DELAWARE, Ohio (WCMH) — A family of seven recognized the loss of a job as an opportunity to pursue a hobby full-time.
Sandi and Steve Weddington took that chance in 2013 after dabbling in wine-making during the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009.
“Our name comes from, we blend wine and we’re a blended family of seven,” Sandi said.
That makes for Blend of Seven Winery. After the couple opened a tiny storefront for wine tasting, Steve lost his full-time job. They quickly outgrew their building and purchased their current location on Stratford Road in Delaware.
“All the shiny stuff you’re seeing is water,” Steve said. “This is what the building looked like.”
The couple will show anyone the before and after photos from an album. The rehab project took most of a year to complete. The building had water damage and other issues that needed serious cleaning.
Today, the couple has 33 wines and all of them are made in the back room of the building. They purchased a majority of their juice from Ohio vineyards and a few flavors from California and Italy.
“Our philosophy has always been, we try to let the grape shine,” Sandi said. “Whatever flavor is there, we don’t want to hide that with smoke. We don’t want to hide it with oak, we don’t want to hide it with sweeteners.”
The blending is important to the family since every wine they make is named after a relative.
“We try different ways to enhance that flavor,” Sandi said.
Steve blames his wife for the business.
“I tell everybody, ‘I have a wife.’ I was never a wine drinker. It’s all her fault,” he laughingly said. “I just fell in love with the atmosphere of wineries. I fell in love with making wine.”
When you stop in, Steve is typically out front greeting customers. His welcoming smile and grey beard are the perfect touches to make customers feel like they are guests.
“I love people. They come in from all over the place,” he said. “One of the first things I ask them is where are they from. It’s just fun to have conversations.”
The Blend of Seven Winery offers numerous “comfort food” options on the menu to complement the in-house wines. Two of the highlights are pizza and loaded potato chips.
The pizza is baked in a real pizza oven and not on a conveyor belt, making sure the cheese runs off the crust and gets that crispy well-done flavor on the side.
The loaded potato chips are topped with smoked pulled pork, homemade Thai barbecue sauce, and the cheese is as gooey as you’d expect.
Blend of Seven Winery has its hours available on the website, where you can also find the family’s full menu of wines and food.
Wine industry in Ohio
The popularity of wineries and vineyards is bustling as there are more than 373 of them around the state, including many in central Ohio. The week of Feb. 27, NBC4i.com will post a series of reports on the industry:
- Tuesday: Tracing Ohio’s wine heritage over 200 years
- Wednesday: Hobby turns into career for Delaware couple
- Thursday: Retired teacher turns to winemaking in Grove City