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The Suburbanite
  • Gervasi guests raise glasses, celebrate wine

  • Gervasi Vineyard joined other wineries, hotels and restaurants throughout North America to participate in the first Wine Tourism Day on May 11. The national event was organized by Zephyr Adventures, a wine tour company, to commemorate the contribution wine tourism makes to many local economies.

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  • Gervasi Vineyard joined other wineries, hotels and restaurants throughout North America to participate in the first Wine Tourism Day on May 11. The national event was organized by Zephyr Adventures, a wine tour company, to commemorate the contribution wine tourism makes to many local economies.
    Gervasi, which called its event “Celebrate Vino!,” offered a variety of activities including vineyard tours, wine barrel tastings, and cheese and wine pairing and food and wine pairing classes. There also were hard-hat tours of the newest facility on the Gervasi grounds, the Crush House winery.
    “The idea for the event came from Europe, where they celebrate the European Day of Wine Tourism,” said Cynthia Johnson, marketing manager at Gervasi Vineyard. “Wineries were asked to do something to celebrate the first-ever wine tourism day (in North America) and we thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for the public to get a first view of the Crush House while it’s still under construction.”
    BEFORE THE CORK
    Brian Gregory, one of the vineyard tour guides, spent the afternoon taking groups through the vineyards on a tour called “A year in the Vine.”
    “With winemaking, it’s all about the quality of the grape, not the quantity,” Gregory said.
    Gregory noted that the winter season is when the pruning is done. In fact, the winter season is the most important time of the year because it most affects the harvest, which happens in September.
    Beyond the cold Ohio winters, there are certainly challenges for winemakers, Gregory said. The Gervasi vineyard team has encountered challenges with the wildlife in the Canton area.
    “We have learned over the past few years that a flock of birds can take out an entire row of grapes in just a few hours,” Gregory said. “With the dry summer last year, the Canadian Geese decided to reach their flexible long necks up under the netting we put around the vines to keep the birds off and they ate the grapes.”
    He knew the geese ate the grapes because when he came out in the vineyard one morning several of the geese had grape juice dripping from their beaks.
    Grapes are not part of the regular diet for geese and they became slightly ill after their adventure.
    LOOKING AHEAD
    One of the highlights of the day included a sneak peak of the Crush House, a 13,000-square-foot, two-story winery with 30,000-gallon winemaking capacity, a barrel room, bottling area and a larger laboratory. There will also be a wine bar in the building and “peek-a-boo” views into the winery and barrel room.
    “We’re going to have a small kitchen and grill in the back of the building that will offer a light menu,” said Andrew Codispoti, Gervasi’s winemaker. “Tours of the facility will be offered. We’ll have music and we’ll be able to provide a true wine-tasting experience for our guests. The new tanks are from Italy and highly automated with variable speeds. I’ll be able to monitor the process from a computer in my office, home or when I go to Italy,” he said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Visitors to Gervasi continued to flow in throughout the afternoon. Johnson said that many were coming from the Cleveland area.
    HIGH PRAISE
    Clevelanders Brian and Denise Golem visited Gervasi for the first time Saturday. Both enjoyed the Tuscan style of the facilities on the grounds.
    “Our friends have been here and they recommended we come down so we thought we’d come to enjoy the wine and tour the new winery,” Denise Golem said.
    “We are also looking forward to learning about pairing wine with cheese and foods,” Brian Golem said.
    Gervasi regulars Kevin and Beth Myszka drove down from Kent for the special event Sarurday.
    “We come down on Friday nights to the patio and listen to live music,” Kevin Myszka said. “We’re excited to be here today for the tours and the wine pairing classes. We really love it here. When you first drive through the gates, it just feels like you are on vacation.”
    Johnson said they are hoping to continue to celebrate National Wine Tourism Day every year. Next year the Crush House will be open and touring it will once again be featured in the day’s activities.