Meier’s Wine Cellars
Tastings: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; $1 per wine
Try the: #44 Cream Sherry dessert wine
Meier’s Wine Cellars is Ohio’s oldest and largest winery, and stepping inside the wood-lined tasting room is like being transported back in time. Cozily reminiscent of a German grandmother’s house, the tasting room is comfortable with a big wooden bar, lots of ski-lodge-esque tables and a stone fireplace. The walls are lined with Meier’s ephemera, and you can take in the company and family history just by looking at the old advertising signs and vintage wine and grape juice bottles in the display cases.
Today the company produces more than 45 different types of wines, sherry and a line of sparkling grape juice from Native American grape varieties — and you can try all of them. Just check your selections on a paper “wine and non-alcoholic beverage menu,” and a friendly server or bartender will bring you your selections. Many of their wines are on the sweeter side, with the menu heavily skewed toward fruit and dessert wine choices, but they are also the only local importers of the German Jakob Demmer brand of white wines. 6955 Plainfield Road, Silverton, 513-891-2900, meierswinecellars.com.
Tastings: 1-6 pm. Saturday; $12 for five wines including a souvenir wine glass, $5 for one craft spirit tasting
Try the: Mead and their Cincinnati Vodka, rated “Highly Recommended” by the Beverage Testing Institute
Woodstone Creek is the first winery and licensed microdistillery in Ohio. It produces 100-200 cases of wine, mead and distilled spirit each year.
Currently housed in a repurposed 1930s industrial stamping factory off Dana Avenue, the concrete building’s modest exterior belies the intimate and informal visitor experience inside. Owner/certified brewmaster/mead mazer/master distiller/winemaker Don Outterson and his wife will welcome you into the wood-paneled tasting room, located in the factory president’s former office, and gladly give you a tour of the aging barrels maturing in the hallway next door.
A true artisan winery and distillery, Woodstone’s offerings change seasonally. Their wine list varies between 15 to 25 selections and the distillery pot still produces limited runs (they only bottle two to five barrels of spirits a year) of brandy, honey liqueur, five-grain bourbon, single malt whisky, rum, gin, bierschnaaps and vodka.
Sitting at the giant 1930s mahogany bar, you can taste anything they have in-house. One side of their tasting menu lists wines and honey wines with tasting notes, and the other side features their craft spirits with descriptions. Bonus: You get to keep the wine glass and shot glass. 3641 Newton Ave., Norwood, 513-569-0300, woodstonecreek.com.
Tastings: 5-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 3-11 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday (except between 6-9 p.m. Saturday); $10 for seven wines including a souvenir wine glass
Try the: 2010 cabernet franc, awarded a silver medal at the 2012 Cincinnati International Wine Festival
Proprietor Joe Henke started his winery and restaurant in 1996 and hasn’t looked back. Located in a quaint, two-story, 1800s West Side wood house, he imports his grapes from places like California and Lake Erie, and then produces about 1,700 cases of wine per year — right under the restaurant. Each wine is bottled by volunteers on-site and labeled by hand.
The tasting room is carpeted, comfortable and lined with Henke’s award-winning wines — each wearing its own medal. In the 2012 Ohio Wine Competition alone, his 2011 cellar blush won best of show and his 2010 vendage a trois, 2011 vin de rouge and 2010 chardonnay all won gold. Tasting selections range from dry to sweet reds and dry to slightly sweet whites to champagne and sweet blush wines. Pair your wines with an item from their full menu, or just do the $10 seven-wine tasting and take your souvenir glass home with you. 3077 Harrison Ave., Westwood, 513-662-9463, henkewine.com.
Tastings: Noon-6 p.m. Tuesday; noon-9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; noon-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday ; $1 per wine
Try the: Traminette, awarded double gold at the 2012 Indianapolis International Wine Competition, or the Brother Joe or La Dolce Vita, which both won silver
Located on 30 acres of greenery and ponds in Colerain, this multiple award-winning winery is also the only working winery with a vineyard in Hamilton County, which means all of their wines are produced with grapes grown and cultivated in Cincinnati.
A hugely popular wedding destination because of its scenic location, the winery also hosts tastings and “grill your own” dinners on the weekends. Visit their gazebo, patio or solarium to enjoy your vino with a view. 11069 Colerain Ave., Colerain, 513-385-9309, vinokletwines.com.
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