A Wild Ride with Team Johnson

. October 23, 2019.
Charcuterie Board at American Winery. Photo Credit: Courtney Probert
Charcuterie Board at American Winery. Photo Credit: Courtney Probert

The limo service offers winery tours that are both safe and unforgettable

With the increasing numbers of wineries and breweries cropping up all over Northwest Ohio, visiting them sporadically over your free weekends can, frankly, put you a little behind in your local tasting goals. Team Johnson Limo Services offers a solution for folks— like myself— who treat wine and beer tastings like a hobby. They offer trips to various wineries surrounding Toledo, so we decided to hop on one of their trolleys to visit the three wineries on the docket for the evening: American Winery in Wauseon, Majestic Oak Winery in Grand Rapids, and Leisure Time Winery in Napoleon.

Oh, boy. It was quite a night, full of surprises and newfound friendships enhanced by Fireball shots in the back of a Hummer limousine…but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Party trolley

We began our evening by meeting up at the designated location, Brandywine Country Club, where we soon saw a charming red trolley pull into the parking lot. We settled into the air-conditioned space that had classic bench-style seating, and it soon became clear that there was at least one group of ladies for whom this wasn’t their first rodeo. They unpacked plastic cups and opened a bottle of white wine, then wisely started eating a dinner of pasta and deli wraps. Pro tip: even if you don’t bring your own cups, the driver (Jeff) has some upfront if you are feeling the need to pregame.

While we were all jamming to Lizzo (you can play DJ if you want) our first stop to American Winery was interrupted by an announcement from Jeff, who noted that we’d need to switch to the Hummer limousine. You know, the one with the back patio, fireplace, and TV. No complaints here!

Vineyard at American Winery. Photo Credit: Courtney Probert

Vineyard at American Winery. Photo Credit: Courtney Probert

New friends

The three of us called dibs on the best seats— the ones in the open back— where there is room for six. On slightly chilly days, you can still sit back there because there is a clear cover that can be partially or completely closed. We were as comfy as can be, and we made a few friends back there, including a couple named Pam and Bob, who were prepared for the long ride with a cooler containing chilled Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey and bags of snack mix.

Brandon Johnson, the owner of Team Johnson Limo Services, reaffirmed my impression of the tours. “A lot of people who’ve done these tours have made new friends,” he says. “They exchange numbers and do tours on a regular basis. It’s a good way to meet people and have a safe, fun time.”

A bottle of red, a bottle of white

When we arrived at American Winery in Wauseon, there was live music playing in the quaint establishment, and we sang along to Jewel’s “You Were Meant For Me” as we waited to place our orders. The three of us had a meat and cheese plate to share, an important foundation for the wine sampling ahead. We chose the Fifth Amendment— a dry, white wine that was my favorite of the night— a semi-sweet tart cherry wine called George Washington, and a white wine sangria. The seating outside was very pleasant, and we had plenty of time to chat and enjoy our first drinks at dusk when it was just light enough to fully take in the beauty of the vineyard behind us. Aside from the yellow jacket that took a suicidal nose dive into my Fifth Amendment, it was nearly perfect.

Our next stop was to Majestic Oak Winery, which also houses Neon Groundhog Brewery. A few of the guys on the trip opted for beer and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying it. We went with a sweet wine called the Shade Tree Red, a somewhat tart, semi-sweet red blend called Providence, and the Shade Tree Blush. The outdoor space with cozy fire glass pits really made the experience for us.

Wine by the fire at Majestic Oak Winery. Photo Credit: Courtney Probert

Wine by the fire at Majestic Oak Winery. Photo Credit: Courtney Probert

Finally, we found ourselves on our way to the final destination— Leisure Time Winery— where we shared a very satisfying chicken alfredo flatbread pizza accompanied by a flight of diverse wines: Stress Reliever, Hocus Pocus, Kellner Red, and Wine O’Clock. The latter was suggested by a fellow limo tour visitor who was no stranger to Leisure Time and, we have to say, this sweet white wine was our favorite of the flight.

Something for everyone

The whole experience was a wonderful way to socialize, and we found it to be quite convenient getting to take a leisurely ride through the countryside to visit wineries that are a bit of a drive from Toledo.

Another thing to point out about Team Johnson Limo Tours is that they offer multiple types: brewery tours, a pumpkin patch tour, Halloween tour, casino trips, a Frankenmuth shopping trip, and much more. It is a chance to have a family day, girls’ night out, or date night.

“Our goal is to have these options for people that are fun for everyone,” says Johnson. “We have something for every demographic.”

Inside Leisure Time Winery. Photo Credit: Courtney Probert

Inside Leisure Time Winery. Photo Credit: Courtney Probert

The variety of events is matched only by the vehicles, which range from the aforementioned trolley and Hummer limo to the Mega Lounge— a double-decker that has waiters, two bars, a slot machine, a restroom, and a 60-inch TV. Johnson points out that “it’s an experience that is the only one like it in the world. We have it here in Northwest Ohio.”

Stay tuned for Team Johnson’s exciting upcoming venture: Mega Matchmaker, a reality show that Johnson describes as being a mash-up of The Bachelor and Survivor, where singles ride around in the Mega Lounge and take part in various competitions in the Toledo area. We are so there for that.

Stay tuned for more details on the show (it should air in 2020) and to book tours by visiting teamjohnsonlimo.com or calling 419-388-5800.