The Press Newspaper
Tucked in the middle of a massive stretch of farmland in Helena, a village with a population of approximately 230 people located nine miles west of Fremont, is the Chateau Tebeau Vineyard & Winery.
Though it may sound like a cliché, Chateau Tebeau is something of a hidden treasure, a located right in the middle of a vast rural expanse – a locale that offers visitors a picturesque view of the Heartland.
The winery, which has been open to the public since Jan. 9, 2010, is open three days a week – from 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday and from 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday. Private tours available by appointment.
The establishment produces 13 kinds of wine, some of which include white (Pinot Gris, Maison Blanc), red (Merlot, Cabernet Franc) and fruit (peach, strawberry), which come in both dry and sweet forms.
Owners Bob and Mary Tebeau bought the property in 1996 after raising their two daughters in the Clyde-Green Springs area. The land, which encompasses 36 acres, is home to the Tebeau’s house, the winery and the vineyard along with a gazebo, a pond and a stream and a massive stretch of trees. A wind turbine helps generate electricity for the premises.
The property’s highlights include trails located throughout the woods, as well as the Japanese koi pond, which includes three waterfalls.
After moving to their new home 15 years ago, the Tebeaus soon realized that, while the limestone-laced soil was not ideal for farming, it was, in fact, suitable for producing a vineyard.
Since then, the couple has gradually garnered knowledge about the winemaking, learning more and more about the trade, doing extensive research on the subject, which included taking classes about viticulture and enology, sciences that deal with the cultivation of grapes and wine.
“About three years ago, we put in our first 300 vines – it (has) continued to develop. It (also) takes a while for the wine to get aged,” Mary said.
The time and energy invested seems to have been worth it thus far, as the couple is pleased with how things have gone over the establishment’s first 17 months in business.
“It’s been very well received,” Mary said. “We’re out there in the middle of nowhere, but we’re 20 minutes from everywhere – people from Fostoria, Findlay, Tiffin, Bowling Green, Sandusky and Clyde come here – we’ve been well-received and we’re really happy with our growth so far.”
And, now that the Tebeaus have recently retired from the nursing home industry, a business they were in for some 30 years, they have more time to focus on the winery.
“We recently sold our nursing home interests and are retired from that to do the winery full-time,” said Mary. “We’ll probably see the hours (of operation) extended.”
Besides operating the winery, the Tebeaus have been traveled to their share of wine-tasting competitions and have been awarded a combined seven medals (four bronze, three silver) in the past two years at both the Ohio Wine Competition and the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition.
They also travel around to some area wine festivals, some of which include the Riverside Wine Festival in Findlay, which takes place on June 25, and A Taste of Wine & Roses in Huron, which annually takes place in late June as well.
The company sells wine at five area locations, including Miller’s Super Valu (Clyde), Tina’s Country Market (Elmore), Marathon Station Carry-Out (Oak Harbor), Mike’s Party Mart (Bowling Green) and Wiegel’s Point (Sandusky).
The company’s website, http://chateautebeauwinery.com, is up-to-date and features a variety of links that detail, among other things, the Chateau’s wines, photos of the premises, as well as a menu, which includes pizza and cheesecake.
On Friday and Saturday evenings throughout the summer, the Tebeau’s host various musicians, featuring acts that cover several genres, ranging from country to jazz to classic music.
When asked how she maintains focus on her work, Mary Tebeau summed it up quite succinctly. “Find something you love to do and you won’t mind doing it.”
For more information on the winery, call 419-638-5411.
Mary and Bob Tebeau with Chef Keith Mosser welcome visitors to Chateau Tebeau Vineyard & Winery.