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Lakeview Wine Cellars
Kathy Sullivan

Lakeview Wine CellarsSummary: Arriving at Lakeview Wine Cellars we were quickly greeted by the owners, Sam and Becky Best and their friendly Irish Setter, Cab. We discovered that this friendly couple offer a laidback and relaxing tasting experience. The Bests noted that the winery and tasting room are “off the beaten track.” The winery is open seven days a week. For the Bests, “it’s our little piece of heaven.”


Our first visit this spring to North East, Pennsylvania was to Lakeview Wine Cellars. The winery is located on a high elevation which provides distant views of Lake Erie. The winery is owned by Sam and Becky Best who are always in the tasting room. This allows wine enthusiasts to meet the owners and winemaker. Sam and Becky commented that the atmosphere of the tasting room is laidback and that their customers enjoy the experience.

Lakeview Wine CellarsHistory

Sam and Becky Best began making wine as home winemakers 45 years ago and enjoyed the experience. About 20 years before they retired, they began thinking about their lives after retirement. What did they want to do?

It was their dream to own and work a farm. In 2005 they purchased a parcel of land that had six acres of Concord grapes growing on it. The Bests designed and built the winery and tasting room in stages. They also have removed one acre of the grapes and are currently planning on adding additional grape varieties.

Lakeview Winery

The majority of Lakeview Cellars is located on the first floor with the modern-style tasting room adjacent to a smaller room for small activities. All of this is attached to the winery. The winery overlooks the vineyards and offers views of Lake Erie in the distance. In the winery the philosophy of “form follows function” is emphasized. Some tanks are on wheels as well as the bottle corker and the bottling unit. Only Pennsylvania oak barrels are in the winery.

Lakeview Wine CellarsTasting Room at Lakeview Wine Cellars

Visitors may notice that the tasting room reminds them of a large boat with three windows peaking towards the ceiling. The owners also added a decorative lighthouse symbol as part of the tasting room. Upon entering the tasting room, we noticed that the air is fresh. Sam uses ozone to keep the air fresh and also for sanitizing the stainless steel tanks. The winery tasting room, as well as some of the wine names, feature Lake Erie. Look for a vintage oar, a model ship and maps of Lake Erie. Local craft items are also available. A conversation area complete with colorful Adirondack chairs is available for visitors to enjoy a glass of wine.

The large tasting room has a unique L-shaped tasting counter. Visitors from around the world have brought in sand, some with small seashells. The tasting counter showcases the sands which are identified with labels. Small compartments in a variety of sizes keep the sands separated. The entire tasting counter is covered with thick glass. When we visited in April 2019, Sam had 80 more types of sand to add to the countertop. While tasting wines, enjoy browsing the sand from regions around the world.

Lakeview Wine Cellars     Lakeview Wine Cellars

Adjacent to the tasting room is a long covered deck with several picnic tables. In one corner of the patio there is a compass rose. This is a wonderful spot to enjoy a glass of wine while relaxing with countryside views.

Lakeview Wine CellarsVineyards and Grapes

The Bests use the Concord grapes in the vineyard as a cash crop. The soil is a combination of gravel, sand, loam and clay. Due to the high elevation of the property, the vineyard is one of the last vineyards to be harvested, usually in October. Deer and turkeys are problematic for the grapevines. For the winemaking, Sam and Becky source grapes and juice from local vineyards; however, they will only accept quality grapes.

Lakeview Wines

In 2019, Lakeview is producing 2500 gallons of wines. We tasted several wines while observing the sands from around the world.

Chardonnay 2016 was aged in Pennsylvania oak for 24 months. The dark yellow colored wine had a light gold hue. The wine offered notes of apple, pear and caramel. The full-bodied wine had fruit and oak influences on the finish. The aftertaste was extremely long.

Riesling 2018 had a very pale yellow color. The aroma was of apple and peach. The taste had a hint of sweetness with peach notes. The finish was crisp and peachy. Peach stone was on the aftertaste.

Traminette 2017 was a light yellow color. The aroma was of flowers and the taste offered some citrus, daises and white rose notes. The finish was crisp. The aftertaste was oily.

Lakeview Wine CellarsShipwrick Red 2017 was a proprietary blend of six grape varieties including: Baco-Noir, Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin, Cheloes, GR-7 (Geneva Red) and Noiret. The residual sugar was 12 g/L. The wine was a translucent dark ruby color with a sienna hue. The aroma was like a fruit salad of red and black berry fruits. The medium-bodied wine had mild tannins. The wine offered red cherry, black berry and plum notes. The finish was fruity with a hint of baking spices.

Long Point Red was a blend of Bacon Noir, Chambourcin and Concord. The wine with 11.2% alcohol had 40 g/L of residual sugar. The wine was a translucent ruby color with a dark pink hue. The wine was grapey - think of grape juice for adults. The full-bodied wine had notes of dark fruits and Concord grape. The finish was very grapey.

Cavitation was produced with Steuben grapes. This wine was produced as a still wine and then carbon dioxide was added to it. The orange/pink wine had an earthy aroma. The taste was earthy with red sweet cherry notes. The finish was crisp and fruity.

Larboard was a port-style wine. The alcohol was 19% and the wine had a residual sugar of 90 g/L. The opaque dark violet to black colored wine was a blend of Chambourcin, Noiret and Fredonia. The wine offered notes of dried fruits. The finish was fruity with almost no alcohol heat. We thought the wine was delicious.

While traveling close to Lake Erie in North East, Pennsylvania consider stopping by Lakeview Wine Cellars, meeting the friendly owners and tasting the Lakeview wines.

Lakeview Wine Cellars
8440 Singer Road
North East, Pennsylvania 16428

GPS: N42° 12.8002 W079° 47.0975


Article written May 2019.






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