Heineman Winery is a great place to spend a day…. Visit this one hundred and twenty year old family-owned wine-making business, take a tour of the winery and learn more about the ‘how-to’s of creating a high quality wine.
Heineman’s beautiful wine garden is a fantastic setting for a romantic rendezvous, and the perfect place to go when you want to escape from the pressures of everyday life.
Keeping the business in the family, Heineman’s grapes are grown on fifty acres of vineyards on South Bass Island by the third and fourth generations of Heinemans and other local growers. Known as Lubrusca, these native grapes are used to produce two types of grape juice and most of the wines produced by the Heinemann Winery. This system allows the winery to have a process for ‘vine-to-wine’ quality control, creating first-rate grape juices and wines.
IThe ideal soil conditions in the area and the long growing season help to maintain the quality of the grapes, but Lake Erie’s presence gives it an additional unique touch.
On a tour of Heineman’s, you are invited to sample some of their delicious (and quite potent) vintages in their exquisitely designed wine garden. The Pink Catawba, a medium sweetness wine is the most popular creation of the Heineman Winery.
Although it was originally one of many wineries on South Bass Island (better known as Put-in-Bay), the Heinemann Winery was the only survivor of the Volstead Act prohibiting the sale of alcohol in 1919. While other wineries went out of business and let their vineyards fall apart, the Heinemans kept their business alive by selling unfermented grape juice.
They definitely struck it lucky when workers digging a well for the winery discovered the now-famous Crystal Cave. By providing a taxi cab service to and tours of the cave, the family managed to make enough money to keep the winery afloat until the ban was lifted.
On a family vacation, take the kids along on a visit to the Crystal Cave for an experience they’ll never forget.
What is the Crystal Cave, you want to know? Only the world’s largest geode! Then what’s a geode? Geodes, to put it simply, are just rock formations.
But the ‘ooh’s and ‘aah’s that accompany a visit to this cave will convince you that there’s more to it than just another rock – or cave, for that matter. Each geode is unique, varying in size, shape and color and the walls covered in eight to eighteen inch Celestine crystals, have a delicate bluish tint to them that’s truly beautiful. A trip to the cave is an awe-inspiring experience not to be missed.
Tours of the winery are available daily from early May to late September and cost $6 for adults and $3 for children between the ages of 6 and 11. On Sundays, the tours begin at 12:15 p.m. and go on till 5 p.m., while on all other days of the week, they begin at 11:15 a.m.
After all the learning and exploring, you’d probably be famished. Put-in-Bay has a wide variety of superb restaurants just a few minutes away. While on Put-in-Bay, do remember to check out some of the other attractions as well, such as the Tailfins Amusement Centre, the Put-in-Bay raceway, the antique car museum, the historical museum, the Butterfly House, the Aquatic Center and South Bass Island’s very own State Park.
Another must-see is the historic Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial, the country’s third-tallest monument, a 352-foot granite column complete with an observation deck 317 feet up for a panoramic view all round.
Other nearby islands also boasts their own State Parks, and contributes their own unique charm to the area… Middle Bass Island, for example, with its serene, secluded environment that’s the ideal place to retreat to when you’re running from the rat-race, and Kelley’s Island, with its striking natural beauty that’s bound to leave you spellbound.
To get to the Heinemann Winery, you could take a ferry from Port Clinton, Sandusky, or Catawba to Put-in-Bay (on South Bass Island). Flights are also available from airports in both Sandusky and Port Clinton. The winery is situated on Catawba Avenue, approximately one mile from the village of Put-in-Bay.