Heineman Winery is a singular Put-in-Bay institution. Nowhere else can you find a world class winery and a cave with the largest geode in the world. Head to Heineman’s for a truly unforgettable experience.
Heineman Winery History
The oldest winery on Put-in-Bay, Gustav Heineman founded Heinemans in the late 1800’s,. An immigrant from Germany, Gustav was already knowledge about wine making from his home country. He recognized the unique ecology of Put-in-Bay and decided to open his winery here. Lake Erie produces a tempering effect, which allows for a longer growing season and rich soil.
The winery opened in 1888. By 1900 there were already 16 more wineries on the island. However only Heineman’s would survive Prohibition. The Volstead Act was passed in 1919 and quickly did in all the other wineries.
Due to Heineman’s unique property and some quick thinking by Gustav’s son, Norman, Heineman’s got through this rough patch. Norman decided to sell tickets to the Crystal Cave as well as unfermented grape juice to bring in the money.
Heineman’s continues to be a family run business today. Louis, Edward and Dustin cultivate over 50 acres to make their delicious wine. The primary grapes are Concord and Catawba. Known as “wine to vine,” their process allows them a lot of control over their products.
Visiting the Winery
The Heineman Winery is a lovely place to visit. Tour both the vineyard and the cave. Learn about wine making and the different types of wine they offer and then head to the tasting room. Discover your new favorite type of wine and then enjoy a glass in the Wine Garden. They also provide cheese and snacks.
The Crystal Cave Gift Shop sells souvenirs and bottles of wine. Take a bottle of two home for dinner or gift them to friends back home. It’s the taste of the island!