Uncork and ‘unwine’ in Champaign County

By Sara Neer

Gently rolling countryside, robust farmland, charming small towns, family-owned businesses, and local wine. Discover all of this and more on seven stops along the Champaign County Wine Trail!

We invite you to start your experience in the northern part of the county on North US Highway 68. The home of the largest selection of wines in the area, Mad River Farm Market is your first stop where you can order lunch or dinner in the bar/restaurant. Pick out a bottle of wine from their vast selection of Ohio wines and take it home or enjoy it with your meal. Don’t miss the gift shop where you will find gift ideas of all kinds ranging from local foods to home decor and clothing. Carry out and curbside pickup is available at this charming one stop shop.

Travel a few minutes south and you will find one of Champaign County’s newest and most loved businesses, Dragonfly Vineyard and Wine Cellar. Visit this 4-acre vineyard in the Mad River Valley that produces its wine in its own onsite wine cellar from grapes that originate from its own estate vineyard as well as local and national vineyards. In the colder months a fireplace keeps you warm and cozy and in the warmer months sit among the vines and enjoy the view or call ahead/pre-order online for curbside pickup. Make sure you sample their award-winning Estate Cabernet Franc that recently received an honor from the Ohio Wine Producers Association.

Jump back on Highway 68 and head down the road to the largest indoor fish hatchery and the largest producer of fresh trout products in Ohio. At Freshwater Farms of Ohio, their well-known retail store is bursting at the seams with gifts, local foods, and local wine. Ask about their popular smoked trout spreads and take home a bottle of wine that pairs wonderfully with the assortment of Ohio cheeses that are also available. Freshwater Farms of Ohio is passionate about supporting local food and products. An online store and curbside pickup is available.

The next stop on the Wine Trail takes you to the heart of Champaign County in historic downtown Urbana. At Cafe Paradiso, you will find a little piece of Tuscany with a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. Sip on a glass of vino while you enjoy a plate of freshly prepared Italian food. Cafe Paradiso offers complete lunch, dinner, and wine menus where you will find a flavor for any occasion. They also offer a dine at home option if that is your preference.

While in historic downtown Urbana and the larger Monument Square District, venture to Teabaggers on North Main Street for a lunch stop or to shop their extensive selection of coffees and teas or to enjoy a beverage from the espresso bar. Enjoy a salad, a panini, a specialty or classic sandwich, a cup or bowl of homemade soup, a pastry, or the cheesecake of the day. While enjoying your meal, share a bottle of wine or enjoy your own glass of fine wine from their varied selection.

The remaining two stops on the Champaign County Wine Trail take you to the eastern part of the county to the village of Mechanicsburg. Mixx 165 is a hidden gem that offers an extensive lunch and dinner menu. In addition, Mixx 165 is focused on craft beer selections with new selections being offered weekly on rotating taps, including a strong focus on Ohio craft beer. In addition to the craft beers on tap, an extensive wine collection is available, including many Ohio wines. Consider going on “Wine Wednesday” where select bottles of wine are half off.

As you head into the countryside you will be greeted with more beautiful views and winding country roads that lead you to Folck Winery. Here, micro-wines are made from hand-picked berries grown on their small, family farm. Choose from a variety of strawberry, red raspberry and blackberry wine as well as artisan jam and honey that are also available. At Folck Winery, the tasting room is available by appointment and curbside pickup is available by calling the winery.

For more information about the Champaign County Wine Trail and other ideas for exploring Champaign County contact the Visitors Bureau at 937-653-5764 or go to visitchampaigncounty.com. When visiting, explore our other tourist trails and enjoy an overnight stay at one of our local lodging establishments.

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By Sara Neer

Sara Neer is the Executive Director of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau.

Sara Neer is the Executive Director of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau.