3 Places to Wine and Dine
While many restaurants carry wine, sometimes you're looking for a little more.
By Belinda Cai
While many restaurants in the Tristate carry wine, sometimes you’re looking for a little more. These local wineries offer a unique experience alongside great wine and tasty cuisine.
The award-winning Vinoklet Winery is a sight to behold with 30 acres of lush ponds and hills where Vinoklet’s own grapes are grown and cultivated for its wines—and it’s the only working vineyard in Hamilton County.
“We are born and raised in Colerain right off of Colerain Avenue, which is really unusual and unique to the Cincinnati area,” says Regina Spielmann, marketing and events coordinator at Vinoklet Winery. “We also make all of our own wine right on the property, so everything is grown, made and most of it is drunk at the winery.”
She says the atmosphere is very laidback and romantic, with a large vineyard and a heart-shaped pond. The winery doesn’t give formal tours but guests are allowed to wander and explore the vineyard for themselves.
As far as the wine goes, there are 10* different kinds. The most popular is the La Dolce Vita, a sweet dessert wine made with Chambourcin and Concord grapes. The Brother Joe, a Cabernet Sauvignon, is also very popular; it won best wine last year and medaled again this year at the Ohio Wine Competition.
Vinoklet has delicious food to match the wine. During the day, there are wine tastings and the winery serves guests a cheese tray. Dinner is served Wednesdays through Saturdays, starting at 5 p.m.
On Fridays and Saturdays, the winery does its “Grilled to Perfection” dinner where guests can grill their own meat entrée. Everything else is buffet style and wine is included with dinner. You also get to participate in a wine tasting, so it’s an all-inclusive experience at a beautiful location.
11069 Colerain Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45252.
*Edit by Vinoklet 10/27/18 Vinoklet has won a number of additional medals since the original publication of this articl; including Best of Show Double Gold for Sweet Jackie in 2018 [Best sweet wine in Ohio)
Henke Winery and Restaurant
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in August, Henke Winery is a renowned urban winery with a great selection of American/Eclectic food. Grapes are brought in from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, New York and California. The winery presses, ferments and bottles all of the wine on site—about 20,000 bottles a year.
“We sell a lot of our Cellar Blush, Riesling and Vidal, but we are also noted for our wonderful reds, like our Vendange A’ Trois (harvest of three grapes), a Bordeaux blend with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot,” says Joe Henke, owner, vintner and chef.
Henke says the winery has a Cheers-like atmosphere; it’s a place to sit, sip and savor. There’s even live local music on the weekends. The winery is also a full-service restaurant that offers dining from casual to gourmet.
“People really enjoy our fresh salmon and steaks, but we are also known for our pizzas, pan-seared cheddar, house-made soups and dressing,” says Henke. There are weekly specials that involve deals on appetizers and entrees like pizza and spaghetti, along with wine.
3077 Harrison Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211.
Located between Dayton and Cincinnati in an area that is ideal for grape growing, Valley Vineyards has a wide selection of award-winning fine wines, from dry to sweet. It now also offers craft beers.
Guests can tour the cellar, come for private dining that seats between 80 to 180 people, and have steak cookouts on the weekends. Other food items include cheese, meat, German snacks, pizza and more.
The winery is owned by the Schuchter family and has a rich history, dating back to 1970. It is currently run by three generations of Schuchters—Ken, Kenny and Joe.
2276 US-22, Morrow, OH 45152.