I love good wine and good food. Wine & Ale Trails have become more and more popular around big cities and in wine country. Imagine our surprise when we discovered one not too far from our hometown! Who knew there were all these independent wineries and breweries in Mansfield, Ohio. Each one is unique, creating signature flavors and featuring interesting locations, not to mention the food and entertainment. We got together a group, chartered a motorcoach and took the trip to the Mansfield Wine & Ale Trail.
We started our tour of the Wine and Ale Trail at Wayne’s Country Market! More than just a local grocery store. Our group was able to choose from 8 different wines and 8 different beers on tap from their tasting stations along with cheese and crackers. We also stocked up on Ohio-made foods and products: honey, maple syrup, candies and fresh baked goods.
We then took a short bus ride to the next stop. We were served by the owners of 1285 Winery right as we walked in. They had no problem making time and space for us. 1285 is a former greenhouse, built on a working 27-acre blueberry plantation. We loved the rustic feel of the wood room created from felled trees and accents like the tin ceiling tiles on the walls and wine bottle display roof tiles behind the bar. They make all their wines on premises, including three different blueberry wines which their son makes from their homegrown blueberries. And pizza baked in a brick oven! To die for!
We boarded the bus as our group was ready for our next stop, lunch. The bus drove us to the quaint town of Bellville to a house that I thought surely could not be a winery. Located within the Wishmaker House Bed & Breakfast, the Winery and Wine Bar surprised us with its light atmosphere and intimate setting. We were immediately delighted by the from-scratch menu with all local ingredients and a resume of award winning wines all created from Ohio and New York grapes. Wishmaker makes their own homemade wines and even let us experiment with mixing a few flavors ourselves. I highly recommend their “mile-high” homemade cheesecake after your meal . . . it’s amazing!
The beer enthusiasts in our group were so excited to get to our next stop in downtown Mansfield. Founded by local beer enthusiasts looking to bring a craft beer revival to Mansfield, The Phoenix Brewing Company is located in the former 1914 Schroer Mortuary in downtown Mansfield’s Carrousel District. The owners were glad to take us on a tour of the building and showed us the inner workings of the brewery. The brewing is done in the basement which was where the embalming/prep was done (creepy!). The building also had a hand drawn casket elevator to take caskets to all three floors- the prep area, chapel and viewing area which the brewery used parts of to make coffin shaped sample glass holders. Their beer flights took us through the great varieties Phoenix has to offer, even I enjoyed it (as a wine drinker.)
The final stop on our Wine and Ale Trail tour was by no means the least. The Vault Wine Bar in Shelby is Housed in the former Citizens Bank of Shelby built in 1911. We even got to see the vault holding row upon row of international wines. The open space was great and we really enjoyed relaxing after a long day, trying some of their interesting flavors and foods like their handmade soft pretzels with beer cheese.
We loved traveling through our own Wine & Ale Trail as a group, hoping to find more gems like this around Mansfield. We can’t wait!
Sip and sample your way along the Wine & Ale Trail, exploring historic buildings, local food, and specialty themed wines and brews for yourself! To download the Wine & Ale Trail group tour itinerary, click here. Salute!