A fair number of readers send me e-mails and letters, and sometimes the readers are even people I know. One day, for example, I received a large postcard. On the front was a picture of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the most famous building in Cleveland (some might say the only famous building in Cleveland). On the back was a note from my old college pal Jeff Ehrbar. Jeff had become interested in wine and even read my column. But he took issue with what he perceived to be my New York bias: “You New Yorkers think the only people who drink wine live in New York or California. You know, we drink wine in Cleveland, too.” Jeff is a fourth-generation Clevelander (“on both sides”) and a magistrate in the Cuyahoga County courts. His wife, Diane, is from a prominent Cleveland family, and their son, Eli, is also Cleveland-born. In other words, Jeff has real Cleveland bona fides. So when he challenged me to come to Cleveland “and see a real American wine city,” I had to accept.
- Cleveland’s Top Wine Spots
- Food Across America: Cleveland, OH
- 48 Hour Cheat Sheet: Cleveland, OH
- Five Fast Snacks
There were other reasons, beyond Jeff’s civic-mindedness, to consider Cleveland as a possible great wine city. It has culture (the Cleveland Museum of Art, the famed Cleveland Orchestra) and excellent hospitals that attract people from all over the world (the Cleveland Clinic, Case Medical Center). Most directly, over the past few years, several area restaurants have won F&W’s Best New Wine List awards.