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The Winery at Wolf Creek
by
Terry Sullivan

The Winery at Wolf CreekSummary: From the tasting room and the deck next to the tasting room, you will have wonderful views of a rolling landscape of trees, vineyards and open space areas. The land gently slopes down to Wolf Creek, that looks more like a lake from the winery. There are plenty of areas to relax with a bottle of Wolf Creek wine wile enjoying the changing seasons.

The Winery at Wolf CreekWe met Andy Troutman, owner of the Winery at Wolf Creek and Troutman Vineyards. Andy is also the vineyard manager at both wineries. He took us on a tour of the facility at Wolf Creek and spoke about his philosophy of wine growing and winemaking. We asked Andy when his interest in grape growing began. He recounted that when he was ten years old, he planted grapes for a 4-H project. Andy has been growing grapes ever since.

History

In 1980 Andrew and Melvin Wineberg founded the Winery at Wolf Creek on their parents’ property. The winery’s original cellar was blasted into a rocky hillside. Ten acres of vines were planted at the base of the hill while another two acres were planted at the top of the hill. The winery is between the two vineyard plantings. In 1985, the first wines were sold. During the next two decades the winery continued to grow as did the portfolio of wines crafted. The year 2000 marked the untimely death of Andrew Wineberg. Two years later, the Winery at Wolf Creek was purchased by Andy and Deanna Troutman. At the time, Andy was the vineyard manager at the Winery at Wolf Creek.

Since the Troutmans acquired the winery and vineyards in 2002, Andy and Deanna have made many changes including expanding vineyard acreage and increasing winery production. They also planted some vinifera grape varieties. Another change is the laid-back atmosphere. On the day of our mid-October visit, there were several groups enjoying wine and camaraderie in the winery and on the grounds.

Vineyards

Of the 35 acres of property, 14½ acres are planted with vines. Varieties planted include the white grapes Cayuga White, Delaware, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Traminette and Vignoles. Red grapes planted in the vineyards include Cabernet Franc, Isabella, La Crescent and Leon Millot. Andy said about grape growing in this area, “You can grow almost anything, but must diversify to deal with the variance of weather.” After two difficult winters, the Cabernet Franc needed to be replanted. Andy is philosophical about losing his Cabernet Franc, “It’s farming.”

The Winery at Wolf CreekWinery

The annual case production is around 10,000 cases under the direction of winemaker Carrie Bonvallet. Carrie was originally a professional brewer. She lived for a while in Scotland earning a post-graduate degree in brewing and distilling. Carrie worked at a brewery in Wisconsin and California prior to relocating to Ohio. Now her brewing and distilling knowledge have been added to winemaking. There is an old saying amongst some winemakers, “It takes a lot of beer to make wine.”

During the winery tour we saw a sparkling stainless steel bottling line, press, Flextank tanks and stainless steel tanks. Outside, a new shiny still was waiting to be installed.

The Winery at Wolf CreekWines

There is a large room including a long tasting counter and several chairs and tables. Glass doors provide plenty of light and views of Wolf Creek and vineyards. Another room with tables and chairs is used for events. Outside the main tasting area there is additional seating on decks and on the grassy area. We tasted several wines while at the tasting counter.

The Winery at Wolf CreekThe 2013 Riesling was made with estate grown grapes. The pale yellow colored wine was floral and had a slightly sweet taste. The 2013 Vignoles was a light yellow color. There were citrus and tropical fruit notes on the aroma. The taste was slightly sweet and offered citrus, yellow stone fruits and tropical fruits. The finish was crisp and fruity. The 2012 Rhapsody was a light yellow color. The wine was made from Vidal Blanc grapes sourced from the Columbus area. There were notes of apple and pear on the aroma and taste. The finish was crisp and fruity with drying on the aftertaste. White Lies was a light straw colored wine made from Delaware grapes. It had a floral aroma with a pear and apple taste. The sweet wine had a crisp and fruity finish.

The 2012 Cabernet Franc was a transparent dark red color. The wine was aged in American oak. The aroma and taste had blackberries with a hint of tobacco. The medium to full-bodied wine had medium tannins and a crisp fruity finish.

The Winery at Wolf CreekEvents

With its close proximity to Cleveland and Columbus, the winery is an easy drive for a large population. There are several events at the winery. Just a few of the many events include wine glass painting, cooking with wine, annual goat derby, "yappy" hours and creating a wine bottle lamp.

Wine enthusiasts should plan to spend a few hours at the Winery at Wolf Creek. Spend extra time in this beautiful setting enjoying a glass or bottle of wine.

 

The Winery at Wolf Creek
2637 S Cleveland Massillon Rd
Norton, Ohio 44203

GPS: N41º 04.066’ W81º 38.305

 

Article written October 2015



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