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Old Firehouse Winery
Kathy and Terry Sullivan

Old Firehouse WinerySummary: Old Firehouse Winery is located on the shore of Lake Erie with a Ferris wheel between the tasting room/restaurant and the lake. The winery is named for the barn where the village’s very first fire engine was housed.

The Old Firehouse Winery tasting room and restaurant is located in an old barn that was known as the firehouse because it was the only building in the village that could house the first fire engine. Many of the visitors to the tasting room think this was originally a firehouse but are soon informed that previously the building was an old barn. Today the two-story tasting room/restaurant has been decorated with numerous firehouse paraphernalia and includes a model of a fireman high above the first floor. The logo for the winery is a large Dalmatian with a bright red fireman’s helmet.

Old Firehouse WineryThe tasting room/restaurant has a large deck with views of Lake Erie, a nearby Ferris wheel and water slide. Near the deck a covered stage is used for musicians to play and a gazebo is a popular spot for weddings and photos. The winery production area is located within a few feet of the tasting room. According to Mike Porcello, manager, an estimated 600 people can enjoy the fun ambiance of the winery tasting room/restaurant at one time.

Old Firehouse Winery was opened in 1988 by Joyce Morgan, Dave Otto and Don Woodward. Don’s grandfather was one of the firefighters who in 1924 established the Fire Department for the village. The Old Firehouse Winery online menu notes, “As the story goes, after fruitlessly battling blazes with a ‘bucket brigade,’ several local businessmen chipped in and ordered a 1924 Grahm Brothers fire truck. They now had a truck on the way, and had two immediate issues to address: a place to put the truck and who was going to be fire chief. Emory Tyler offered the use of his barn, which then became the Village’s first fire station. Everyone was so grateful they promptly made him chief.”

Old Firehouse WineryOld Firehouse WineryTravelers to Old Firehouse Winery are in for a surprise when they arrive at the winery and tasting room. With the working old Ferris wheel on the edge of the lake and water slides next door, this is a fun winery and tasting room to visit. The Ferris wheel is from the 1950s era and originally located at the Erieview amusement park. The Ferris wheel operates during summer months. The Old Firehouse Winery is a member of the Ashtabula Quilt Trail. On the side of the building a large quilt block represents the Old Firehouse.

Old Firehouse Wines

Drew Raymond is the winemaker. Drew was an English major and worked part-time at the winery. Eventually he became the winemaker. Old Firehouse produces a variety of wines including those made with native American grapes and vinifera grapes. Currently the winery is producing 28,000 gallons, over 11,000 cases, of wine. All grapes and juice are sourced. The wine portfolio includes wines made from American grape varieties, hybrids, international varieties and fruit wines.

Old Firehouse WineryDuring our visit we tasted wines that were served in small plastic cups on a tray covered with an image of circles identifying the wines. Firehouse Red was a sweet/semi-sweet wine produced with Concord, Catawba and Delaware grape varieties. The wine was a translucent red color with a taste and lingering finish of Concord grapes. Sweet Concord was not quite as sweet tasting as Firehouse Red. The Sweet Concord had a hint of crispness. The taste was of foxy grape. The mouthfeel was smooth and the taste was of Concord grapes.

Light House was a blend of Niagara and Catawba. This light yellow colored wine is likely to remind people of earlier years and visiting Grandma’s house in the fall.

Old Firehouse WineryLake Effect was a light straw colored blend of Seyval Blanc and Vignoles sourced from Grand River Valley AVA. It offered grapefruit, lemon and green apple on the aroma and taste. The finish was crisp and fruity. Reflections of Lake Erie was a blend of Riesling, Chardonnay, Vidal Blanc, Vignoles and Cayuga. The fruit was sourced from the Grand River Valley AVA. The light straw colored wine had notes of apple, pear, yellow stone fruit and figs. The finish was fruity.

Events and Food Menus

Live music is available primarily on Friday and Saturday nights. The Old Firehouse food menus include an array of foods: appetizers, snacks, wraps, sandwiches, burgers, salads, full dinners and desserts.

If you are looking for a bite of food and a fun time be sure to stop at Old Firehouse Winery in Geneva-on-the-Lake. Enjoy the Ferris wheel when opened during the summer months, and wonderful views of Lake Erie.

Old Firehouse Winery
5481 Lake Road E      
Geneva-on-the-Lake, OH 44041

GPS: N41º 51.647’ W80º 57.226’


Article written October 2015

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