German immigrants constructed this Catawba Island winery out of Lake Erie limestone in the 1870s. Today, Mon Ami is more than just a winery; it's an event destination that skillfully blends historical aspects and modern amenities. Despite at least one major fire and several changes in ownership, much of the original winery is still intact. Visitors interested in a good meal, or just a good time, should also be pleased with the up-to-date restaurant and live entertainment venue.
Arrange to take a tour of the stone cave wine cellar (call or e-mail ahead, as it’s often booked for private events) where you sip some of Mon Ami's estate wines ($1 per sample) as a guide offers interesting trivia about the facility, the dark caverns where the wine was once stored, and the enormous buckets once used to move bottles around the deepest recesses of the cellar.
The Mon Ami restaurant features a full menu of soups, salads, pizzas, sandwiches, steaks and seafood. The signature lobster bisque ($11) is creamy and satisfying, and it’s just plain silly not to order perch or walleye ($23 entree, $14 sandwich) when you’re this close to the lake.
For those who appreciate local history and want a wide selection of wines, Mon Ami is a good choice, although it can feel more touristy than some of the smaller wineries in the area.