I expected to enjoy the NFL Hall of Fame and the Canton Food Tour on a recent visit, but I was amazed and enchanted by the beauty and excellence I observed at the Gervasi Vineyard (1700 55th Street N.E. in Canton, Ohio). The work of a winery, especially one that offers exceptional food, luxury accommodations, much-sought-after event spaces and immaculate landscaping, is worth appreciating. When you are curious about pretty much EVERYTHING — as I tend to be — the process involved in turning grapes into wine is a fascinating one.
Driving through the archway entrance into Gervasi, you immediately sense that you are in for a special treat.
My fellow travel writers and I began our visit in the Tower Room of The Crush House, one of Gervasi’s fabulous restaurants. Andrew Codispoti, the Director of Winemaking, gave us an enlightening presentation about the various wines produced on the property as well as others that are brought in from around the world. I learned a lot about “the persona of wine” as Andrew explained that every wine has a longitude, a latitude, an altitude, and he smiled and added “an attitude.” A wine’s persona is the sum total of all the affecting factors: soil, slope, exposure, rain, fog, breeze, wind and, of course, temperature. Andrew also talked to us about “ice wine” (as opposed to “iceD wine”). In the case of ice wine, grapes must freeze on the vine when the temperatures have been in the teens for a number of days in a row. Then the grapes are pressed while they are still frozen, so the juice is highly concentrated. See? I told you it was fascinating.
Ted Swaldo is the owner of Gervasi, and the name of the vineyard was chosen because it is his mother’s maiden name. His son Scott is the General Manager. Scott is pictured here in the blue checked shirt beside Andrew.
Lunch at The Crush House was fabulous. Here are some photos of appetizers, salads and main dishes. Oh my!
In The Bistro, Gervasi’s most upscale dining option, we met Jerry Risner, the Executive Chef, who is putting Gervasi on the map with his creativity and skill. He has a highly-trained staff, meeting the desires of all the guests who dine on the property.
Culinary classes are held on the grounds. The main instructor and the coordinator is Julianna Wilmoth. Her mantra is to use whole, fresh, local food when you’re cooking and to have fun doing it. Check out the schedule of classes here. Who wants to go with me?
Of course, you wouldn’t want to leave Gervasi without a stop at the Marketplace to have a look at the vineyard-themed merchandise available for purchase.
I understand there is even an event during harvest time every year where visitors can actually “stomp the grapes,” Lucy Ricardo-style. Wouldn’t that be a blast?
Have I sparked your interest in visiting Canton and Gervasi Vineyard? I believe you’ll love it.