West Main St Winery & Brewery offers opportunities for Kent State wine degree students


Gianna Cicchi

Wine made by Kent State students and bottled by Jim Wade. On the left is a red wine named “Sunset,” and to the right is a riesling named “Sunburst.”

Gianna Cicchi, Reporter

West Main St Winery & Brewery’s co-owner and winemaker Jim Wade graduated from Kent State Ashtabula in December 2018 through the Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance (VESTA) program. 

“Because Kent State offers a degree in wine, we have many students come here to ask questions and write reports,” Jim said. “We also introduce them to how we make the wine and beer, which they appreciate.” 

The winery and brewery receive phone calls from students throughout the school year to learn more about winemaking. 

Wade family at West Main St Winery & Brewery.
Left to right: Deanne Wade (manager), Jim Wade (owner and winemaker), Aj Wade (brewer). (Gianna Cicchi )

“Students call and make appointments to meet us here outside of class time,” Jim said. “They watch the process, how we operate and get to taste the wine.” 

Wine and beer are not the only drink options they have to offer, they also make ciders and top-shelf bourbons. They also host open mic nights on Wednesdays, psychic readings and paint nights every other Thursday and live music Fridays and Saturdays along with daily food trucks. 

West Main St Winery & Brewery is family owned and operated by the Wade family. The 150-year-old building was a general store in the 1800s and now offers a history, production and ghost tour. 

Six family members of the Wade family are involved at West Main St Winery & Brewery. Deanne Wade is the manager and operator of the tasting room, and their son Aj Wade makes the beer. Laura Wade, Aj’s wife and co-owner, graduated from Kent State University in 2016 with a degree in information technology.

Aj started helping in 2015 with renovations when his parents purchased the space. He worked as a mechanic until 2019, when business picked up he quit his mechanic job to work at the business full time.

“Business was better than expected. We were strictly selling wine, but many people started asking for beer. So when we could not offer beer, they would leave,” Aj said. “We initially thought about bringing in domestic beer, but since we made wine, we started experimenting with beer downstairs and selling in April 2020.” 

Downstairs at West Main St Winery & Brewery where Jim and Aj make beer and wine. (Gianna Cicchi)

Keeping the building’s history special to the Wade family, many artifacts and pictures from the 1800’s can be found at the location. 

“The foundation downstairs where we spend our time making beer and wine is from 1831,” Aj said. 

West Main St Winery & Brewery has been a bar for over 100 years. As a graduate of Kent State, Jim is overwhelmed with joy that students are interested to see what he did with his degree in viticulture and enology. 

West Main St Winery & Brewery welcomes students anytime for production tours. Call ahead (330-839-8042) and ask to speak to Jim for further information.

Gianna Cicchi is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].