School House Winery in Dover, Ohio, offers a picturesque and playful setting for enjoying handcrafted wine, nature, music, munchies and more. Jennifer and Dave Jagunic opened their business two years ago, converting an 1886 one-room country schoolhouse into a winery that seats 50 inside with ample space at picnic tables and a pavilion outside.
Forget reading, ’riting and ’rithmetic. At this schoolhouse, only one “R” matters: Recess.
School House Winery in Dover, Ohio, offers a picturesque and playful setting for enjoying handcrafted wine, nature, music, munchies and more.
Jennifer and Dave Jagunic opened their business two years ago, converting an 1886 one-room country schoolhouse into a winery that seats 50 inside with ample space at picnic tables and a pavilion outside.
“We just fell in love with School House, as well as the pond and the whole relaxing country atmosphere,” said Jennifer Jagunic, 45.
On June 11, the couple celebrated the winery’s second anniversary and the 125th birthday of the schoolhouse with an all-day. The event featured a ribs-and-chicken barbecue, live music, an art show and cornhole.
Dave Jagunic makes 17 wines that include sweet-fruit wines and dry red and white wine, many with names befitting the historic 125-year-old Oak Grove School Building that they turned into their winery.
“Teacher’s Pet is our most popular,” said Dave Jagunic, 51, of the sweet-blush wine made with Concord and Niagara grapes.
Other tongue-in-cheek wine names are Book Worm (an apple wine), Bully Red, Scholar Red, The Principal, Class Clown and Prom Night.
For now, the Jagunics purchase grape juice for winemaking.
“Primarily, it’s Ohio juice, but we also use juice from Chile, California, New York and Pennsylvania,” Dave said. “Our plans are to grow our own fruit … (soon) we will plant Niagara and Concord grapes.”
Not my day job
For his day job, Dave Jagunic co-owns a steel fabrication shop. His career in winemaking started years back as the result of prolific backyard cherry trees at the couple’s home in New Philadelphia, Ohio.
“You can only make so many cherry pies,” Jennifer Jagunic said with a chuckle. “So Dave decided to start making wine with the fruit. He took to it instantly.
“He had a natural knack for it, and it was really good,” Jennifer Jagunic said. “Then he started trying other kinds, and they all tasted good, too. Pretty soon, he started being the wine supplier for family gatherings. After it started overtaking the house, we decided to open a winery, and this place certainly captured our attention,” she said.
The attention of wine fans, as well as some who had fond memories of the little red schoolhouse, also capture their attention.
“It’s been really fun to have a few former students come visit,” Jennifer Jagunic said. “One woman said she was in the first grade the last year the school was open in 1941. She had tears in her eyes telling us how she rode her bike to school. We even had one of the former teachers come. He was in a nursing home, and his family brought him here to celebrate his 95th birthday.”
For Becky Ocel of Mechanicstown, Ohio, School House Winery is a new favorite spot for enjoying wine and relaxing with family and friends.
“We go to wineries a lot,” she said. “We just pick a place, and bring a stack of games. It’s nice here, the wine is good and the setting is very pretty.”
More than wine
Wine is $5 a glass, and bottles range from $11.70 to $18. A modest menu is also offered, such as hearty cheese and meat plates, personal pizzas, pepperoni rolls, ham-and-cheese rolls, veggie rolls, meatballs in a bread bowl and cheesecake. Prices range from $4 to $10.
The Jagunics refurbished the interior of the schoolhouse, which has simplistic, folksy decor. Even more charming is what’s outside: lush countryside, grazing horses, a pond with a fountain, picnic tables and a small stage where entertainers play music every Saturday.
For more information, visit www.schoolhousewine.com.