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"...Vinoklet snags two top awards..."

Updated: Jul 4, 2019

Ohio Wine Competition 2019

Kreso Mikulic (Owner of Vinoklet Winery) has been working in a vineyard since he was 5 years old, so at 85 years old with 80 years of experience, he is no stranger to making good wine. Mikulic has been noted as saying that he doesn’t claim to make the best wine, just that it’s drinkable.

Well, that may be the case but we are so excited to announce the “Best of Show” winners from this year’s competition includes two of Mikulic’s 13 wines as “Best of Show”

Sweet Jackie = Best Berry Wine in Ohio "Best of Show"

Passion = Best Dessert Wine in Ohio "Best of Show"

Since 1985 the Ohio Wine Competition at Kent State University has shown the spotlight on many local wines produced throughout Ohio, with Vinoklet Winery being one of them. Today, Ohio has approximately 320 wineries with applications for 20 more wineries in the works and, according to,

Mike DeWine (Governer) Kreso Mikulic (WineMaster) Jim Black (Mikulic's Son n Law)
Mike DeWine (Governer) Kreso Mikulic (WineMaster) Jim Black (Mikulic's Son in Law)

Ohio has a much longer history of producing wine than just 1985, in fact it goes back to the early 1800s, as noted in the article below about the History of Wine in Ohio written by “FindOhioWines.Com”.

With so much history of wine in Ohio, it’s no wonder that so many fantastic wines can come from this region of the country. One of those Vineyards that consistently produces quality wine is Vinoklet Winery & Restaurant located in Colerain, Cincinnati Ohio.

We congratulate everyone who received a medal in the show, as well as to the following 2019

Best of Show Award-Winners:

  • Best of Show Fruit/Specialty Wine: Vinoklet Winery, “Sweet Jackie”, Blackberry, Non‐vintage, American

  • Best of Show Dessert Wine: Vinoklet Winery, “Passion”, Blueberry, Non‐vintage, American

  • Overall Best of Show/Best of Ohio: Ferrante Winery, Gewurztraminer, 2017, Grand River Valley Best of Show/Best of Ohio White Wine: Ferrante Winery, Signature Series Riesling, 2017, Grand River Valley

  • Best of Show/Best of Ohio Red Wine: Laurentia Vineyard and Winery, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Stoltz Block, 2016, Grand River Valley

  • Best of Show Blush/Rosé Wine: Heineman Winery, Pink Catawba, Non‐vintage, Lake Erie

  • Best of Show/Best of Ohio Ice Wine: Gervasi Vineyard, “Sognata”, Vidal Blanc Ice Wine, Non‐vintage, American

[Above] Kreso Mikulic / Wine Master Vinoklet Winery & Restaurant
[Above] Kreso Mikulic / Wine Master Vinoklet Winery & Restaurant

Best of Ohio” designation was awarded to the “Best of Show” wines that were made from a minimum of 90% Ohio‐grown American/Labrusca, Hybrid and Vinifera grape varieties, and have received the Ohio Quality Wine seal designation.”

Mark Fisher* from Dayton.Com says, “Ferrante Winery captures ‘Best of Show’ and ‘Best White’ while Vinoklet snags two top awards for fruit wines”

Then goes onto say, “Southwest Ohio was well-represented in the winner’s circle by Vinoklet Winery in Cincinnati, which captured the top prize for “Fruit/Specialty Wines” for its “Sweet Jackie” Blackberry wine, and for top Dessert/Fortified Wine for its “Passion” sweet Blueberry wine. “

This year Vinoklet is very proud to have produced two “Best of Show” wines, and has won best of show in previous years as well in the same competition with Sweet Jackie winning the “Best of Show” with best berry wine in 2018, Brother Joe winning “Best of Show” dry red in 2015, and Traminette back in 2012. While Mikulic’s wines have won many medals over the years, we are especially proud of our double gold winners.

Kreso is known for saying “Don’t judge our wine by description, Judge it by taste. You are the ultimate Judge”, but it’s still nice to have someone else give confirmation of quality wine that was won as a result of hard work and experience by awarding a few medals here and there. While Kreso is in his mid 80s, he is often found working in the vineyard & winery on a daily basis so each of the wines produced at the winery are a result of his passion, dedication, and focus on producing local quality wine.

History of Ohio Wines. Says “Ohio has a long tradition of growing flavorful grapes that produce quality wines. It first began in the early 1800s when Nicholas Longworth, a pioneer in the commercial wine industry, planted Catawba grapes in Cincinnati above the Ohio River. Unlike the stronger-tasting wines of that era, Longworth’s Catawba grapes produced a semi-sweet wine that quickly won the praises of consumers. His initiatives proved so successful, that by 1859, Ohio had become the leading producer of wine, boasting more than 3,000 acres of grapes along the river between Cincinnati and Ripley, Ohio.

But by the late 1860s, when crop disease destroyed grapes and the Civil War reduced the labor force, winemaking in southern Ohio was virtually non-existent. However, German immigrants brought their traditions of winemaking to the Lake Erie Islands in northern Ohio. This area’s unique climate and its surrounding waters were ideal for growing grapes, and wine production prospered once again.

