Most people are surprised to learn that at one time Ohio was the leading wine producer in the nation. As early as the 1800s, early settlers to the region were exploring winemaking. Today Ohio is the seventh largest wine producer in the nation and more than 2.7 million people visit the state’s wineries each year.
To celebrate and promote the state’s love affair with the grape, and take advantage of growing trends in wine and culinary tourism, the vision for Pairings, Ohio’s Wine & Culinary Center was born. The first phase for the project, Windows on Pairings, a dedicated, multi-use facility that serves as a launch pad for wine tourism is now open at 50 Park St., Geneva. It’s designed to offer educational , agricultural, wine and culinary pursuits.
We were pleased to tour the facility during their recent grand opening event and take part in the historic festivities. It’s a major step for the promotion and strengthening of Ohio’s wine industry.
Windows on Pairings is a beautifully renovated 100-year-old post and beam barn. The structure contains a tasting and sales room to showcase Ohio wines, an educational area, a hands-on kitchen for culinary classes and a concierge service to connect visitors with wineries and lodgings in Ohio. This first phase of the project will help build foot traffic and awareness paving the way for future development which could include incubator space for new wineries and expanded banquet space.
Pairings has an experienced executive director in Catherine Sterle, who was sales director of Hale Village and Farm, a Western Reserve Historical Society property, prior to joining Windows. The list of classes and events is already impressive, including classes on Ohio wine appreciation, how to open a bed and breakfast and creating the perfect brunch.
One of the best aspects of Pairings (as you might guess knowing our perspective) is the tasting room. Here you have an opportunity to taste wines from a variety of Ohio wineries. You also have the chance to purchase a nice selection of Ohio wines in a central location.
We’ve visited the New York Wine and Culinary Center in Canandaigua during a Finger Lakes trip and were very impressed. We took a food and wine pairings class there and thought that it was awesome.
We intend to be frequent visitors to Pairings and hope you are too. There is no charge to tour the facility, but we expect you’ll want to get a bite to eat and enjoy some wine. For us, the most exciting aspect of Pairings is not that it promotes the current Ohio wine industry, but that it can help elevate it. The center is designed to educate winemakers and wineries as well as the consumer.
Raise a toast to Pairings, a very welcome addition to the Ohio wine scene!