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Wine and Dine: A trip to Gervasi is like visiting Italy—no passport needed

Regina Fox

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You know, work in the morning, have a one-hour nap in the afternoon, and at night go out and have that life. Go out and see your friends and eat tapas and drink red wine and be in a beautiful place.”

Anthony Bourdain said that, and while he was probably referring to life in Venice or Tuscany, he could’ve very easily been talking about a trip to Gervasi Vineyard—of course without the “work in the morning” part.

This picturesque wine resort in Canton, Ohio will transport you out of the sunless scenes of Ohio’s winter and into a 55-acre European retreat with its delicious wine, delectable food, and delightful accommodations.

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Ted Swaldo and his family, whose roots trace directly back to Italy, purchased the property in 2009. With a dream and some elbow grease, the Swaldos transformed the dilapidated plot into a handsome estate, complete with a winery, distillery, four distinct restaurants, a coffeehouse and cocktail lounge, multiple indoor and outdoor event venues, 48 luxury overnight suites, a boutique gift shop, and scores of happy guests.

“It starts with setting a high standard,” explained Scott Swaldo, General Manager and son of Ted Swaldo. “Our goal every day is to deliver world-class experiences, not just first class, for our guests. We have empowered our staff to go above and beyond to wow our guests in many ways.”

As you may expect from a vineyard, Gervasi places paramount importance on its winemaking. Calling the process “fastidious,” Director of Winemaking and Distilling Operations Andrew Codispoti doesn’t miss a blanc or beat in his craft.

“We nurture our estate vineyards by hand so as to produce the finest Family Reserve Wines possible,” Codispoti said. “Our wines have the distinction of being served in an elegant ambiance of natural beauty, comfort, and luxury, which collectively elevate our guest’s overall experience.”

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Codispoti has been with Gervasi from the beginning, when the first seeds in the vineyard were planted. In addition to continuously polishing the design and development of the winery, he’s grown the portfolio from seven wines in 2009 to today’s award-winning list of 24 during his tenure. Among those accolades are the “Best of Class” award in both the Ohio and Finger Lakes wine competitions, the Ohio Department of Agriculture Director’s Choice Award for “Best of,” and the 2016 “Ohio Winemaker of the Year” award.

“Great wine is not an accident,” said Codispoti.

While Codispoti can’t single out a favorite wine, saying he “finds plenty of opportunity to take pleasure” in them all, Swaldo recommends Gervasi’s full-bodied signature Italian red, Truscano. He believes it is best enjoyed with great Italian food, which, conveniently, is available in abundance at the estate.

The Bistro, for example, offers upscale, rustic Italian cuisine in a stunning restored barn built in 1823. Exposed brick, natural woods, and low lighting make the environment swell with warmth in a way that evokes feelings of permanency and longevity, Codispoti said. It is here that Swaldo’s favorite dish is served: the Tuscan Beef Short Ribs. Braised for four hours in a rich veal demi-glace, this tender entree was what landed Executive Chef Jerry Risner his job back in 2009. Moreover, Risner’s attention to detail, consistency and hospitality earned The Bistro a USA Today “10 Best Readers’ Choice Award” for “Best Winery Restaurant” in the nation.

“We have not settled; we continue to try to improve on everything we do,” Risner said. “After 10 years, I’m still visiting farms to see different products and checking vendors to make sure we are buying the best products that we can.”

Aside from The Bistro, Gervasi is home to three more restaurants: The Crush House, The Still House, and The Piazza.

For those desiring a more casual experience, Codispoti suggests The Crush House, which is adjoined to a wine manufacturing operation. “Tubular handrails, steel cables, brick walls with a time-worn appeal and windows overlooking the winery give our guests an integrated experience between food, wine, and production,” he said. “Here one may feel they are at the epicenter of Gervasi’s wine experience.”

You’ll find a chapel in every good Italian village, and Gervasi is no exception. Inspired by the St. Gervasio church in Denno, Italy, where the family’s grandmother Maria Gervasi was baptized, The Still House combines a celestial environment with distillery entertainment. Guests can enjoy signature coffee blends and a light breakfast by day, while snacks and tempting libations concocted from Gervasi Spirits can be had at night.

