Lake Erie Wine Country Itinerary, Day 1

Unbeknownst to many, the Lake Erie region has a treasure trove of wineries. In fact, the area has even created a Lake Erie Wine Country trail to promote them all. This littering of wineries spreads from North East, PA, past Chautauqua Lake, all the way to Portland, NY. As of now, there are 24 distinct wineries, breweries, and distilleries to visit along this path. Each one creates their own unique wines which you can sample for a nominal fee. Because all of the wineries are so close together, it makes for a fun and easy trip to travel to each one sampling different wines. This is what Drew and I decided to do one weekend in August.

The first step was to try and plan our itinerary. Since we would be driving up on a Friday, we knew many of the wineries would be closed (they aren’t open very late in the evenings). Therefore, we mapped out a few places that stayed open a little later so we could hit them first. All of the wineries were open on Saturday, so for this day, we simply chose the ones that looked the most interesting. We limited ourselves to four or five each day, because, well, we still had to be able to drive ourselves around. Even though each sampling size is small, they start to add up quickly. There are companies that offer tours and shuttle buses, but for just the two of us, it was impractical.

day trip on the erie wine trail

The map we used to help plan our route.

When planning your Lake Erie Wine Country itinerary, it is important to remember a few things. First of all… bring snacks and water! We were expecting to be able to grab a bite to eat from one of the places, but none of them really had any appetizing options. Also, water is good to have so you can stay hydrated. Some places do sell it, but why buy it when you can just bring a bottle along? Lastly, bring a pen and paper to take notes! After a while, all of the wines started blending together, especially the same varieties that you might try at different wineries. If you really want to keep track of what you are drinking, it’s important to write down your thoughts right away. That way, it makes it easier when it comes time for buying a bottle to take home 🙂

Lake Erie Wine Country Itinerary, Day 1: Friday

Burch Farms Winery

lake erie wine country itinerary

Burch Farms Winery on the Lake Erie Wine Country trail.

Hours: Monday – Saturday: 7:00AM – 6:00PM
Sunday: 8:00AM – 5:00PM
Address: 9210 Sidehill Road
North East, PA 16428

Burch Farms WineryBurch Farms was our first stop on the tour and perhaps the most unusual winery. It is actually more of a farmer’s market with a wine corner in the back. Fresh pies and baked goods greet you upon entering, with fruits and veggies calling you away from the wine tasting. However, once you got over to the bar, there was plenty of wines to choose from.

Wines I Sampled:

  • Concord Wine: Sweet. Made from 100% Pennsylvania Concord grapes. You’ll experience intense grape flavors and aromas.
  • Steuben Wine: Table wine. Grown on the shores on Lake Erie.
  • Niagara Wine: Semi-sweet. Intense grape flavors and aromas! Tastes like freshly picked grapes.
  • Blue-Eyed Husky: Sweet. Made from frozen Vidal grapes – creating a very sweet grape dessert wine. Leaves you with a soothing feeling that lasts.Burch Farms Winery Sampling Area

Penn Shore Winery and Vineyards

Distance from Burch Farms Winery: 5.5 miles

lake erie wine country trail itinerary

Penn Shore Winery and Vineyards on the Lake Erie Wine Country trail.

Hours: September – June
Monday – Saturday: 9:00AM – 5:30PM
Sunday: 11:00AM – 4:30PM

July – August
Monday – Thursday: 9:00AM – 5:30PM
Friday & Saturday: 9:00AM – 8:00PM
Sunday: 11:00AM – 4:30PM

Address: 10225 East Lake Road
North East, PA 16428

Penn Shore Winery and VineyardsPenn Shore was a little disappointing because… well… it’s not on the shore. I was expecting to sip my glass of wine while dipping my toes into the picturesque lake… but nope. I had to settle for beautiful rows of grape plants instead. Another note of interest for this winery is that it includes a “self-guided tour,” meaning you can walk around and read some placards on the wall about its production history. You are also given free roam of their back warehouse area and scenic porch, which is fun to peruse.

Wines I Sampled:

  • Lambruscano: Semi-sweet. Soft, with a mellow taste.
  • Diamond: Semi-sweet. With a fruity character.
  • Bubbling Catawba: Pink. Carbonated with sweet fruity character.
  • Merlot: Smooth. Medium bodied dry red wine.
  • Noiret: Dry red. With light oak and black pepper overtones.

Penn Shore Winery and Vineyards


Mazza Vineyards

Distance from Penn Shore Winery and Vineyards: 3.7 miles

lake erie wine trail

Mazza Vineyards on the Lake Erie Wine Country trail.

Hours: July – August
Monday – Saturday: 9:00AM – 8:00PM
Sunday: 11:00AM – 4:30PM

September – June
Monday – Saturday: 9:00AM – 5:30PM
Sunday: 12:00PM – 4:30PM

Address: 11815 East Lake Road
North East, PA, 16428
800-796-WINE (9463)

Mazza VineyardsMazza is like the wine empire of the north. This is just one of their many breweries located along the region, each of which features a different kind of drink. Since this was their main headquarters, it had all of their basic wines. There were quite a lot to choose from, and unfortunately I forgot to mark down which ones I tried. Rookie mistake which I definitely repeated throughout the weekend.

Wines I Purchased

  • Pink Catawba: Sweet and fruity.
  • (Drew) Bare Bones Red: Dry. Fresh and simple blend of premium reds, hint of oak and smooth finish.

Mazza Vineyards


South Shore Wine Company

Distance from Mazza Vineyards: 2.5 miles

wineries around lake erie

South Shore Wine Company on the Lake Erie Wine Country trail.

Hours: May – October
Monday – Saturday: 10:00AM – 5:30PM
Sunday: 12:00PM – 4:30PM

July – August
Monday – Saturday: 10:00AM – 7:00PM

November – April
Monday – Friday: 12:00PM – 5:30PM
Saturday: 10:00AM – 5:30PM
Sunday: 12:00PM – 4:30PM

Address: 1120 Freeport Road
North East, PA 16428

South Shore VineyardsThis was our last stop of the day as time was running short. In fact, we basically had to speed taste all of our wines because we only had 10 minutes until they closed. It was sad, because this place was really cool! It was like the basement of some medieval castle or something. Also, it specialized in mead (it’s one of the specialized Mazza wineries), which was quite interesting to sample. I was we could have spent more time here as I probably would have got some fruity mead to take home – but there’s always next time! It was one of my favorite stops in Lake Erie Wine Country.

Yup, since you couldn’t take the wine menu with you, I definitely forgot to mark down what I had. Definitely several kinds of mead, however.

South Shore Vineyards

So concluded our first day of wine tasting. Check out the second day of our trip to see what wineries we hit up on Saturday!

Kristy Snyder

I'm a creative and quirky woman just looking to make her mark on the world. Writer, thinker, crafter, doer. Loves playing ice hockey and curling up with a good book. Traveling is a foremost passion and the road is always calling. Above all, I try to be an enjoyer of life.

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1 Response

  1. October 16, 2015

    […] Lake Erie Wine Country trip in one post, so here is part two. If you missed part one, go back and check it out here. Anyway, to sum things up, the Lake Erie area has a ton of wineries that you can travel to and […]

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