Ohio River Wine Tasting in 2021: 8 Best Wineries to Visit

Ohio boasts of having one of the essential wine valleys in America. With so many to choose from, how do you know which will suit you?

Check out some of the best wineries in Ohio below, but first, let’s discuss what type of wines you expect to find in this region.

What Wine is Ohio River Valley Known for?

Ohio River Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) is one of the five significant designated AVAs in Ohio. A lot of the grapes produced in this region are a Eurasian species of grapes called Vitis vinifera.

Some famous wines obtained from these grapes are Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Ohio has a cold climate with cold winters and many plant diseases that made it hard for the grapes to survive in the past when viticulturists first planted them.

Hybrid grapes by crossing Vitis vinifera and the American species of the grape (Vitis labrusca) are the typical grapes grown in Ohio. Over time, advances in technology fostered more hybrids across many grape species.

Technology has made it possible for viticulturists to make grapes and produce wines in the extreme climate and make them resistant to pests and vine diseases. These grapes are Frontenac, Chambourcin, Valvin Muscat, Catawba, Delaware, Marquette, and La Crescent.

The tasting notes of wines in Ohio are diverse. You will find some dry reds and whites, sweet ice wines, some festive sparkling wines, and semi-sweet rosé.

There are six major wine trails throughout Ohio, and up to a hundred wineries participate in these trails. The Appalachian wine trail is in Southeastern Ohio along the border with West Virginia, where you can explore the foothills and visit Ohio University. The other wine trails are Capital City Wine Trail, Ohio River Valley Wine Trail, Vines & Wines Trail, Canal Country Wine Trail, and Lake Erie Shores and Island Wine Trail.

Best Ohio River Wineries

Check out the top wineries in Ohio.

Wineries Map:

1. Henke Winery

Henke Winery 1
Image Source: @henkewinery
Henke Winery 2
Image Source: @henkewinery
Henke Winery 3
Image Source: @henkewinery

Henke Winery is ranked as one of the top 10 urban wineries in the U.S. by the Food Republic. The winery was opened in 1996 by O.E. Henke and had over 15 award-winning wines produced in their cellar. Some of these wines include red varietals and dry whites like Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and Cabernet wines. Henke winery also produces many barrels of fermented sparkling wines and blush blends.

You can get a taste of a wide variety of sea and land fare anytime in the day and have it with their wines in a bottle or glass. Entrees include Mediterranean-style lamb chops, seafood linguine, and veal scallopini. You can walk in to have a taste of 5 different wines for a price of $10. If you’re going for dinner on a Friday or Saturday night, you might have to join the dinner rush of people flocking there.

Some of their best wines include:

  • Chardonnay (Sparkling and White)
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Cellar Blush
  • Vin de Rouge
  • Vidal Blanc
  • Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
  • Red Zinfandel
  • Seyval

Blessing of the Vines Event

This is an annual event that involves blessing the grapevines for the new year. It is a centuries-old European tradition that ensures a bountiful harvest and a new release of wines. This event is usually open for everyone, and there is no need to purchase tickets to attend.

Other festivals to keep track of are:

  • Patrick’s Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Daylight Savings,
  • Westwood Home Tour
  • Best Wines
  • Festivals/Events
  • Best Wines
  • Festivals/Events

2. Hanover Winery

Hanover Winery 1
Image Source: @hanoverwinery
Hanover Winery 2
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Hanover Winery 3
Image Source: @hanoverwinery

Hanover Winery is the only winery in Butler County. It was opened in 2009 by married couple Elizabeth and Eddie Scheffel and has been producing quality wines since then. It has seen a steady growth to being voted as the best date night spot in Butler’s County, and it is only a day’s trip distance from Oxford.

Its wine lineup includes fruit, red, white, and blush wines all through the year with some classic varietals like Vignoles, Marquette, Traminette, and Baco Noir. A famous wine from the company is their dammit Annie fruit wine that has received several awards at competitions like the Ohio Wine Competition and the Finger Lakes International Competition.

You can have a taste of seven wines from the company’s collection in their tasting room, which is a quaint and pleasant setting in the warmer months. It is just an hour’s drive from Cincinnati, and you typically don’t need a reservation to visit, except more you are bringing people along. If you’re more than 9 visiting the winery, you need to give them a heads-up so they can prepare for you.

Hanover winery has many themed events and charities all through the year. After your wine tasting session at this winery, you can keep their logoed glass as a souvenir of your visit.

Check out some of the wines in their collection:

  • Traminette
  • Chardonnay
  • Pink Toad
  • Black Dahlia
  • Cabaret Sauvignon
  • Mason’s Red
  • Marquette
  • Zinfandel
  • Malbec

Pat Murphy – July 24 (6:30 – 9:30)

Pat Murphy is a local artist in the state with a long history of playing with his band called Murphy’s Law. Join them as they play nice tunes from the 60s and 70s like the Eagles, James Taylor, and many more of your favorites. While they’re playing, you can make your choice from a collection of over 25 wines wither with bottle or glass at the venue. You can pair the wines with the winery’s food options, including Pretzel bread, Fresh pizzas, Cheeseboards, and Charcuterie boards. The entrance fee is $5, and you have free parking.

Other festivals to keep track of are:

  • W. Wine festival
  • For the Love of PAWS
  • Jim Burns Band

3. A.R. Winery

A.R. Winery 1
Image Source: @a.r.winery
A.R. Winery 2
Image Source: @a.r.winery
A.R. Winery 3
Image Source: @a.r.winery

Married couple Angie and Russel Rex founded A. R Winery. The winery is typically known for its excellent fruit wines that are unlike any other around. Their exceptional wine quality has won them a lot of awards, particularly for their very drinkable varietals. A.R. winery even has medals from the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition and Indy International Wine Competition.

