We decided to visit several local wineries on Monday. I knew for sure that Kinkead Ridge and Harmony Hill were open on Monday. I made the assumption that other wineries were as well, but I should have double-checked.
We had two reasons for visiting the wineries: we need to collect a case of local wines to ship to California for the Wine Bloggers Conference this fall and, well, we just really enjoy our time with these winemakers.
We started our day out in Ripley, OH, in the Kinkead Ridge tasting room. It was packed! In fact, they had sold more wine on Saturday than on any previous time. We were thrilled to see it so busy. We had a quick visit with Nancy, who generously provided me with wines for our next Krystal Pepper Scholarship silent auction. She also provided me with several bottles to take to California with me and share with the other wine bloggers.
We tasted their River Village Cabernet Franc, River Village Syrah, and Kinkead Ridge Revelation (red vinifera blend). For ourselves, we ended up with a bottle of Cabernet Franc and two bottles of Revelation. I hope to let one of those bottles age for a little, and I look forward to seeing how it changes. I’m not usually a fan of Cabernet Franc, but this one really worked for me.
We left the winery and drove out to the vineyard to visit with winemaker Ron and walk a few rows. I love wandering in vineyards right before harvest, as I think the grapes are beautiful. After the rough 2007 that Kinkead Ridge experienced, with the late frost, it was fantastic to see so many healthy grapes hanging on the vines.
After our time at Kinkead Ridge, we decided to head out to Meranda-Nixon, also in Ripley. Several of my readers had said good things about this relatively new winery, and I looked forward to a visit. We were rather sad to discover it was closed.
We headed on to Harmony Hill
back in Bethel, Ohio. As usual, we enjoyed Harmony Hill. How can you
not? Colored patio umbrellas with barrel tables, live acoustic music,
and a vineyard in the background … it was a great place for a meal.
We’d packed a picnic lunch and we managed to kill off a bottle of
Harmony Hill Concerto with our sandwiches and snacks.
At Harmony Hill, we also picked up 3 bottles to go into our
California case, as well as a bottle of the Rubato (100% Chambourcin)
for ourselves. Before we left, we signed up to help harvest the grapes
in a few weeks. One of the things I love about Bill at Harmony Hill is
his desire to share the knowledge. He always answers my questions about
the technical part of winemaking with easy-to-understand answers. I
think letting folks help with harvest is another great way to help
share the knowledge of how to make a good wine.
Bill took us out into the vineyard for a few moments before we left.
He let us taste two grapes- a chambourcin and a seyval blanc. It was
so cool having a grape just off the vine. While both were juicy, I was
blown away by the flavors in the chambourcin grape. I told Kevin that I
could happily sit under the vine and just eat those grapes all day.
At both Harmony Hill and Kinkead Ridge, I was quite aware that these
are more than wineries, they’re sustainable farms. At Kinkead Ridge we
picked up some juicy peaches and at Harmony Hill we bought some honey,
all home-grown / homemade. In fact, I know several different local wine
makers who keep bees and grow other fruits and vegetables. It makes
sense, keeping the land happy and making the winery more sustainable
unto its self.
We finished our day trip with a run out to Henke
in Western Hills. I really want to pick up 3 of their wines for my
California case as well. Sadly, Henke was also closed for the holiday.
Monday was this wonderfully relaxing day filled with good friends, good weather, and good wine. How much better does it get?
Don’t forget to sign up for the wine tasting benefiting the
Krystal Pepper Memorial Scholarship. It’s Sept 11, 6-8 pm at the Party
Source. Pre-registration only. Sign up here.
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