Culi­nary and Wine Tast­ing Get­away to the Ger­vasi Vine­yard

Luxe Beat Magazine - - Contents - By Jan Ross

If you like to taste a va­ri­ety of lo­cal wines, take a cook­ing class, enjoy a fab­u­lous culi­nary ex­pe­ri­ence, or just re­lax in a charm­ing Ital­ian villa, you should plan a get­away to the lovely Ger­vasi Vine­yards in Can­ton, Ohio. The vine­yard is the best kept se­cret in the area, hid­den away in a quiet neigh­bor­hood, but you will soon spot the elab­o­rate en­trance. A large 55-acre es­tate which in­cludes 5 acres of vine­yards pro­duc­ing a va­ri­ety of grapes, two restau­rants, an out­door pav­il­ion for wed­dings and other events, a cozy shop, an event cen­ter, and 24 guest suites housed in some amaz­ing, Tus­can-in­flu­enced vil­las, it’s a pleas­ant sur­prise.

That same Tus­can in­flu­ence of the fam­ily who pur­chased and built the vine­yard is felt through­out the property in ev­ery de­tail from wine bot­tle shaped sinks in The Crush House restau­rant, to the gor­geous faucets in the bath­room vil­las, and even chan­de­liers made from wine bot­tles. The Swaldo fam­ily is orig­i­nally from Italy and Grandma Ger­vasi (her maiden name) was known for her won­der­ful cook­ing. Ger­vasi Vine­yard is truly a fam­ily lo­ca­tion as sev­eral fam­ily mem­bers work at the vine­yard so their tra­di­tional Ital­ian her­itage which in­cludes great food, wine, fun, and an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for beau­ti­ful things is ev­i­dent every­where.

One of the most un­usual ac­tiv­i­ties you can ex­pe­ri­ence at the vine­yard is the ex­ten­sive culi­nary and wine tast­ing classes of­fered at The Cucina, in the Villa Grande, which also in­cludes event space and the check in area for the Vil­las. With a large, pro­fes­sional, work­ing kitchen and a din­ing area to enjoy what you pre­pare, they of­fer classes on cuisines of Mex­ico, Ja­pan, Italy, or South Amer­ica, and even some fo­cus­ing just on spe­cific items like seafood.

Most of the classes are hands-on and ev­ery­one in the class will get per­son­al­ized in­struc­tion from one of the ex­pe­ri­enced chef in­struc­tors to cre­ate a meal that you will sit down and enjoy with a glass of wine. My hus­band and I ob­served and pho­tographed the seafood cook­ing class and were amazed at the de­tailed work that went into preparing the beau­ti­ful fi­nal prod­ucts – which they were kind enough to share with us! There are also some demonstration classes, where you ob­serve a mas­ter chef at work and get to sam­ple as they cook. You can reg­is­ter on­line at the Ger­vasi Vine­yard web site but they fill up quickly, so do it soon if you are in­ter­ested. Dress ca­su­ally and com­fort­ably and don’t worry about an apron; you will get a free one to take home as part of your reg­is­tra­tion fee. Kids 15 and older can also reg­is­ter for the classes and they do of­fer some cook­ing classes for smaller chil­dren as well. The fee for the class in­cludes a glass of wine with your meal al­though not while cook­ing – for safety rea­sons! Al­though we did not par­tic­i­pate in a wine tast­ing class, this is one of their spe­cial­ties, and they of­fer a va­ri­ety of classes. Whether you are new to wine or have your own wine cel­lar, they of­fer classes that will have you think­ing about and learn­ing to ap­pre­ci­ate a wide va­ri­ety of wines. There are classes on wine ap­pre­ci­a­tion, de­mys­ti­fy­ing wine tast­ing, wine and food pair­ings, or looks at wine vin­tages of Italy or France. All classes are taught by ex­pe­ri­enced wine ed­u­ca­tors in the tast­ing room in the Villa Grande. Even though we did not take a wine tast­ing class, we did take a tour of the amaz­ing state-of-the-art win­ery fa­cil­i­ties at The Crush House, the new restau­rant at the vine­yard and tasted a few of the wines. No reser­va­tions are re­quired for the pub­lic tours and we were as­ton­ished at all the com­put­ers, mod­ern equip­ment, stain­less steel tanks for stor­age, and ab­so­lutely im­mac­u­late state of the win­ery.

