Lonz Winery reopens on Middle Bass Island after 17-year closure

June 23, 2017: The popular winery attracted tourist to the lakefront mansion for years before it closed in 2000 after a terrace collapsed, killing one and injuring dozens more. WKYC's Will Ujek has the story.

MIDDLE BASS ISLAND, Ohio -- For the first time in 17 years, Lonz Winery is open to the public.

The popular winery attracted tourist to the lakefront mansion for years before it closed in 2000 after a terrace collapsed, killing one and injuring dozens more.

The history of the property dates back more than 150 years, with the first wine cellar built there in 1863.

The islands were once the largest producer of wine in the country, and the mansion is on the national registry of historical places.

The state bought the property about a year after the collapse, hoping to preserve the history on the island. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has been carefully rebuilding it, and were able to preserve the cellars, the façade and the tower.

The upper level, however, wasn’t able to be saved, so it was used as a blueprint for a large patio area.

The state also added a pavilion with a fireplace, restrooms and trails, as well as re-leveled the marina for increased boat traffic.

The park will be open to the public every weekend this summer.

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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