Julia Benfield, a former nurse paralegal at Boyk Law, a renaissance woman of sorts, has worked in many fields within her profession. A northwest Ohio native, Julia and her husband Rob left the area years ago to live in New England. Their time in the northeast was the start of their love of wines, but more than that, local wineries and the time spent meeting new people and discovering new places.
Upon returning to Ohio, Julia and Rob realized Northwest Ohio was lacking in wineries, with only 1 in the area. So, Rob decided to teach himself to make wine. The wine they produced was initially for personal use, but as friends and family tried their product, its popularity grew, leading Rob and Julia to apply for a license to sell their product online and out of their home.
As their product line and customer base grew, they purchased the Historic Pilliod Opera House in downtown Swanton at 102 N. Main Street. It is now home to Benfield Winery. The beautiful building, built in 1897, has had many tenants over the years and is said to be haunted.
Julie and Rob have plans to expand the upstairs ballroom into an event area and are working to restore the building to its original style in keeping with the historical significance of its location.
They have transformed it into an ideal meeting place with a tasting room and party room where they regularly host events that include everything from psychic readings by a local medium to Musical BINGO, art classes, and live music on Saturday nights.
With 17 different wines available for purchase, including two specialty ports, one of which is Boss Lady, (named after her beloved black lab, Dixie), and a broad mix of sweet and dry and a new flavor called Swanton Strawberry, there is something there for everyone. As a supporter of local businesses, Julia and Rob partnered with Two Bandits Brewery in Hicksville, so if you are in the mood for a beer, you can sample it at Benfield winery. A new menu is also available from Wednesdays to Saturdays and includes panini, flatbreads, and a variety of appetizers.
You can visit their website or Facebook page for a complete listing of events. You can also order online. Benfield Winery ships to 38 US states if you do not live locally.
Check out Chuck’s conversation with Julia Benfield on Episode 35 of the Boyk Brief, available on YouTube and wherever you get your podcasts!