.

Tourist Tip: Indoe’s favorite place to take guests in the region is “the Harbor District in Ashtabula, for their restaurants.”

Tony Kosicek, Kosicek Vineyards

The challenge of winemaking attracted Tony Kosicek, winemaker for Kosicek Vineyards. “I do what I do because it is a challenge: tending to a vine for 12 months, harvesting the fruit, and transforming the raw product into a quality wine,” he says. His favorite aspect of winemaking is seeing his customers enjoy the fruits of his labor.

As a third-generation grape farmer, Kosicek is considered an expert on grapes. For years his family farm sold grapes to Welch’s. Instead of selling juice for jelly, he now uses it to produce wine, converting the family farm into one of the area’s destination wineries. The winery now grows mostly vinifera grapes and bottles 18 different red and white varietals. Kosicek still grows concord “jelly” grapes. Stop by during harvest and you may be able to taste some off the vine!

Tourist Tip: Kosicek likes to take guests to his wine cellar where they can sample his work in progress.

Nick Ferrante, Ferrante Winery

Nick Ferrante learned early how to make wine from his Italian family. Considered one of the top winemakers in Ohio, he continues to master his craft. If you’re lucky you may get a glimpse of this hard-working, third generation winemaker tending to his vineyards or inspecting the fermentation of the award-winning wines.

His favorite aspect of the winemaking process is when he strolls among the vineyards and checks on the grapes as they ripen, checking for color, taste, and smell. For Ferrante, it’s all about the details when it comes to making wine.

Tourist Tip: Ferrante enjoys taking guests to Ashtabula County’s covered bridges, including Harpersfield and Smolen-Gulf, the longest covered bridge in the U.S.

Categorized Under: Ohio Wine Behind the Scenes