If you’re fortunate enough to visit Gervasi during clement conditions, The Piazza features seasonal outdoor dining for lunch and dinner with stunning views of Gervasi’s spring-fed lake. Grab a bottle of wine, a fresh-baked pizza, and challenge your friends to a game of bocce or cornhole on the lawn.

As your long day of award-winning wining and prize-earning dining comes to an end, you’ll be pleased to retire to one of your three options for luxurious lodging: The Villas, rustic suites inspired by the sights of Tuscany; The Casa, Gervasi’s upscale boutique hotel; or The Farmhouse, a four-bedroom inn originally built in 1830. No matter where you choose to stay, Gervasi staff ensures that each guest feels like they’re getting an experience tailored just for them.

“Guests celebrating special events with us are always acknowledged,” said Susan Monteleone, Director of Hotel and Resort Operations. “Be it a handwritten card in your room commemorating the special event, to chocolate-covered strawberries in room upon arrival, or maybe a floral bouquet celebrating the occasion.”

That’s really what it comes down to at Gervasi: the meticulously-minded employees who transcend traditional hospitality standards to deliver exceptional encounters to all who visit.

“While Gervasi is built upon providing beautiful surroundings, attention to detail, and exceptional wine and food, ultimately what makes Gervasi Vineyard special is our incredible staff,” said Swaldo. “We have built a culture of caring for our guests, caring for each other that provides our guests with memorable experiences to last a lifetime.”

Gervasi is located at 1700 55th Street NE in Canton, OH. For more information, rates, and reservations, visit gervasivineyard.com.

When I'm not weaving a beautiful tapestry of words, I'm likely digging through jewels and vinyls at an antique shop near you.

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Arts & Culture

Virtual Experiences bring culture to our couch

614Now

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Now that we're all stuck at home for the foreseeable future, we could use some entertainment beyond hours of Netflix bingeing. And yes, Carole probably did it*

WOSU Public Media has come to the rescue by putting together a list of local, virtual experiences to enjoy from the safety and comfort of your bunker. Here's a list of just a few upcoming events ranging from music to the arts.

Sunday, March 29
Columbus Symphony’s Russian Winter Festival – The Columbus Symphony broadcasts its Russian Winter Festival ll concert, featuring masterpieces by Prokofiev, Borodin, Rimski-Korsakov, and Tchaikovsky at 1 p.m. on Classical 101.

Columbus Goes Live – The Cyber Festival –  A virtual entertainment experience streaming across different pages to support local performers who are directly impacted by the critical shutdowns of venues during the COVID-19 outbreak. Join in and make history by supporting your favorite bands, comedians and performers in the Columbus area.

Why not a virtual bar?

Brewdog is even getting in on the act with its upcoming, Brewdog Online Bar. They plan to "open" for business at 6pm on Friday, March 27th. The bar plans to feature live beer tastings with our co-founders James and Martin and other beer experts, homebrew masterclasses, live music & comedy and more.

Brewdog will be sharing further details soon and a complete schedule of the events on their Twitter and Instagram accounts.

*Carole, as in this Carole.

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8 things to do this week that don’t involve human contact

614now Staff

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It is a strange time to be alive, Columbus. With the concerns and cases of coronavirus on the rise, you may be feeling worried, fearful, and/or unsure of what to do.

In addition to washing your hands to protect you from the virus, you may want to consider being more of an inside person this week. To curb cabin fever, consider these eight activities to keep you occupied indoors.

Plan a getaway

Once the threat of coronavirus is over, which Gov. Mike DeWine assured would happen in yesterday's address, you'll be ready to get the hell out of Columbus. Consider planning a trip to one of the Scarlet Oaks cabins, Gervasi Vineyard in Canton, Yellowsprings, or the birthplace of bourbon!

Schedule a whacky road trip

Already have a vacation on the books and worked into your budget? No problem! Opt for a cheaper, shorter adventure with one of the destinations highlighted in our Worth The Drive series: Buckeye Express Diner in Bellville, Kewpee Hamburgers in Lima, Cincinnati's Hathaway's Diner, Dietsch Brothers chocolate in Findlay, and Waldo’s G&R Tavern.

Test your Columbus knowledge

You're sick of all your board games and you hate the idea of spending another weekend in front of the tube. Liven up your entertainment with Columbus trivia! What is the hottest month on average? What is Hilliard's median household income? What year did the Kahiki close? See how well you know your fine city.