Ev­ery Satur­day at 3:30 and 4:30 they also of­fer more in-depth tours of the win­ery led by a mem­ber of the wine making team. This in­cludes a se­lec­tion of small bites and Ger­vasi wine tast­ings at the end of the tour. You can pur­chase tick­ets on­line. In ad­di­tion, pri­vate win­ery tours are avail­able for small groups of 30 or less in­ter­ested in a tour. You can choose from wine tast­ings or a wine paired with small plates and there are also pri­vate rooms avail­able for rent to enjoy the wine af­ter the tour.

Ei­ther be­fore or af­ter your tour of the win­ery, you will definitely want to have a meal (or sev­eral) at The Crush House restau­rant. Af­ter we had din­ner there our last night, we were very sorry we had to leave the next day af­ter only one meal! De­signed to re­sem­ble a very con­tem­po­rary restau­rant you might find in a big city, with lots of open spa­ces, red walls, and a stair­case to a sec­ond level, the Crush House of­fers a ca­sual din­ing at­mos­phere with a fo­cus on small plates and

va­ri­ety of taste ex­pe­ri­ences. We sam­pled their fa­mous short ribs, a fra­grant potato and leek soup, a potato skins ap­pe­tizer, and a flat bread sand­wich and all were de­li­cious.

We also had both lunch and din­ner as well at The Bistro restau­rant. A lit­tle fancier than The Crush House, The Bistro re­sem­bles a rus­tic, Tus­can Ital­ian farm­house with lots of wood, com­fort­able seat­ing, a fire­place and a menu with Ital­ian small and large plates for shar­ing. Us­ing fresh, sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents, they of­fer an­tipasti, sal­ads, and won­der­ful brick-fired ar­ti­san piz­zas. We sam­pled the crab roll ap­pe­tiz­ers and the hot and amaz­ing piz­zas and rec­om­mend both. Be sure to pop in The Mar­ket­place, a lit­tle shop right be­side The Bistro where you can buy wine to take home as well as an as­sort­ment of in­ter­est­ing gifts.

We en­joyed ev­ery sin­gle thing about our visit but one of our fa­vorite parts was stay­ing in the amaz­ing and unique Vil­las. The Vil­las com­prise an up­scale bou­tique Inn which has six Vil­las each hav­ing four in­di­vid­ual suites and a cozy, spa­cious lobby area com­plete with a small kitchen, com­fort­able fur­ni­ture, a fire­place, and doors out onto a fur­nished pa­tio.

Many of the Vil­las over­look the spring-fed lake where ducks and swans swim lazily around, cre­at­ing a lovely and scenic view. The gor­geous suites each have their own fire­place, stucco walls, heated floors, and rus­tic wood interiors. The small kitchen in the lobby is fur­nished with a mi­crowave, ice maker, sink, and re­frig­er­a­tor stocked with com­pli­men­tary drinks in­clud­ing bottled wa­ter, teas, juice, and so­das as well as yo­gurt. Guest ser­vices re­plen­ish the drinks daily when they make up the suites.

The most un­usual and most ap­pre­ci­ated amenity at the Vil­las is a fresh, hot break­fast de­liv­ered ev­ery morn­ing to each villa. You can spec­ify the time you want it de­liv­ered and just open your suite door to find a large wooden box with a lid and the num­ber of your suite on it left on the kitchen counter. Ev­ery day the food was dif­fer­ent but fea­tured freshly made pas­tries stuffed with meat, cheese, and veg­eta­bles, freshly baked dessert bars, and fresh fruit.

We did not have time on this trip to take ad­van­tage of the spa ser­vices of­fered in the Vil­las but you can sched­ule man­i­cures, pedi­cures, mas­sages, fa­cials or hair and make-up all in your pri­vate Villa. Per­fect for a spe­cial event or wed­ding group that is tak­ing over the en­tire Villa.

So, whether you want to take a class or sam­ple wines, eat, drink, stroll around the beau­ti­ful property which ad­joins lo­cal hik­ing trails, or just re­lax in front of the fire­place and read a good book, Ger­vasi Vine­yard is the per­fect culi­nary and wine tast­ing get­away lo­ca­tion!

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