Some destinations in the Buckeye state give travelers the feeling of being in another place. The Gervasi Vineyard, a premier winery and vineyard a mere two hours away in Canton, evokes the feeling of being in Tuscany. It is not just the breathtaking landscape surrounding the property, but it is their Italian heritage, which the Swaldo Family has integrated into every detail from the arched entry and the drive winding past the vineyard, to the Tuscan-inspired decor in the restaurants and villas. Every special touch contributes to an atmosphere where families can enjoy great wine and food with exceptional service.
“Our goal is to deliver world class excellence—excellence in regard to amazing cuisine and award-winning wines and excellence in our guests’ experience,” says General Manager Scott Swaldo. “World-class hospitality is a focus at our destination; this type of hospitality is not just reserved for venues in large cities. At Gervasi Vineyard, we exceed the guests’ expectations on every level. We designed a special entrance because we want guests to know from the moment they arrive, they are in for a special experience. Then our team works together to deliver on that expectation throughout their entire stay.”
One of the many team members who ensures expectations are exceeded is Executive Chef Jerry Risner, whose passion for cooking began as a child while he watched his grandmother prepare memorable homemade meals. His education continued as he worked at many top restaurants nationwide including French Laundry and La Follie in California, Greenbrier in West Virginia and Buckhead in Atlanta. After returning to the Canton area to be closer to family, he was offered the opportunity to pursue the executive chef position at Gervasi.
According to Risner, “The Gervasi dining experience starts the moment our guests arrive. Our culinary team goes above and beyond to satisfy each guest, and make their experience special. There is a great deal of planning and taste-testing that is invested into each menu at all four of our destination’s restaurants. Our goal is to maintain a level of uniqueness and individualism in each of our restaurants, yet we are always seeking new recipes and experimenting to improve each dish. When creating the menus, I also look for input from my chefs and listen to feedback from our guests.”
Of course, the award-winning wines provide the perfect pairing to the dining experience, and their medals are proudly displayed, including the latest from the 2016 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. The Abbraccio (cabernet sauvignon) brought home a double-gold and also won the prestigious Best In Class Cabernet. The Zin Zin (zinfandel) also won a double-gold medal.
“We are incredibly honored and proud of our showing at the recent Fingerlakes International Wine Competition,” says Scott. “Winning the Best in Class Cabernet Sauvignon, along with our other medals, is a testament to the outstanding work of our winemaker, Andy Codispoti, and his team.”
For an authentic Italian dinner at the Bistro, an exciting corporate outing, or a getaway at a lakeside villa complete with culinary classes and wine tastings, a trip to “Tuscany in Ohio” is only a couple hours away.