Swirl, Smell, Slurp is a blog based out of Los Angeles that is trying to taste wines from all 50 states. Their original goal was to do it in 50 weeks, but the sample process does not work quite that quickly.
Thanks to Dep’s Fine Wines’s Kevin Keith, I was recommended to be the Ohio wine blogger with whom the Swirl, Smell, Slurp bloggers virtually tasted. I immediately recommended several Ohio wineries, including Firelands, Kinkead Ridge, Harmony Hill, and St Joseph’s. Kinkead Ridge got back to my new bloggy friends, but unfortunately, Nancy is seriously low on wine. Heck, I picked up one case of their second-label white and they’d only made 42 cases! Friends, the Ohio valley can be brutal on grapes some years.
However, my friends at Harmony Hill got back to the fine folks at Swirl, Smell, Slurp and I picked up my samples on Memorial Day Weekend. Bill provided us with four vastly different wines and you can read all about it – from She, He, and Me – over at the United Slurps of America: Ohio edition.
Oh, and my advice to He and She of Swirl, Smell, Slurp? Go sign up for the Wine Century Club. You’ll be getting all sorts of French-American hybrids at your doorstep if you’re trying all 50 states. Everything from the more common southern grapes of Chambourcin, Muscadine, and Traminette to crazy things like Teraldego. You’ll be in the Century Club in no time!
Memorial Day weekend is pretty much synonymous with food and wine for us here at My Wine Education. It means two things: Taste of Cincinnati and opening weekend for the local wineries.
Taste of Cincinnati is the longest running culinary festival in the US. How about that? 32 years! Every year, Kevin and I go and the menu for us is pretty straight forward. I pretty much eat crepes and cheesecake and cream puffs … every dessert I can find. Kevin tries every BBQ he can find. We usually drink some Moerlein and Great Lakes beer and we have wonderful food-filled day.
Kevin and I are usually there on Sunday or Monday, as I can’t handle the crowds on Saturday. It’s generally hot, so we bring water and stay hydrated all day. No passing out down on Fifth Street!
On Saturday, instead of fighting crowds downtown, we’ll be enjoying a leisurely drive out to both Kinkead Ridge and Harmony Hill. Both wineries, as well as La Vigna Estate, open for the summer this weekend. However, while La Vigna and Harmony Hill will be open Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer, Kinkead Ridge is open only this Saturday and Monday. If you want some Viognier-Roussane (I do!), get it now and get it early. It’s in limited supply.
If you want to spend the day lazily going from winery to winery, I recommend this route, starting in Ripley and ending in Bethel: Kinkead Ridge, Meranda-Nixon, La Vigna Estate, and ending at Harmony Hill. If you can, stop and pick up some munchies and sit out on the Harmony Hill patio with glass of wine, listening to the music.
Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. And remember, if you’ve had too much to drink – just call the FETCH taxi service at 513.35.FETCH.
It’s spring! Grapes are budding and the vines are spreading rapidly. Our local wineries are getting ready, in many cases, to open for the summer and have special events all lined up. Questions about local wineries? Check out our always updated Guide to Drinking Local that points you to posts on wineries from Ohio, Kentucky, and even Indiana.
Harmony Hill’s official opening for the season is on Memorial Day weekend. But there is sort of a pre-opening this coming weekend. Harmony Hill will open it’s doors for a special occasion on Saturday, May 8, in conjunction with The Village of Bethel’s presentation of its inaugural BAMfest Art and Music Celebration. The winery will host an antique tractor show from 12-6 pm, and officially release the 2009 wines Woodwind, Ovation, Aria and Chamber Suite. There will be live entertainment at the winery from 12-8 pm so bring your blankets and lawn chairs.
On May 28, the winery opens for the season, with live music on Friday nights, 5-9 pm, and Saturdays, 2-9 pm. Holiday weekends (Memorial and Labor Day), the winery is open on Friday, Saturday, and Monday (2-9 pm).
Kinkead Ridge had a rough growing season. Because of that, they won’t be open on weekends this summer. If you want your fill of excellent Kinkead Ridge wines, you’ll have to attend their special events, starting on Memorial Day weekend. On May 29 and 31, Kinkead Ridge will be releasing their 2009 white wines from 10 am – 6 pm. Quantities are very limited: only 126 cases of Kinkead Ridge Viognier/Roussanne, and only 42 cases of River Village Cellars White Wine (a blend of all our other grapes) were produced. After Memorial Day, whatever is left will be allocated to our wine store and restaurant customers. Can’t make it? They are accepting phone or email orders for these wines prior to May 29. The wines must be picked up the following Saturday.
