Heineman Winery is a Put-in-Bay island tradition dating back over 125 years. Here, guests can get a taste of the Lake Erie Islands. Heineman’s is the only winery on the island that makes the wine they sell.
Heineman Winery History
An immigrant from Baden, Germany, Gustav Heineman founded the winery in 1888. The optimal soil conditions made South Bass Island a hotbed for grape growing and wine production. Moreover, at this time there were many wineries on the island. In fact, by 1900, there were 17 wine producers. However, change was on the horizon. After the passage of the Volstead Act, the sweeping reforms of Prohibition hit the wineries hard. Fortunately, Heineman Winery was able to survive. They did so by offering tours of Crystal Cave, located under the winery. This cave boasts the World’s largest geode. Here, guests can tour the cave. Interestingly, the crystals were once harvested for firework production. Consequently, the size of the cave grew over the years. Additionally, the family sold grape juice and provided taxi service to Crystal Cave.
Today, the wine making tradition of the Heineman family lives on. Both third, fourth and fifth generation family members are actively involved in the business. Now, they cultivate 50 acres of land on Put-in-Bay for wine production. So, they have great control from vine to wine. Grapes grown on the island are predominantly Catawba and Concord. These varietals are used in making their signature grape juice and many popular wines.
Heineman Winery Hours of Operation
- May 5th – September 25th 11 AM – 5 PM
Open Daily Mid April – Mid October 11 AM – 7 PM
Sunday 12 PM – 7 PM
Lauren B: “I really enjoyed the in-depth tour that walks you through the steps of production. I appreciate that they happily answer questions. I’m amazed at what it takes and how this small team produces so much. The family is very friendly and takes pride in their product. The tasting room is very popular. You get a small sample with the tour. Grape juice is available for kids and non-drinkers. The ice wine is the most expensive, being made out of frozen grapes from the first frost. Many wines of differing dryness available. Shipping to any location in Ohio only and delivery to the boat available. The over 21 crowd can enjoy the beer garden. There is also a small gift shop.”
Nicholas T: “Fantastic experience and family friendly too! The tour is $8 and includes the cave tour, wine tour, and a glass of wine or grape juice – the grape juice is divine. And they have wines for even the most stubborn of “I don’t like wine” people. Highly recommend this stop if you are going to Put-in-Bay.”
Joe B: “Fantastic winery. Good selection. They have a tour that is very good. Much of it is grown on the island. They also have grape juice from concord and Catawba grapes. It is a must stop for us. They also give you a discount if you buy multiple and they will deliver it to the ferries.”
A trip to the island is not complete without tasting some of the local spirits at this great thing to do on Put-in-Bay. The rich traditions and delicious wines keep guests coming back. So, be sure to include Heineman Winery on your next adventure to the island.