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Hidden Trails Wine Cellar:
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Park District’s newest venture offers a taste of wines from around the world in an historic 1800s barn
By Carol McIntire
Mixing the history and atmosphere of a restored early 1800s barn with the experience of savoring the taste of wines from around the world is the goal of the Carroll County Park District with its newest venture: Hidden Trails Wine Cellar at Bluebird Farm Park.
The goal of Park District Director Dale Alexander, his wife, Laura, and a group of volunteers, is to provide a wine tour of the world for guests from the beauty of the barn, gardens and trails at Bluebird Park with monthly themed events in the wine cellar.
The first event is planned Jan. 12. Themed “Down Under,” guests will sip a three-glass flight of wines from Australia, Chile and Argentina as they savor selected meats, cheeses and edible adornments from an in-house created charcuterie board. Laura explained the history of charcuterie boards dates back hundreds of years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that America caught up with the trend. Today the board consists mainly of meats and cheeses; however a common practice is to include bread, fruit, nuts and condiments such as honey or mustard, pickles and olives or jams, just as the staff does at Hidden Trails Wine Cellar.
For many years, Bluebird has been known for its restaurant and dining opportunities. The board recently voted to move in a new direction.
“We’ve been focused on what would work as far as a restaurant at Bluebird for the last 10 years,” Dale explained, sitting at one of the wine barrel tables in the wine cellar, located on the lower level of the barn that housed the gift shop at Bluebird for several years.
“The winery really started as a brainstorming session,” Laura added.
“We came up with an idea, reached out to owners of wineries, some of whom had provided suggestions several years ago,” Dale chipped in.
“It took about four weeks for it to come to life,” said Laura. “The first week consisted of brainstorming, the second week, buying Murphy’s Oil Soap and going to work in the basement level; the third week was buying decorations and the fourth week was putting them up. We invited the park board for an evening at the wine cellar and received approval to move forward.”
Public events are planned the second Wednesday of each month, beginning with the January “Down Under” tour, followed by the February “Taste of Tuscany” with Italian wines, the March “European Flights” featuring wines of Germany, France and Spain and the April “East Coast/West Coast” tour with wines from California and New York. A “Local Harvests” featuring Ohio wines is also planned.
Staff will intermingle information on the wines, their flavors and type (dry, slightly sweet or sweet) with information on the area of the world where they originate.
“Our intention is to share the flavors of wine with guests and provide them with a relaxing evening,” Laura stated.
The couple, in conjunction with the park district board, has plans to expand the seating to the porch area and nearby garden in the spring, while acknowledging winter hours will be for reserved groups with the intent of expanding hours in the spring and fall.
“We’re going to go slow with this project. We want to do things right and are looking for a microbrewer or microbrewery to partner with in the future,” Dale explained.
Seating is limited to 20 guests and reservations for the world tours are required.
Sip and savor events are also planned for private groups of up to 20 people as well.
To schedule an event, make reservations for a monthly themed event or for additional information, call 330-627-8046 or email [email protected].
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