Kinkead Ridge will be closed after Memorial Day until Labor Day, when they offer their Red Wine Release (2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Petit Verdot) and annual vineyard tour.
La Vigna Estate is located in Georgetown, OH and they’re also having their season opening on Memorial Day weekend. They’ll be open on Saturday, May 29 from 11-6 pm and Monday, May 31 from 12-6 pm. They’ll be releasing their 2009 Proprietary White ( Petit Manseng) and the 2008 Proprietary Red (Cabernet Blend). They’ll also have live music on Saturday.
After opening weekend, the winery will be open every summer Saturday from 12-6 pm.
Meranda-Nixon winery, located just outside of Ripley, hardly ever closes. They’re open year-round (with the exception of January, I believe). You can always visit their winery on Thursdays from 1-6 pm, Fridays from 1-8 pm, and Saturdays from 11 am – 9:30 pm. Additionally, you can have a fantastic dinner in the lovely Tuscan-themed tasting room at Meranda-Nixon on Saturday nights: steak and salmon dinners accompanied with a bottle of wine. Reservations can be made by calling (937)392-4654.
Really. Just avoid those malls after Thanksgiving and head straight to all of your local wineries. They’re waiting for you.
In Ohio, we have the annual barrel tasting. On Saturday, Nov 28, you can visit five Ohio wineries to try unreleased vintages and current wines.
Barrels @ Harmony Hill
You can visit our friends at Harmony Hill and Kinkead Ridge, along with Burnet Ridge Winery, Henke, and Woodstone Creek. Hours and costs at each winery vary, so make sure to double-check the web site before you head out on your winery journey for the day.
Barrels @ Kinkead Ridge
Additionally, Elk Creek is having an anniversary sale at all of their locations. (Disclosure: I do a little freelance marketing for Elk Creek and they advertise on this blog.) If you want to stay on the Kentucky side, Elk Creek is offering deep discounts on their wines and a party atmosphere at the winery in Owenton.
Now, don’t special tastings and winery sales sound better than crazed shoppers and long lines? I thought so. I’ll see you at the wineries.
This weekend, which will hopefully be a lovely autumn weekend, you can experience a lot of Kentucky wine and you won't have to go much further than Covington and Camp Springs.
Kentucky grapes? Yes, actually. Those tobacco fields aren't getting
much use now that smoking is being banned in many states and causing
cancer in general. But they do provide the perfect soil for growing
grapes. I admit, Kentucky wineries are still young and growing, but you
might be surprised about the quality of many of the wines.
On Saturday, you can partake in the Northern Kentucky Wine Festival right down on Mainstrasse in Covington. The festival runs from 2-10 pm on October 17. Your $10
admission includes a souvenir wine glass and 4 tastings, although you
can buy additional tasting tickets for $1 each or 6/$5.If you find a
wine you like, you can purchase it by the bottle or by the case.
Ky Wine Festival is all Kentucky wines, but not all of Kentucky's
wineries. Some of our favorites in the past have included Black Barn, Ashwood
Cellars, Elk Creek Vineyards,
Lover's Leap, Wildside Winery/Wildside Vines, and Chrisman Mill.
The wine festival isn't just wine though. It's an opportunity to try some tasty Kentucky Proud
snacks. I tend to buy a lot of these products at Remke; I'm a big Ky
Proud supporter because the food is just so good. In addition to food,
there will also be crafts such as ceramics, rustic furniture, and
jewelry. The last couple of years, these vendors were mixed in well with the wineries,
giving you a chance to enjoy your wine and keeping the wine tables from
being too crowded. I usually buy jewelry from several of the vendors.
On Sunday, you can enjoy the 3rd Annual Camp Springs Herbst Tour. (Herbst meaning Autumn, apparently.) This is a self-guided tour. You'll pick up a map and start driving, and probably be surprised not only by how beautiful it all is, but by just how close our fair city is to the country.
You'll visit three working farms, six stone houses, a horse farm and equestrian center, four churches, artist studios & crafts, a daylily farm, plowing fields, a pumpkin patch, see draft horses and miniature Hereford cattle. But the important things on that list are the two vineyards and wineries.
You'll get to visit the vineyard, farm, and tasting room of Stonebrook Winery. If you go, make sure you try their pomegranate wine. Additionally, you'll get to visit Camp Springs Vineyard, which is holding their grand opening the day of the Herbst Tour. You'll be the first ones to try their inaugural white, red, and fruit wine.
To get started on the tour, stop by the Camp Springs Firehouse and pick up your map. What a lovely way to spend a Sunday!
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