Photos by Aditya Prahalad.

Ravenna – “Red Red wine, you make me feel so fine. You keep me rockin’ all of the time!” And, oh man, is the Wade family of West Main Street Winery rockin’ and hoppin’ because their juicy business has burst onto the scene! 

Jim, DeAnne and A.J. Wade have brought a significant sense of history and community pride to Ravenna in their renovation of the 1875 building where their winery now flourishes. After opening on May 18, 2018 all three hoped the business would do well, but never realized how much it would thrive. “I was hoping just to make it my retirement, but it turned into more,” Jim said. “The best way I can explain it is, I wasn’t expecting this to grow as much as it did. So, we had to hurry up and adjust as we grew.”

Adapting to the growth in popularity has kept the trio on their toes as they become inventive with different wine flavors, events/activities, entertainment, craft beer production and slushie options. They have seen positive growth in many areas of their united family endeavor Jim said. Occasionally, in the beginning they would run out of certain wines, but he has that down to a science now.

DeAnne mischievously describes her husband as a “mad scientist” when it comes to creating different flavors. The couple’s favorite part of cooking up new concoctions is the taste testing process. DeAnne playfully said, “when Jim comes up the stairs, hands me a glass and says, try this!” She knows it’s time to discuss the taste and color of the wine to see if it’s ready for bottling.

DeAnne is a former military wife with a background in banking and insurance and mother of three. Jim is a prior serviceman with 22 years in the engineering department of the Navy who proudly served his country in Operation Desert Storm. Their son A.J. followed in his Father’s footsteps by also working as a Navy engineer serving from 2004-2012. 

If you had asked this military family ten years ago what they’d be doing today it is very unlikely the answer would have been winery owners! It is a benefit to the community that they decided to take on the challenge of expanding a home hobby into a business because they don’t just sell wine and craft beers. They also team up with local restaurants to allow customers to bring in outside food to pair with a white Gewurztraminer or red Pinot Noir. It has brought in more economy to help Ravenna have a powerful resurgence because it is such a unique experience that few wineries embrace anymore!

The West Main Street Winery and other local businesses have created a symbiotic relationship by supporting and welcoming entrepreneurs. A.J. Wade explained they are big supporters of small business. The woodwork they sell in the retail area and use as the serving trays for their beer flights is made by Terry Starcher of Two T’s Woodshop and the coffee A.J. uses to flavor the beer is roasted by James Nichols of the Station Coffee Company. 

Father and son are very like-minded when it comes to reaching more demographics. Jim explains you’re always missing out on that 10% so they stay open to different ideas appealing to various types of people not normally found in a winery. Live music on Friday and Saturday nights, the ever-popular paint party, succulent-plant-making class and even the occasional psychic are all part of the package, where you can have a glass of Acai wine (which is DeAnne’s favorite). 

 A.J. says they were losing out on possible revenue because every so often a couple would come where one drinks beer the other likes wine, so they would go somewhere else. Three months ago, A.J.. who is self-taught, cured the problem by producing craft beers to reach that demographic. Currently, they offer six varieties and have the future goal of upping it to 12 different kinds of beer for the public to enjoy. “We are the only winery and brewery in Portage County,” he said proudly. Another future goal is to build a back deck for outdoor seating, tentatively planned for Spring 2020. 

A family-friendly and enjoyable time can be had by all at West Main Street Winery where you’ll feel right at home in the comfortable lounge area reading a book. Or visit with friends at one of high-top tables eating your Guido’s pizza and having your wine too! The interior is aesthetically pleasing, as the decor compliments the vintage atmosphere in shades of burgundy and beige with turn-of-the-century photos scattered throughout and a ceiling-high stone fireplace. 

Did I mention the wine?! The wine is superb! While the Wades are still new to the world of oenology and viticulture they do have future aspirations of entering competitions. He would like to enter wine tasting contests regionally to begin with, Jim said. 

Currently, he is preparing for the upcoming Autumn season. Have you ever heard of pumpkin wine? No? Well, neither had Jim, until he thought up the idea in his ‘mad scientist’ laboratory! Once it is fermented and bottled it is all yours to try and buy for a spooky good time! 

If you are at all interested, and I truly hope you are very interested, then come visit this shining grape of a winery at 234 W. Main St., Ravenna, Oh, 44266. Call 330-839-8042 or email wmswinery@icloud.com with any questions which are always welcome. Visit the Website at http://wmswinery.com/, Facebook page or Instagram for awesome upcoming events and hours of operation.