The recent Put-in-Bay Island Wine Fest was great for many reasons and certainly one of them was that it provided the chance to visit the Put-in-Bay Winery.
The PIB Winery opened in 2009, giving South Bass Island in Lake Erie two wineries. Not bad for an island that is less than four miles long and a mile and a half wide.
The island’s only incorporated community is the village of Put-in-Bay. The south shore of Lake Erie is 12 miles away, so to get to the winery you must take either the Miller Ferry from Catawba Island or the Jet Express from Port Clinton or Sandusky.
Nestled in the Victorian era Doller House, the winery has an amazing view of the bay. When we arrived the winery was bustling with the Wine Fest crowd. PIB Winery manager Robby Morrow was sprinkling some lavender on a gourmet pizza just coming out of the oven. The winery is high on food and fun.
We made our way to the tasting bar and tried their Put-in-Bay sampler. This is a flight of Merlot, Pinot Grigio and Riesling. Our server was the delightful Diane Nemec. She explained that the majority of the grapes for the PIB wines came from North Bass Island a short distance away. Other flights featured wines from Canada’s Pelee Island and West coast wines.
My favorite of the three was the Riesling, which was tasty, sweet and refreshing – just what many are looking for on an island trip. The Pinot Grigio was simple but satisfying. The Merlot was not a favorite – especially when some of the best in the world were being sampled at the Wine Fest.
On Diane’s recommendation we tried the Blackberry wine. This was a satisfying sip of berry goodness and a nice reminder of summer past.
In realty the three main things are location, location, location. It’s not a bad thing for a winery either. The PIB winery has beautiful grounds with plenty of unique sitting areas to soak up the wine and the surrounding natural beauty. The deck also provides a great vantage point to enjoy waterfront views.
The winery is appealing as a great destination. You have the winery, the Doller House, beautiful grounds and the Island Life Museum (which we didn’t get a chance to visit). You also have the fun atmosphere of Put-in-Bay. During our visit we stopped at the Boardwalk restaurant, just a few steps away, for some lobster bisque.
The PIB winery is a ship-shape destination for wine lovers seeking a unique experience.