Chris, ’17, and Kimberly Rohr, ’04, MBA ’07
Chris, ’17, and Kimberly Rohr, ’04, MBA ’07, are carving out a niche for themselves with a camp-inspired winery where people enter as customers and leave as friends.
When Chris and Kim started dabbling in winemaking, they uncovered a passion that would change the course of their lives. In April 2022, they made moves to open a winery situated on their own property with the vision of sharing the beautiful land that they had painstakingly cleared and the many history-rich wines they vinted. Inspired by Kim’s family’s deep connection to the Adirondack Mountains, Lost Trail Winery celebrates the beauty and tranquility of the outdoors. The enterprise is a true labor of love for the family. The couple’s four children are often at the winery, and Kim’s father helped build the tasting room and Adirondack chairs that visitors enjoy. While the path that led them to this adventure was a winding one, Chris and Kim were up for the challenge, and it seems the Rohrs have truly found themselves at Lost Trail in Canton, Ohio. Get to know Chris and Kim in their own words.
KSU: What is your idea of perfect happiness?
CR: Early summer, sitting by a campfire with my wife and children listening to nature’s sounds.
KR: My idea of perfect happiness is challenging myself physically outdoors. Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in a lot of hiking and paddling challenges in upstate New York that have rewarded me with so many memories as well as a sense of accomplishment in pushing myself to complete something I didn’t know I was capable of before I did it.
KSU: What is your favorite trait in others?
CR: Giving - witnessing others give from their heart.
KR: I don’t think I can point to one specific trait, but rather a combination of several. I really admire people who embody positivity, are true, trustworthy, loving, kind, giving - those who are good listeners and who are willing to give the shirt off of their back to help a friend or someone in need.
KSU: What trait about yourself do you like least?
CR: My openness with people.
KR: Overwhelming myself with everything that needs to be done when there are multiple things going on at once. I tend to be an organized person and feel a sense of accomplishment when I complete something off of a ‘to-do’ list. But if there are many things at once that need to be done around the same time, it’s very easy for me to stress myself out.
KSU: Who has had the greatest influence on your life?
CR: Many have been a part of my development, but if I had to narrow down to two people, Mark Rogers, who has set a great example as a father, and my father-in-law Reggie, who has shared in his wealth of wisdom and leads with great work ethic.
KR: My parents have, of course, had a major impact on who I am today because they taught me the value of hard work. From the time I was young, I was taught the life lesson of ‘more hands make light work,’ and was always helping in the yard with whatever needed to be done from pulling weeds to stacking firewood. When I got older, they taught me the importance of saving and working toward the future. I would also say my husband Chris has influenced my life in helping me to be less uptight, more flexible and open to change, and encouraging me to persevere through anything life throws at me.
KSU: What is your favorite Kent State memory?
CR: Attending a wine tasting conference at Kent and learning so much about wines in a short time.
KR: I have so many wonderful memories from my time at Kent State. I always enjoyed going to the men’s hockey games, eating pizza at The Loft downtown, listening to live music at Brady’s Cafe and eating pancakes at Eastway cafeteria.
KSU: What is your favorite journey?
CR: Trekking our way into the Adirondack mountains as anticipation builds to arrive at our destination.
KR: Besides the journey of motherhood, I’d say the journey of becoming an entrepreneur. Owning your own business is not without its challenges or bumps in the road. In fact, my husband and I found out I was pregnant with our fourth child while we were bottling wines and preparing for our grand opening. But there is nothing more rewarding than seeing all of the effort you put into planning an event and seeing it be successful, or having people relax and have fun on our property that we’ve poured years of hard work into, or watching customers enjoy a product that we made. There is a great sense of pride in knowing you were responsible for creating something that has brought joy to others. We’ve met so many wonderful people and many of our customers have become friends. It’s very fulfilling and rewarding on so many different levels.
KSU: What is your guilty pleasure? CR: Pizza.
KR: I tend to have quite a sweet tooth. You might find me sneaking a handful of chocolate chips. And I love buying baked goods, particularly slices of cake, from local bakeries. And, I’m lucky because we are fortunate enough to be surrounded by a lot of fabulous local bakeries!
KSU: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
CR: I have had many of my short term achievements met, but not my greatest as of yet... ask me in five years!
KR: Of course I’m so proud of earning my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, but hands down my greatest achievement is my family. I have four beautiful, amazing and extremely active little boys and a loving husband. It is such a blessing to be able to watch our children grow together and teach them all of the things we’ve learned and also navigate new things together.
KSU: If you could come back as one person, who would it be and why?
KR: I’d love to come back as my great-great-grandfather Warren Jackson Slater. He was a pioneer guide to a gentleman named Verplanck Colvin who surveyed and set the original elevation markers on the 46 high peaks in the Adirondack Mountains. I would love to be able to see what those mountains were like back then - so untouched and wild. He was a true outdoorsman with a sense of adventure. He also had an entrepreneurial spirit, setting up his own carpentry business in addition to serving in a variety of different professions throughout his life. I think it would be amazing to tap into his many experiences.
CR: I would come back as myself, only now knowing of my shortfalls so I would be able to excel earlier in life.
KSU: What part of your college experience most formed who you are today?
KR: I’d point to my internship at a large, international corporation. I say that not only because it’s where I met my husband, but because the environment afforded me the opportunities to learn the roles and responsibilities I have today. I learned you have to be very flexible in everything you do, always be prepared for the unexpected and that change truly is a constant. If you want to ‘survive,’ you must adapt. Owning your own business is no different - not everything goes to plan. In fact, a lot of times it feels like if something could go wrong, it will! But you must be inventive and find other ways to make things happen. You have to grow and evolve to stay relevant to your customers and provide them with the quality products and experiences they seek. All of these lessons have helped me have a better understanding of business and how to stand strong in times of adversity and celebrate in times of success.
CR: Having laboratory workshops, where I learned the skills I use in my winemaking today.
Find yourself at Lost Trail Winery during Flash’s Summer Staycation. You can register for an evening at the winery, during which you can make your own charcuterie board, sample a flight of wine and enjoy the unique atmosphere with friends and fellow alumni.