In 1980 Breitenbach Wine Cellars was built by winemaker, owner Duke Bixler. The name “Breitenbach” is German meaning “bright or broad stream”- the name of the stream that runs through the winery grounds. Initial production at Breitenbach was 1,500 gallons of grape and fruit wine. After several expansions Breitenbach now produces over 40 varieties of grape and fruit wines with an annual result of over 150,000 gallons. Over the years, Duke, along with his wife, Cynthia and daughters Anita and Jennifer have kept the quality of Breitenbach alive.
Three of the original labels of Frost Fire, Roadhouse Red and First Crush continue to be the most popular wines. In 2001 Frost Fire was named best-of-class and gold medal at the Los Angeles County Fair Wine Competition. The name “frost fire” gets its origins from the effect that the sun makes as it glistens through ice on the trees in the winter. In 1985 First Crush, a sweet blush, was awarded the winery’s first gold medal at the Eastern International Wine Competition. “Roadhouse Red” has been named “an example of American greatness” at the Jefferson Cup Invitational in Virginia.
In addition to Labrusca varieties Breitenbach also produces some outstanding Viniferas as well. Whites include Viognier- which won gold and best of class at Pacific Rim Competition in 2007, a dry and a sweet Riesling and reds Cabernet, Merlot, Shiraz, Zinfandel and Sangiovese. Festival., the winemaker’s Italian-style blend won the gold medal from the American Tasting Institute in San Francisco in 2000.
An unusual wine that has been a mainstay for Breitenbach is Dandelion wine. In keeping with the “country wine” tradition, local Amish families handpick the dandelion blossoms to create the sweet wine. The first weekend in May, Breitenbach hosts their Annual Dandelion May Fest and National Dandelion Cookoff on the winery grounds. Cellar tours, dandelion food and wine sampling is available as well as activities and entertainment.
Each year thousands of guests visit Breitenbach Wine Cellars making it “one of the most visited wineries in the country”. The gift shop also serves as a tasting room. The deli case features gourmet foods as well as locally made cheeses and smoked meats. Café Breitenbach is open for wine by-the-glass, gourmet salads, panninis and desserts.
Breitenbach Wine Cellars is located between Dover and Sugarcreek just 5 minutes west of I-77 on State Rt. 39.