Couple opens Holmes County’s first winery
by Ohio's Amish Country
Since the spring of 2001, Scott Buente and his wife Kathy have been operating the French Ridge Vineyard on their property west of Killbuck.
After over a decade of harvesting their grapes and selling them to various wine makers, Scott and Kathy are opening their estate and their products to the public for the first time in the form of the French Ridge Winery. It will be the first winery to be owned and operated inside Holmes County.
When the couple first planted the vineyard, they began modestly with just two types of grapes. In the 11 years that have passed since, it has evolved into one of the largest vineyards in the tri-county area. French Ridge spans eight acres, 5,000 vines, and eight different grape types. When asked what prompted them to get into the business, Kathy responded with a smile, “We blame it on my mother. She always told us, ‘You have all this land, why don’t you do something with it?’ So we did!”
Scott and Kathy knew from the start, though, that they were not just planting vines as a hobby. Scott grew up on a vineyard in New York and brought with him to Ohio years of experience in growing grapes. Owning and operating his own vineyard was a dream of his, and his passion spread to Kathy quickly. In fact, it was her idea to start making their own wine. She recalled thinking, “We are putting in the work, why not enjoy the fruits of our labor?”
Scott and Kathy, both of whom juggle full-time jobs along with vineyard duty, currently have the French Ridge Winery open Thursday nights, Fridays, Saturdays, and summer holidays. They produce a total of 14 different wine varieties, some of which are seasonal. Guests are able to sample any wines on-hand and will be free to explore the vineyard during winery hours. They will also offer guided tours upon request and are making the facility available for events and private parties. French Ridge Vineyard and Winery is located at 2586 TR 34, Killbuck. Any inquiries can be directed to the couple at 330-377-4962.