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Lakehouse Inn and Winery
Kathy Sullivan

Lakehouse Inn and WinerySummary: Lake House Inn and Winery is located at the edge of Lake Erie, one of the nation’s beautiful Great Lakes. The complex is a renovated 1940s lodge with a tasting room in the restaurant with beautiful gardens located close to the restaurant and lodge. The new winery facility is located just a few miles away from the inn and restaurant.

Lake House Inn was built in the 1940s and purchased by the current owners in 2000. Today the winery is owned and operated by the Fagnelli family with each member of the family having their own department. At the time of the purchase, Sam and Karen Fagnelli called their daughter Andrea who was graduating from college and asked if she wanted to participate in a Bed and Breakfast. Almost without hesitation Andrea agreed to be part of the enterprise. Nathan, their son and a professional chef, agreed to use his skills in the kitchen and now has the onsite Crosswinds Grille restaurant.

Lakehouse Inn and WinerySince purchasing the property, the family has renovated all of the rooms including enlarging some of the rooms and adding private baths. Karen noted that there is still a feeling of the 1940s era but most travelers use the rooms for sleeping since they are usually out and about exploring and enjoying the region. A porch and a beach house has also been added to the property. The main floor of the lodge offers a relaxing ambiance to gather with others during their stay. Currently the Lake House Inn and Winery has eight rooms, a jacuzzi suite with a beach house rental. In 2012 the Fagnellis purchased a day spa located just across the road from the lodge.

The family started out with enthusiasm but hopes were dashed when during their first November in operation they only had one guest. That month told them they needed to change business strategies. The director of the Ohio Wineries Association said, “Sam, why don’t you start making wine?” The family’s answer was to begin producing wine in 2002. The decision to produce wine was based on the idea of guests sitting, relaxing on the patios, enjoying a glass of wine, and watching the sunset over Lake Erie. While we talked with Andrea, she noted that, “Wine ties everything together.”


Lakehouse Inn and WineryWinery

The winery is now located a few short miles away in a warehouse. Sam is the winemaker. The site has plenty of room for increasing production. Future plans include adding vineyards near the facility. Sam noted that the land around the building has not been used for other types of agriculture and he expects the vineyards will provide high quality grapes. In 2015 the winery production area has three vintages of reds and two vintages of white wines.


Lakehouse Inn and WineryCrosswinds Grille Restaurant

The onsite Crosswinds Grille restaurant opened in 2012 and focuses on a Farm to Table menu. Now the restaurant is 80% farm to table. Nathan originally went to culinary school to learn his trade. Today he likes working with local farmers. In addition to creating menu items, Nathan has added his skills as a butcher and also smokes meat. To the side of the restaurant there is a tasting bar. Wine enthusiasts can sit at the bar and taste the Lake House Winery wines.

Lakehouse Wines

Lakehouse has two labels for their wines. The Lakehouse Inn label features a dry portfolio while the Rocky label emphasizes their sweet wine portfolio. Riesling is the most popular wine.
Chardonnay 2013, Grand River Valley, was a yellow colored wine. The aroma and taste were of green apple. The mouthfeel was smooth. The finish was crisp with green apple and some citrus. Riesling Grand River Valley 2013 was a semi-dry wine with five grams per liter of residual sugar. This light yellow wine had an aroma and taste of peaches and petrol. The finish was crisp and fruity.

Lakehouse Inn and WineryCabernet Sauvignon 2014 was sourced from Lake County, California. The wine was aged in Hungarian oak. The translucent ruby colored wine offered an aroma of blackberries and cassis. The taste also had notes of blackberries and cassis plus spicy notes especially cinnamon. The wine was medium/full-bodied with soft tannins. The finish was crisp and fruity yielding to spices. Pinot Noir 2013, produced with locally sourced fruit from the Grand River Valley, was a translucent ruby with a sienna hue colored wine. The aroma was of red raspberries with a hint of strawberries. The taste included notes of raspberries, leather and tobacco. The wine was medium-bodied with mild tannins. The finish was crisp and fruity.

Vino de Casa was the house wine. This wine was a blend of Pinot Noir and Merlot. The wine color was a translucent light ruby with a sienna hue. The house wine offered notes of strawberries, cherries and raspberries. The wine was medium-bodied with soft mild tannins. The finish was crisp and fruity. Merlot Speciale 2014 was aged in a bourbon barrel. The result was a translucent ruby colored wine. The aroma offered notes of corn from the bourbon. The mouthfeel was smooth and the taste included corn and cherry notes. The wine was medium-bodied with tannins. The finish had cherry notes with a flowery and bourbon aftertaste.

Lakehouse Inn and WineryEnjoy visiting Lake Erie at the Lake House Inn and Winery. Use the inn as a base to explore the numerous tourist opportunities in the region. There are outdoor seating areas overlooking Lake Erie, a perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine.

Lake House Inn and Winery
5653 Lake Road East
Geneva-on-the-Lake, OH 44041

GPS: N41º 51.525’ W80º 57.559’



Article written October 2015

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