South River Vineyard – Geneva, Ohio - Atlas Obscura

South River Vineyard

Geneva, Ohio

When a guy acquired a free church, he hauled it away piece-by-piece to make it the tasting hall at his vineyard. 


Everyone knows that churches and wine go together like lock-ins and making-out, but it took one man’s vision to bring this abandoned church to where the wine could best be enjoyed.

Originally built in 1892 as a Methodist chapel 50 miles from its current location in Shalersville, Ohio, the South River Vineyard’s building was moved piece-by-piece in 2000 by the winery owner, Gene Sigel.

Sigel had spotted the church while waiting at a red light in the town of Shalersville, Ohio and became so intrigued by it that he pulled over to take a photo. After asking a local woman if photographing the hallowed structure would be alright, she responded by saying, “he could have the building for the trouble of dismantling it.” 

Within the week, Sigel was already in the process of shifting the abandoned church to its current location 50 miles away in Geneva, where it’s now the focal point of a charming vineyard. Despite its new reincarnation, much of the building’s rich history has been maintained by the choice of preserving its original pews as well as much of the original woodwork and stained glass, exactly as they had appeared when the church welcomed congregants of a wholly different order.  

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