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Winery goes for the gold

Zoe Greszler • Aug 12, 2016 at 11:00 AM

When paired well, a good wine can make a good meal even better.

Norwalk’s D & D Smith Winery, owned by local residents Denny and Danielle Smith and located at 401 W. Main St., not only has been awarded for stocking and creating good wine, but some of the best in the state.

The business participated in the recent Ohio Wine Competition at Kent State University. 

“We entered eight wines this year in the competition and we got six awards. We’re pretty proud of getting all these awards,” Danielle Smith said.

The establishment, which offers 29 wines in addition to wine coolers, received one award in particular that made the husband-wife duo especially excited.

“(Our riesling wine) got a double gold this year,” Smith said.

“There were only 20 double golds given out this year. That means that all the judges agreed that it was a gold. So if there would be four judges that say that it’s gold and one that doesn’t, it would just be a gold. But when they do all agree they call it CG gold, which stands for concordance gold. So it’s when all the judges give a wine a gold designation.

“There were 20 awarded out of 250 entries. We’re pretty excited about ours,” she added. 

“We went down to the Ohio State Fair on Aug. 2 to represent our double gold, so we were down there for a few hours, talking to people about the wine and the winery. We have 29 different wines plus wine slushies, so we want to get the wines out there and get them noticed and pull people back into the Northern Ohio area.” 

The riesling is the winery’s top of the line option, according to the co-owner. 

“Our best wine, of course, I’m going to say is our double gold,” Smith said. “It does depend though on what you’re eating, whether you’re socializing or sitting down to a steak dinner, a chicken dinner. I would have (the riesling) with some grilled chicken.”

Denny and Danielle are proud of their other award winners too.

“Our sangiovese won the bronze this year, frontenac gris, is our only estate wine. We grow it about a mile up the road. That has a real light pink color and that got a bronze this year. Our peach (wine) … tastes just like you’re biting right into a peach got a bronze. The sangria (is) from fruits from our son’s yard. He bought a house and it had a whole bunch of fruit trees and he asked if he could make a sangria out of it and we said bring it on over. So that got a silver. The Apple Cinn got a silver this year,” Danielle Smith said.   

D & D was awarded silver, bronze and gold medals for its wine in previous years, but this marks their first CG. Smith said having a good tasting wine is all about what people are expecting from their drink.

“Everybody makes their own wine and they’re all uniquely made in their own way, so people (who) come here are coming here because they like the specific taste of wine that we make,” she said.

“People (who) go to other wineries go to those because it’s the taste that they like. Everybody has different tastebuds and every wine is going to taste different. It could be a riesling at five different wineries and they all taste different, so it really just depends on what the customer is looking for.” 

Danielle said she feels D & D puts a little extra love and care into their homemade wines though. The winery is in the middle of an expansion project, hoping to welcome more wine connoisseurs to their more rural location.

“We make everything here in stainless steel. We have 14 vats in the basement we use to make the wines here.

“Then with the addition, we have doubled the manufacturing and storage space. It’s not quite finished yet ... but we’ll get there. We’re pretty excited we have this addition going on so we’ll have more foods available in the near future and can focus on the restaurant portion and we do have the outdoor pavilion that people are sitting in and using already. At night time we have it all lit up with pretty white lights. It’s like Christmas time out there,”  she said.

Smith said the winery also is available to be booked and rented for speical events such as weddings or reunions. Anyone who is interested in D & D’s wines or location can call 419-577-0242.

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