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Apr 25

Valley Vineyards Brings Back the Festival

Once upon a time, Valley Vineyards in Morrow had a heck of a wine festival each spring. I have friends who would rent an RV and camp there. But 4 years ago, they cancelled the festival. (Has it really been that long?)

According to Mark Fisher at the Dayton Daily News, the festival is returning on Saturday, June 4, 11 am – 11 pm.

The event will celebrate 41 years of winemaking at Valley Vineyards, and will feature oferings from food producers and restaurants such as Wildflower Cafe of Mason and The Jam and Jelly Lady of Lebanon. The festival also will include the winery’s annual “Walk-Run Through the Vineyards,” which this year will benefit a Hamilton Twp. “Shop With A Cop” program, according to the winery’s web site. Live music and hot-air balloon rides also will be offered.

This year they’ve modified the festival format, most notably limiting it to one day and there will be no camping or overnight parking. I know what you’re thinking – they’ve killed the party. Well, it’s a wine festival people, not a campground. And if you suspect you’ll be overindulging, you can stay at the Spring Hill Suites Cincinnati Northeast, which will be offering a free shuttle to and from the festival.

Visit the Valley Vineyards web site for more information.

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Posted by Michelle at 8:57 am in Charity Benefits, Cincinnati, Local Wineries, Wine Events | Permalink | Comments (11)
Nov 19

Annual Southern Ohio Barrel Tasting Returns!

It’s Thanksgiving and time to start shopping for gifts and, well, wine – not that we ever stop shopping for wine! If you are somehow mall-ed out (how is that possible?) on Saturday, Nov 27, you can relax in some of our fantastic local wineries.

Each year, a group of southern Ohio’s wineries open up their cellars for barrel samplings of unreleased vintages. I think this is the third year (don’t quote me on that) and I’ve yet to attend. We’re never in town for Thanksgiving weekend. But if you are, and if the weather cooperates, go visit some or all of the participating wineries.

Barrel Sampling at Kinkead Ridge

It’s a great opportunity to visit local wineries that are often closed in the winter and snatch up their latest releases … not to mention trying some of their unreleased samples. For this year’s Annual Ohio River Valley Barrel Tasting Tour, you can visit

Hours and tasting fees vary by winery, so make sure to check the web site for more information.


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Posted by Michelle at 11:25 am in Local, Local Wineries, Wine Events | Permalink | Comments (1)
Oct 13

More Tino Vino …

First an explanation, then an update.

I had to take down the post with Lindsay’s letter. I know, I know, perhaps I erred on the side of too much caution. I was treading a line I wasn’t personally comfortable with and, well, there were a myriad of other reasons as well. You had only to read the comments to figure some of them out.

I did correspond with Lindsay after I removed her letter and she updated me on some happenings on Tuesday. She let me know that as of October 13, the winery was evicted. Left with no recourse, the landlord dumped all the wine. Unfortunately, if you had wine at Tino Vino, it’s now gone.

My apologies to those of you who are genuinely interested in what is happening with Tino Vino. I wish I hadn’t had to take the letter down. I’m working things out, so maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to re-post it later.



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Posted by Michelle at 9:59 pm in Cincinnati, Local, Local Wineries | Permalink | Comments (1)
Oct 12

Northern Kentucky Wine Festival

I was sitting at the Cock & Bull in Covington last week when I saw the signs for the 2010 Northern Kentucky Wine Festival. Since it has moved to Mainstrasse, it’s been held in October on weekends when I am out of town. So I can’t go, but I hope you can!

This is the 5th annual event and it’s this Saturday, October 16, from 3-10 pm. Admission is only $10, which includes a souvenir wine glass and 4 tastings. Tickets for additional tastings and glasses of wine will also be available at $1 ea or 6 for $5 for additional tastings / $5 for a glass of wine.

This year, twelve wineries are confirmed, making the Northern KY Wine Festival the largest in the Commonwealth! Participating Wineries include the following:

  • Lover’s Leap – Lawrenceburg, KY
  • Acres of Land – Richmond, KY
  • Stonebrook Winery – Camp Springs, KY
  • Wight-Meyer – Shepherdsville, KY
  • Black Barn Winery – Lexington, KY
  • Elk Creek – Owenton, KY
  • Baker-Bird Winery – Augusta, KY
  • Atwood Hill – Morningview, KY
  • Iron Pig – Union KY
  • Horseshoe Bend – Willisburg, KY
  • RiverBend Winery – Louisville, KY
  • Seven Wells Winery – California, KY

In addition to the wine, there are always local artisans with booths. I used to always come home with at least one new piece of unique jewelry.

Take advantage of the autumn weather this weekend and head to Covington!

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Posted by Michelle at 2:50 pm in Local, Local Wineries, Wine Events | Permalink | Comments (1)
Sep 29

Tino Vino Closure Causes Chaos

About a month ago,  Tino Vino, a winemaking venture in East Hyde Park, closed its doors. Because the closing was sudden, without notice, some chaos has ensued. Customers who have placed orders for custom wine have been left with a large hole in their pocketbooks, no way to retrieve their wine, and no way to contact the owners.

The shop was originally owned by Annie McManus, Lindsay Valentino, Michelle Banks, and Jennifer Fairbanks. I admit, I’ve reached out privately to one of those ladies, as well as a former Tino Vino employee, to find out what happened. I honestly don’t expect to hear from anyone. I’ve been led to believe that Annie and Jennifer, at the end, were only peripherally involved in the venture and have acquired lawyers.

I found out about the closing because I’ve been contacted by several of Tino Vino’s customers who think I’m Michelle Banks.  I’m not. Let me make this clear – I do not have any business association with Tino Vino, nor have I ever. I’m as surprised as the rest of the you that they closed in the unprofessional manner they have.

Lindsay Valentino’s recently ex-husband, Steven Sykes Valentino, has his own legal troubles. He and his realty group, ORP, were accused of stealing more than $1 million from the condo properties they manage. One of the girls from Tino Vino was also an employee of ORP. I’m not sure if there is a direct relationship between that situation and the closing of Tino Vino, but common sense tells me there might be.

I have been trying to dig into the closing a little more, but there isn’t much out there. Both Howard Ain (WKRC) and John Matarese (WCPO) have tried to contact the owners with no luck. Both of those gentlemen did reach the landlord of the building, and they both reported an eviction notice on the door. (I drove out to Tino Vino on Sunday and was surprised to find the eviction notice had been taken down. To me, that’s a sign of life. Take it as you will.)

According to Ain at WKRC, the building owner cannot give out any of the wine, as it is still legally the property of Tino Vino. There is an eviction hearing scheduled for the end of the month. If something is not done by then, the Sheriff may have to dump the wine because it’s illegal to set it out or give it away.

My recommendation? Call your credit card company. If you can get your charge reversed for the wine you paid for, do it. It’s certainly worth the call. Also keep in mind that the shop has been closed for a month. If the utilities weren’t paid for in that time, then the wine was no longer in a temperature controlled environment. It may be baking in there under terrible conditions.

If I hear anything that will shed some more light on this situation, I will certainly publish it here.

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Posted by Michelle at 10:57 am in Current Affairs, Local, Local Wineries, Wine Shops | Permalink | Comments (9)

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