Lake Erie Wine with Distinction™
The Artisan Touch
Conneaut Cellars Winery & Distillery has a tradition of excellence and offers a broad spectrum of tastes with wines, specialties (ports, sparkling wines, and vermouth), ciders, and distilled spirits. Since our inception in February 1982, Conneaut Cellars has earned over 655 awards for our products. See Awards Page
Conneaut Cellars prefers the small batch, artisan approach to winemaking and distilling. We perform all of the winemaking and distilling operations at our 7,200 square foot facility in Conneaut Lake, PA, blending traditional artisan methods with the latest techniques to give our customers the highest quality products at an affordable price. Honoring our area's rich wine heritage, we use local grapes from the heart of the Lake Erie grape-growing region and local grains from western PA, when available. Our Winemaster gently squeeze the grapes and then age the wines in stainless steel tanks, French oak barrels, or western Pennsylvania oak barrels.
Firsts. Conneaut Cellars was one of the first American producers to label our products using proprietary names to promote the local area. We were also one of the first American producers to use a sweetness scale to help consumers select products. And, our distillery is the first distillery in the Lake Erie Region since Prohibition.
Specialized Spirits. Making small-batch whiskeys, rums and other fine distilled craft spirits, our spirits are fermented, distilled and bottled on site, using high-quality grains and fresh, sweet mash. To create a delight for the palate, we use century-old techniques while distilling small batches of our spirits in three modern stills: Little John is an electric stainless-steel vodka/gin still that is powered by solar panels located on the cellar roof (first solar powered distillery in PA); Antime is a 7-tray copper spirit still fabricated by Chicago and local vendors; and Max is a large copper pot still used for stripping runs. Nothing is wasted. Spent grains go to the local Allen Farm to feed cattle.
Wine Master & Distiller
Joal Wolf is President of Conneaut Cellars and oversees winemaking and distilling operations. As a young boy during the 1960s, Joal grew up in a professional winemaking family. Joal attained his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Pennsylvania State University. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, he studied winemaking under his father's tutelage, represented the winery in Europe, and attended winemaking workshops at Penn State and Cornell University. In 2013 and 2014, Joal took American Distilling Institute (ADI) training in Louisville, as well as formal distillation training at Cornell University.
Jamarcus Ellis from South Carolina joined Conneaut Cellars in spring of 2015 as the distiller.
Heather Ellis (Mitchell) from Meadville, PA joined Conneaut Cellars in summer of 2015 as assistant wine maker, and became cellar master in 2018. In 2019, Heather completed her formal winemaking course from Pennsylvania State University.