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Mon Ami Restaurant and Historic Winery is one of the oldest wineries in the Lake Erie Islands region. The winery is of further significance as one of the four large co-operative wineries which played an important role in the development of the region's wine industry. Please join us and experience excellent cuisine, sample our fabulous wines, and be part of the Mon Ami history!
The Catawba Island Wine Company, constructed the winery building that is today's Mon Ami Restaurant and Historic Winery. The Catawba Island Wine Company was founded by a number of Catawba Island grape growers, although the Ellithorpe, Neal and Laudy families, who were pioneer settlers of the Catawba Island Peninsula, are generally regarded as the principal founders.
The new company was organized in 1872 and by 1873 had a winery constructed along the southeast shore of the peninsula. With its 130,000 gallon capacity, the Catawba Island Wine Company was the largest winery on Catawba Island and one of the largest in the islands area.
In 1937 the winery was acquired by the Mon Ami Champagne Company. Mon Ami had been founded in Sandusky shortly after the repeal of the 18th Amendment and was one of only a handful of wineries in the United States specializing in the manufacture of domestic champagnes (at that time). During 1937 the company moved its equipment from Sandusky to Catawba where it employed fifty-five men in the production of up to 400,000 to 500,000 bottles of Champagne, burgundy, and still wines a year.
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Restaurant facilities were added on the ground floor in 1945 following a disastrous fire which gutted much of the interior. In 1956 the restaurant/winery was sold to Norman Mantey, whose family had been engaged in the wine-making business in the Sandusky area since 1880. Mantey retained the Mon Ami name at the facility. The Mon Ami was purchased in 1980 by Meier's Wine Cellars, Inc., the largest wine-making firm in the state. Over much of this period, Mon Ami ranked among the leading wineries in Ohio, producing from 40,000 to 50,000 gallons of wine a year.
The present owners purchased the Mon Ami from Meier’s in 2000. They have invested large amounts of time and effort in maintaining and enhancing the magic and charm of this wonderful place. A short list of improvements include renovation of the main dining room, the renovation of the Chalet, a complete overhauling of the kitchen, and a brand new gift shop.
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