MIDDLE BASS ISLAND, Ohio— The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) proudly unveiled the restoration and preservation efforts that have been completed at the Historic Lonz Winery on Middle Bass Island State Park on Friday, June 23.
A ribbon cutting ceremony preceded tours of the more than 150 year old wine cellars that were opened for the first time to park visitors since being restored and will be open every weekend this summer. ODNR would like to invite the public to visit Ohio’s newest state park to explore the history of the island, the rebuilt Historic Lonz Winery, and the great views over Lake Erie.
With the first wine cellar built in 1863 on this property, these islands were once the largest producer of wine in the entire United States. Visitors came by boat from Detroit, Cleveland, even Buffalo to dance in the pavilions and visit the islands for over a century. Since the state acquired the Lonz Winery property more than 10 years ago there were many discussions about how to repair and properly utilize the property.
Visitors will experience the culmination of years of work on the island, including environmental remediation and shoring up the structure to ensure it stands for generations to come.
ODNR saved as much as the original structure as possible, including the cellars, the iconic Lonz Winery façade and the tower. Much of the winery upper levels could not be salvaged, but the footprint of the building is being utilized as a large patio that features great views of Lake Erie and Put-In-Bay. Additional completed projects include a pavilion with tables and fireplace, flush restrooms both inside and out, and multi-use trails.
To help with the increased visitors expected to visit Middle Bass Island State Park, ODNR also redeveloped the marina, which was originally built in the 1960s, to include seasonal dockage, a harbor master building and a new boat launch ramp.
Middle Bass Island State Park is a special place with a rich history and ODNR is excited to offer visitors an opportunity to enjoy this beautiful location.