That statement couldn't be more spot-on.
Before we arrived, Virant's website had already made the winery stand out above the rest because it is the first site I have seen to promote the use of Be My DD. Be My DD is a service through which anyone can reserve a driver for safe transportation to and/or from a party, winery, bar, etc. This speaks volumes as to how much the Virant family cares for their customers.
I was impressed and we weren't even there yet.
We drove up a narrow road to find a quaint, moderately sized brick building surrounded by row upon row of beautiful, healthy grape vines. They opened at 2 and we got there a little early, but that didn't seem to matter much as we were welcomed in. The interior reminded me of an American Legion hall; everything was basic and sufficient. My immediate impression was that this is a business run by a hardworking, down-to-Earth family who does what they love and loves what they do- the quintessential American Dream.
The Virant Family Winery not only sells wine, they also host private parties, showers, and have a scenic outdoor venue for weddings that overlooks the vineyard. They have an everyday menu anyone can order from while tasting, which includes a cheese plate, burgers, chicken breasts, fries, and a few other fun, picnic-type items. We were also invited back on any Friday or Saturday night from 5-9 p.m., year round, for their steak and prime rib dinners.
Everyone was so warm and welcoming, I felt like we were being invited to a friend's house for a cookout.
All of the individuals we met at Virant were kind, attentive, and very easy to talk to, especially the sweet older gentleman who was decked out in his bib overalls. The Bear was given the gift of gab and he lights up when he has the opportunity to socialize with our local vintners, which warms my heart. Watching him enjoy himself so much was my most memorable part of our visit and we could have stayed there all day if we weren't determined to see so many other wineries.
As for the wine, Virant offers quite a few sweet wines and fruit wines with a couple of dry offerings. I tried the Riesling and the Bear had the Midnight Chambourcin. The Riesling had a refreshing nose with a bit of an apple taste. This was well done for a semi-dry wine, the finish was very smooth and crisp. This is the kind of wine we call a boat wine- one we would take out on our friend's boat after work on a hot summer Friday evening because it's cold and it goes down easy.
The Midnight Chambourcin was an excellent dry red. There was a hint of plum in the nose and taste, the wine had a full body, and the finish was surprisingly smooth. The plum notes made this Chambourcin stand out from others we have tried. This would be a good wine to have with Virant's Friday and Saturday steak and prime rib dinners! The Chambourcin ended up being the bottle that came home with us.
The majority of Virant's wines were a little sweeter than what we generally prefer but there are drier options available, such as the Chambourcin and the Riesling. Wines by the bottle and special orders can be placed over the phone at 440.466.6279 and shipped within the state of Ohio. If you're interested in attending the steak and prime rib dinner or hosting a private party, reservations and arrangements can be made at the same telephone number. Virant's wines can be purchased online by the case at a 15% discount.
While online and telephone ordering is convenient, I highly recommend making the trip to Geneva to the Virant Family Winery. One of the most exciting and interesting aspects of visiting wineries isn't the wine itself, it's getting to know the people who work there. In our experience, the ability to do this is the biggest difference between wineries that sell entertainment and aesthetics and wineries that sell their passion. Without question, the Virant Family Winery is an establishment built on passion; the pride they take in their work is reflected in the quality of their wines as well as the quality of their people. Experiencing the genuine kindness and hospitality of the Virant family is well worth the drive. They are an absolute joy to spend time with and you will indeed be treated like family.
Thank you for reading! Next up will be our review of M Cellars and South River Vineyard, so check back soon! Please remember to consume alcoholic beverages responsibly. Cheers, all!