Cheers to History on Mansfield’s Wine & Ale Trail
By Ohio.org Staff

Cheers to History on Mansfield’s Wine & Ale Trail

Take a step back into history on this 9-stop self-guided trail.

The Vault Wine Bar in Shelby

Weaving through Mansfield and the surrounding area, the Wine & Ale Trail guides you to a mix of breweries, wineries and wine bars each dedicated to honoring local history. Raise a toast to grand architecture in a historic bank vault, taste tradition in an old-world brewery and pay homage to “The Shawshank Redemption” (filmed in Mansfield) with themed wines and ales.

Cheers to history as you explore this nine-stop trail:

The Vault Wine Bar

You might find yourself choosing your next wine from inside a vintage bank vault. The Vault Wine Bar is well-known for both its preservation of the historic Citizens Bank of Shelby and for its diverse wines. The marble walls, 30-foot ceilings and the vault (which now holds wine bottles, not money) are all original features. The building’s grand architecture has been a point of local pride since 1911. In addition to keeping its history alive, owners Ben and Cindy Lash have earned a reputation for their menu. They offer 30 wines sold by the glass and over 150 sold by bottle of varieties both local and global, draft beers and an enticing selection of appetizers and entrees.

The Phoenix Brewing Company

In the heart of downtown Mansfield, The Phoenix Brewing Company is easy to spot – just look for a brick building with the fiery orange image of a phoenix framed in a gothic window. For Scott Cardwell, co-owner, this image represents Phoenix’s goal: to bring new life to the historic building with locally brewed craft beer. Coffin-shaped tasting trays and the well-maintained original features of the building hint that in 1914 this building was a mortuary. The Phoenix, like many stops on the trail, also pays homage to another piece of Mansfield lore — “The Shawshank Redemption.” Of their rotating menu offering 16 beers on-tap, a few reference the iconic film. The Rooftop Bohemian Style Lager mimics the style of beer given to inmates working on the roof in the movie; Rockhammer Session IPA, created just in time for the film’s 25th anniversary, is named for the tool Andy used to escape prison. Take your beverages outside on one of their two patios and enjoy the vibrant community atmosphere. In the summer, “The Brickyard,” Mansfield’s outdoor amphitheater right next to the brewery’s patio, hosts local food trucks and features live music.

Cypress Hill Winery

The trail is easy to navigate, as each stop is only a short drive away and some are within walking distance! Across the street from The Phoenix, you’ll find another culinary reincarnation of Mansfield history. A former 1920’s Hudson and Essex automobile showroom now houses the Hudson and Essex fine-dining restaurant and Cypress Hill Winery (located on the lower level). Silver accents and vintage photographs highlight the building’s history. The history runs deeper, though, because underneath the property lies historic stone caverns, once used to store beer during the prohibition-era. When renovations on the caverns are complete, the space will be open for tastings and private events. This stop offers fine-dining options, draft beer and locally made wine from 28 varietals of California grapes.

1285 Winery at the Blueberry Patch

Another winery whose architecture will have you swooning is 1285 Winery at the Blueberry Patch, which used to be a greenhouse built by the owner’s family. Fifty-seven trees grown on the 27-acre blueberry plantation were used to craft the rustic wood paneling. Wine makers have a long history of utilizing local ingredients, and this winery honors that tradition with summer fruit wines made from blueberries grown on-site. Traditional red and white wines are served as well. Make this stop into a full-day trip and visit the current greenhouse, pick your own blueberries on the plantation, wander the artisanal gift shop and eat at the restaurant or café. The winery offers their own wood-fired pizza. Don’t leave without trying the infamous blueberry donuts!

Uniontown Brewing Company

Don’t miss the newest addition to the trail, Uniontown Brewing Company, located in the historic Gilbert Furniture Store. Exposed brick and up-cycled features of the 169-year-old building bring a timeless feeling to the space and give life to this iconic aspect of Ohio’s history. Beer, brewed in-house, honors Uniontown’s roots. The Old Man Gilbert Vanilla Porter is named for one of the building’s original owners, and the Local 1386 Amber Ale celebrates the community with a nod to the Ashland fire department. Sip on a few over lunch or dinner.

Fox Winery

Feeling inspired by the local wines on the trail? At Fox Winery you can try your hand at making your own vintage. Once you’ve learned the process, you can purchase wine and beer making supplies to take home. For a more relaxing evening, sip a glass in the cozy sitting room of the renovated 1861 building. Or choose from 35 different wines to sample in the tasting room; some fruit wines are made from locally grown fruit and even jalapeños! The jalapeño wine, which can be enjoyed on its own or as Bloody Jalapenos or the wine margarita, is a customer favorite.

Wishmaker House Winery and Wine Bar

Make your Wine & Ale Trail trip a weekend-long adventure by ending the night at Wishmaker House Winery and Wine Bar. Housed in an 1890s home, this winery doubles as a quaint bed and breakfast. The space retains over a half-mile of original crown molding and features an ornate, hand-carved wooden front door. Transformed from a doctor’s home office to the Myers Wishmaker House Furniture Store and finally into a winery, bed and breakfast, and restaurant, this historic space embodies the ideals of preservation. Wines crafted on-site and a restaurant menu featuring locally grown ingredients contribute to the community-centric atmosphere.

The Happy Grape Bar & Bistro

Laxton Hollow Brewing Works shares a space with The Happy Grape Bar & Bistro, where you can find wines from around the world, numerous craft beers, and a full bar. Pair your wine with one the bistro’s notable dishes, “The Bartlett,” a flatbread pizza topped with garlic cream sauce, caramelized onions, pears, brie and Parmesan cheese. Spend time on the outdoor patio where a 40-foot mural showcases the creativity of local artists.

Laxton Hollow Brewing Works

Inside Laxton Hollow Brewing Works, the polished woodwork and framed photographs resemble an English pub. Here you’ll find rare cask ales, beer fermented naturally in steel casks without any artificial carbonation, just like in a traditional English pub. Laxton Hollow is one of only 14 breweries in the U.S. specializing in cask ale and the only one in the state. Prior to Prohibition all brewers conditioned ale this way, and owner Ken Dudley is passionate about preserving the historic process.

Some stops on the Wine & Ale Trail focus on showcasing local flavors. Others have fun with regional pride, referencing “The Shawshank Redemption” or paying homage to local heroes. Yet, one thread connects this diverse collection of wineries and breweries — a passion for keeping history alive. So, raise a glass to the authentic architecture, lively traditions and timeless tales that shape this trail! Cheers to history!

For more spirited fun this #WinterInOhio, check #OhioFindItHere at Ohio.org.

About the Author

Ohio. Find It Here. strives to make Ohio a destination of choice, enriching lives through authentic travel experiences. Ohio. Find It Here. aggressively positions Ohio as a relevant travel destination and supports Ohio’s tourism industry to drive economic prosperity throughout the state.