Binge local podcasts

Not only do podcasts entertain, inform, and engage you, they're also great to binge while multitasking. Podcast + mopping the kitchen? No problem. Podcast + walking the dog? Easy. Podcast + julienning veggies? Careful… but definitely possible. Be sure to support local podcasters! We're sure you can find something that'll pique your interest in the list below.

Get hooked on knitting

What better time to dive into your hobby than a worldwide viral outbreak? And though cold weather is almost completely behind us, it's never too early to get a jumpstart on those Christmas gifts. Click the button below to learn more about where to find materials and resources.

Explore the pasta-bilities of a home-cooked meal

You’re probably hungry after all that knitting. Flex on the fam by whipping up a delectable home-cooked Italian meal. You'll have to slip out of the house to grab your groceries from famed local market Carfagna’s, but trust us, it'll be worth it.

Get hyped for Ohio State Buckeyes 2020-21 season

With no spring game to rev your engine pre-season, you may be feeling a Buckeyes football void right about now. To help plug it until the opener against Bowling Green on Sept. 5, check out old Ohio State hype videos below. O-H!

Read the latest issue of (614) Magazine

The physical copies of the March issue of (614) Magazine are flying off the racks, but you don't have to go out into the world to read it. To learn more about the Columbus esport revolution, the latest food and drink news, and other updates in the community, click the button below to read the digital issue.

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Listen Local: 10 Columbus podcasts to binge

Regina Fox

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The thing with binging TV is that you have to be using two senses at once to be engaged: sight and hearing. That really cuts down on the possibilities of getting other things done simultaneously. But, podcasts on the other hand require only one sense—hearing—so the productivity possibilities are exponentially greater.

Podcast + mopping the kitchen? No problem. Podcast + walking the dog? Easy. Podcast + julienning veggies? Careful... but definitely possible.

That, plus the power of spoken word has the ability to inform, entertain, and inspire you unlike any other media.

Now that we've presented a great case for podcasts, consider subscribing to one made right here in Columbus.

The Rock Doc Chronicles

Interviews, Current Events, Entertainment

Being the on-call doctor to some of your favorite musical acts comes with a lot of stories. Dr Randy Sharma (@rockdocohio) sits down with some of his famous patients to discuss whatever comes to mind.

Ohio v. The World

Culture, History, Places & Travel

An Ohio History podcast, hosted by Alex Hastie.

Rogue Squadron Podcast

Culture, Entertainment, Hobbies

Star Wars Comedy, craft beer, gaming, and more. It’s the rowdiest podcast in the galaxy!

Momcast

Culture, Entertainment, Self-Help

Columbus, Ohio moms Mindy Drayer, Mikaela Hunt, and Stacy McKay discuss everything relating to being moms and parenting on weekly installments of the Momcast.

Columbus' Entrepreneurs' Podcast

Business, Entrepreneur

Columbus Entrepreneurs’ Podcast is primarily for members of the Columbus, Ohio chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). The stories are inspiring and focus on core principles of EO, including speaking from experience instead of advice giving, building peer learning experiences, and focusing on the top and bottom 5% of our lives.

Chatimals

Entertainment, Hobbies

Chatimals is the nature podcast where information meets imagination. Each episode covers one kind of animal with an eye out for all the goofy, surprising animal facts.

The Sounds of Bustown

Culture, Entertainment, Music

A bi-weekly podcast featuring interviews about the musical creation process with people in the music scene in Columbus, OH.

Thrive and Connect

Culture, Self-Help

How to live your life in a more genuine, simpler manner and develop abundance in all aspects – yourself, family & friends, and business relationships.

Columbus! Something New

Culture, Entertainment, Places & Travel

Why do we do what we do? Why does C!SN exist?

  • To introduce listeners to local entrepreneurs and big thinkers
  • To be a conduit between community and events, museums, and new experiences
  • To be a value to entrepreneurs as we broadcast them to the world
  • To be a value to listeners as we expand their world and bring them new ideas

The Digital Analytics Power Hour

Business, Technology

Each episode is a closed topic and an open forum – the goal is for listeners to enjoy listening to Michael and Tim share their thoughts and experiences and hopefully take away something to try at work the next day.

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