By Ashley LUTHERN
Wine pairs with cheese, but barbecued ribs?
Absolutely, say the owners of Mastropietro Winery, 14558 Ellsworth Road.
“Any food goes with wine,” said Daniel Mastropietro, who founded the winery in 2005 with his wife, Marianne Mastropietro, and sister, Cathy Mastropietro.
The fourth annual Rib Festival brought hundreds to the winery Saturday.
“There are so many large rib festivals, this one is a little simpler,” Daniel Mastropietro said.
Marianne Mastropietro agreed and said that’s part of the festival’s charm and overall appeal of the 52-acre winery.
We just want people to sit and relax here. There’s no rush out here,” she said.
Candace Olszak of Rootstown and her brother, Steve Olszak of Diamond, were two of the expected 400 festival attendees and munched on ribs and drank sangria, which usually is wine mixed with fruit and a sweetener, under the shade of an umbrella.
“The atmosphere is very welcoming, and it’s good to see the owner out and talking to customers,” Steve Olszak said.
Candace Olszak said this is the third year she and her brother attended the rib festival. She said the atmos-phere is what keeps them coming back.
The festival featured four local vendors: Guy’s Award Winning BBQ, Drunkin Moose Picklin’ Co., Eddy’s Smoke’n Pit Ribs and Rachel’s Restaurant and Catering Company.
Mark DiRienzo, owner of Berlin Center-based Drunkin Moose, said Saturday was his business’ second time at the Mastropietro festival.
“People here like to support the local vendors,” he said.
DiRienzo said his business, like the winery’s, is growing, with four sauces in stores and an upcoming inaugural appearance at the Canfield Fair.
Marianne Mastropietro said the winery has grown through word-of-mouth.
“Someone comes for an event, and then they come back with their friends and family and so on,” she said.
The winery’s next event is the fourth annual Hot Air Balloon Festival from 1 to 9 p.m. Aug. 26. Admission is $5, and catering will be available from 1:30 to 7:30 p.m.
The hot air balloons will arrive between 5 and 5:30 p.m. and will inflate about sunset.