By the turn of the century, dozens of wineries inhabited the islands of Lake Erie, and thousands of gallons of wine were produced in this area. Its reputation for flavorful wines led to the addition of more vineyards along the entire southern shore of Lake Erie, which soon became known as the “Lake Erie Grape Belt.”

Although Prohibition virtually obliterated winemaking in Ohio, the post-Prohibition years of the 1960s marked a time of resurgence for Ohio’s winemaking industry. It was then that hardy, disease-resistant French-American grapes were planted in Southern Ohio. These grapes produced popular wines similar to the less-sweet European varieties, and before long, these grapes were thriving in the Northern Lake Erie Grape Belt as well.

Today, Ohio is one of the top 10 wine-producing states with more than 1.1 million gallons produced every year. Ohio’s grape portfolio now includes vinifera, the type of grape from which Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Riesling wines are made.

So, while consumers still enjoy the old favorites like Catawba, they also satisfy their palates with European-style wines made right here in Ohio. In fact, Ohio’s Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Gris/Grigio, and Pinot Noir wines have gained favor with wine lovers far and wide. Numerous Ohio wines have been selected as “Best of Show” winners in well-known national wine competitions.”

You can follow the link below to find out more about Ohio wineries or return to for more information about Vinoklet Winery.

You can find out much more about Ohio wines at

[Above] Kreso Mikulic

[Below] Jim Black

*Mark Fisher appeared in the TheWineBuzz July/August 2019 edition (below).

The Best Of The Best

By Mark Fisher

Homegrown Wines Shine at the 2019 Ohio Wine Competition

“Wines born and bred in the Buckeye state dominated the 2019 Ohio Wine Competition (OWC). The competition, which drew nearly 300 entries, was held over two days in mid-May in Geneva-on the-Lake, Ohio. The OWC welcomes entries from all Ohio wineries. But many Ohio wineries make wines from grapes (or juice) grown in other wine regions, be it California, Washington, Oregon, New York, or elsewhere. At the competition, though, the wines are evaluated “blind” – judges do not know which wineries submitted the wines or from where the juice or grapes were sourced. In some previous Ohio Wine Competition judgings, the Ohio-born-and-bred wines did not compete all that effectively against some of the wines from more well-known, and often warmer, grapegrowing regions. This year, however, the wine chosen as the “Best of Show” overall was a 2017 Ferrante Winery & Ristorante Gewürztraminer, which was made from grapes grown at the winery in Geneva, Ohio. Ferrante Winery also scored the “Best White Wine” designation for its 2017 Grand River Valley Riesling. Nick Ferrante, owner and winemaker of Ferrante Winery, told TheWineBuzz that the 2017 growing season had “the warmest September we have ever had. It has yielded many very good wines. Our 2017 Gewürztraminer was very ripe, but the wine is very balanced, with enticing aromatics and flavors.” The wine also has won “Best Gewürztraminer” in an American Wine Society competition, as well as “Best of Class” in the 2019 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. And a week after its triumph in Genevaon-the-Lake, the wine was awarded a double-gold medal and best of class in the Indy International Wine Competition. The Ohio Wine Competition’s “Best Red” designation went to a 2016 Laurentia Vineyard and Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Stoltz Block Grand River Valley, estategrown at the winery in Madison, Ohio. Gervasi Vineyard in Canton captured the “Best Ice Wine/Best Ohio Ice Wine” designation for its “Sognata” Vidal Blanc Ice Wine. The award for best rosé- style wine went to Put-in-Bay winery Heineman’s for its Lake Erie Pink Catawba.

Vinoklet Winery in Cincinnati captured the top prize in two categories: best Fruit/Specialty Wine for its “Sweet Jackie” Blackberry wine, and for top Dessert/ Fortified Wine for its “Passion” sweet Blueberry wine.

A Riesling that won the “Best of Show” designation last year, and a Traminette that won the top honor in 2017, both were made from grapes grown outside Ohio, so this year’s results buoyed the Taste of Gervasi spirits of those affiliated with Ohio’s wine industry and their effort to promote the Buckeye state’s estate-grown wines. “This really showcases Ohio’s ability to produce high-quality wines from Ohio-grown fruit,” said Todd Steiner, enology program manager and winemaking specialist at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). Steiner, in conjunction with Kent State University’s Ashtabula branch campus, oversees the Ohio Wine Competition. Kent State offers an enology and viticulture program (VESTA). A week after the Ohio Wine Competition was held, the Ohio Department of Agriculture released its “Director’s Choice” wine awards for top Ohio wines. The “Best Red Wine” designation went to M Cellars Winery (Geneva) for its 2017 Meritage. The 2016 Debonné Vineyards Vidal Blanc Ice Wine (Madison) captured “Best Dessert/Specialty Wine.” And there was a two-way tie for “Best White Wine” between the 2017 Laurentia Vineyard & Winery Estate Clone 90 Riesling (Madison) and the Gervasi Vineyard Gervasi Family Reserve Passione (Canton).

NOTE: Mark Fisher, editor of TheWineBuzz and author of this story, served as a judge at the Ohio Wine Competition. "


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