History

 

Ownership

Gervasi Vineyard owner Ted Swaldo and his family trace their roots straight to Italy. Inspired by Grandma Gervasi’s (maiden name) traditional Italian ways and cooking, their Tuscan-inspired dream became a reality, and today their vision continues to grow and evolve.

The seeds of Gervasi Vineyard began in 2009 after Ted Swaldo retired as CEO at ASC Industries, Inc. in North Canton, Ohio. A self-made success, an engineer at heart with many interests and hobbies, he played a key role in the development of the winery production facility.

The project has always been a family affair, with Ted’s son, Scott Swaldo, overseeing all operations and development. Other members of the extended Swaldo family also play key roles in making Gervasi Vineyard the success that it is.

The family strives to integrate their traditional Italian heritage with their many interests, including great food, wine, fun and appreciation for beautiful things.

The Estate

Today, as visitors make their way down the drive and view the old-world beauty of Gervasi Vineyard, it is hard to imagine what the property looked like when the Swaldo family purchased it in 2009. Once a tree farm, most of the structures and landscaping were overgrown and had been untended for years.

But the Swaldos had a plan. They began by clearing and beautifying the property, reviving and reinventing the land and buildings. They even replanted every tree that had to be moved for construction or vineyard planting.

Now, on this last remaining working farm within Canton city limits, Gervasi Vineyard is home to a winery, three distinct restaurants, indoor and outdoor event venues, luxury overnight suites, a boutique gift shop, and coming soon, a state-of-the-art distillery and cafe.

All of the buildings on the 55-acre estate incorporate elements of the original property. The barn, built in the late 1820s, is now home to The Bistro, an upscale Italian restaurant with a cozy lodge-like feel. The building was painstakingly renovated, and much of the wood that had to be removed was reused elsewhere on the property. Some of the materials were repurposed to create a “tavola lunga” (Italian for “long table”) and the wine tasting bar. The original wooden ceiling beams were honed from trees grown on the property.

The original farmhouse from the 1830s was completely restored and modernized. The beautiful 2200-square-foot structure has all the charm of an early 19th-century home combined with updated features and modern conveniences. Even the original milk house was reclaimed, moved, and now serves as an outdoor kitchen for The Piazza seasonal patio.

The Shootout

In 1922, a fateful shootout occurred on the site which is now Gervasi Vineyard. A gang of bank robbers hid out in the old barn (The Bistro) until police and a posse of civic activists caught up with them. They traded gunfire for more than an hour, and in the end, all gang members were killed. The mummified remains of one of them – Andy “Dutch” Kapler – are now housed at the Smithsonian.

Read the story at cantonrep.com.