Hittin The Town at a Fulton County winery

Benfield Wines is in downtown Swanton.
Making wine is an art form, and one they’ve been perfecting at Benfield Wines in Swanton for the last 7 years, but it’s about a lot more than vino here.
Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 9:47 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 11, 2022 at 9:49 PM EST
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SWANTON, Ohio (WTVG) - You might not think of Ohio as a wine country, but it is. Hundreds of wineries dot the Ohio landscape, with some of them in our corner of the state.

Making wine is an art form, and it’s one they’ve been perfecting at Benfield Wines in Swanton for the last seven years - but it’s about a lot more than vino here.

Julia Benfield and her husband, Rob, have grown the business from the ground up.

“Benfield wines is a boutique winery. We’ve been in business since 2015. We started out of our house in a small room, making win for friends and online sales.”

It all started because Rob jokingly said Julia was spending too much money on wine at the grocery store and that he could make it cheaper. They now make everything from ports to sweet and dry wines. “We have cabernet and syrah, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc for the dry and a dry Riesling. For sweets, we use a dry base so they are not too sweet. We have a cranberry syrah, a blackberry Merlot, a peach chardonnay, and a Swanton strawberry which is a zinfandel,” Rob Benfield said.

All those wines are crafted in one of Swanton’s most historic buildings. “This used to be the Pilliod Opera House. It was built in 1896. There is tons of history and beautiful architecture here. We love being in Swanton,” Rob said.

So just how do you make wine?

“So it’s essentially juice we get from California. We make all our wine on site. We add yeast, stir and let it sit and you wait. Wine does what it wants, so we are on its time frame,” Rob said.

And there are all kinds of events to mix with your wine here.

“We have live music on Friday and a lot of Saturdays. We have rock star bingo on Wednesdays. We have food classes to make things like soup, charcuterie boards, and holiday appetizers, and we have all kinds of painting classes. A medium joins us about six times a year.”

For the Benfield’s, it’s all about collaboration.

“We like to have lots of other local businesses involved in what we’re doing, and then people get to know them as well,” Rob said.

When it comes to the classes and events, Julia says the wine helps calm your nerves if you’re not feeling creative.

“I think the wine makes you relax and have more fun. It makes you not care about making mistakes. We have amazing artists to help tutor you as you go through,” Julia said.

So what started as a hobby has turned into a passion and a business. And the Benfield’s love sharing their concoctions in a place they love. “It is great to see people enjoying the space we have created through a lot of hard work. We love that.”

Benfield Wines is open Tuesday through Saturday. It’s on Main Street in downtown Swanton. And it is truly a family affair. The Benfield’s adult children are involved in a lot of aspects of the business, too.

To learn more about the wine and events, click here.

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