You can recognize their wines from their unique silky smooth all-year varietals that spot fruits like cranberry, blueberry, apple, lime, and strawberry. Their seasonal variants include harvest favorites like pumpkin spice to holiday wines with peppermint flavor.

The company has a Briar Brown Brewing Label that produces craft beers which you can also purchase with other wines in their public tasting room. Anytime you visit their winery throughout the week, you can pair the wines with wood-fired brick-oven pizzas along with shareable appetizers and charcuterie platters.

Some of their most popular wines are:

  • El Loco Lime
  • Forbidden Apple
  • County Fair Caramel Apple
  • Speakeasy
  • Black-Eyed Berry
  • OMB Strawberry
  • El Nino Tropical
  • Lock, Stock & Berries
  • Ives Gotta Have It

Membership Night:

This is a day for wine & beer tastings at the winery, and it is free for all members or those intending to join the Ohio Farm Bureau. Visitors are also welcome to this event, and if you bring a friend along with you, you could get a free drink. It is an excellent event for those in the winery community, including gardeners, farmers, food, wine, and whiskey enthusiasts.

4. Caesar Creek Vineyards, LLC

Caesar Creek Vineyards 1
Image Source: @caesarcreekvineyards
Caesar Creek Vineyards 2
Image Source: @caesarcreekvineyards
Caesar Creek Vineyards 3
Image Source: @caesarcreekvineyards

The Caesar Creek Vineyards is one of the few wineries in Ohio that produces its grapes on-site at the estate vineyards. It began operations in 2013 when Walter Borda, the founder, started crafting various white and red wines. These wines included Cayuga White, Traminette, Marechal, and Frontenac varietals, Ohio State University rated as Ohio Quality Wines.

Just like many of the wineries on this list, this also has medals from the Ohio Wine Competition and Indy International Wine Competition for their quality wine collection. Visitors can check out their collection by visiting their industrial-style tasting room in Xenia and take samples of wine flights to discover what their favorites are. They offer winery tours on request and show you their operations during the tours.

Some of the best wines from this winery are:

  • Creek Stomper
  • Skipping Stone
  • Headwaters White
  • Caesar’s Rosé
  • Caesar’s White
  • Chardonel
  • Traminette
  • Just Peachy

Cork & Canvas :

Enjoy a glass of wine and take in the beautiful scenery of Caesar Creek Vineyards. You can take a sip of wine as you paint a springtime picture of poppies. All of this goes for a package of $30 for reservation, and it includes the paint, instructions, light snacks, canvas, and a local glass of wine to keep you inspired. You can make it a group activity and take your friends along. I’m sure they’ll be happy to have you. A portion of the proceeds from the event will go to the X*ACT Gallery.

Other festivals to keep track of are:

  • X’ACT at the Vineyard
  • Annual Easter Egg Hunt
  • 5K at the vineyard
  • Mercedes Benz Car Show

5. Meier’s Wine Cellars, Inc.

Meier's Wine Cellars 1
Image Source: @MeiersWine
Meier's Wine Cellars 2
Image Source: @MeiersWine
Meier's Wine Cellars 3
Image Source: @MeiersWine

Meier’s Wine Cellars Inc is Silverton’s first winery founded in 1895 as the John C. Meier Grape Juice Company. It is a historic winery that previously operated from what is now known as the Kenwood Towne Center. In the late 20th century, it took the title of the largest winery in Ohio. Paramount Distillers have overseen the winery and managed its operations since 1976.

The winery produces over 45 unique wine and grape juice types, including some non-alcoholic sparkling grape juices. Guests have the opportunity to check by the company’s tasting room on Tuesdays through Saturdays in the mornings and afternoons hours. You can have wine glasses paired with cracker platters and cheese.

Apart from just having a taste of their wines, this winery also gives you knowledge of the local history and how they make the wines. Their wine retail store also sells home winemaking supplies, wine gift baskets, and other wine-related accessories and apparel.

Some of the wines this company produces are:

  • Meier’s American Ruby Port
  • Reiém Spumante
  • Meier’s Raspberry Wine
  • Meier’s Concord Wine
  • Walleye White
  • Meier’s Sweet Vermouth
  • Meier’s Red Seedling Wine
  • Meier’s Sauternes
  • Haut Sauterne

Valentines at Meier’s:

On February 14, Meirs holds a themed Valentines’ event for lovers annually. Come with your significant other and enjoy their smooth-tasting quality wines and the food that accompanies them. You can check their website for information on reservations and bookings when it approaches the date.

Other events/festivals to keep track of are:

  • Cincinnati International Wine Festival
  • 4th Fridays with DJ LADY D
  • Annual Taste Of Silverton

6. Old Mason Winery and Vineyard

Old Mason Winery and Vineyard 1
Image Source: @OldMasonWinery
Old Mason Winery and Vineyard 2
Image Source: @OldMasonWinery
Old Mason Winery and Vineyard 3
Image Source: @OldMasonWinery

Married duo Donna and Jeff Clark opened Old Mason Winery and Vineyard doors to the public in 2013. This excellent winery makes award-winning dry, sweet, semi-sweet, port, and semi-dry wines throughout the year. They typically focus on classic American and International varietals like Cayuga White, Marquette, LaCrescent, Noiret, and Frontenac wines.

Blackberry, Mango, Raspberry, and Apple wines also make great choices for dessert pairings and dinner. Their tasting flights typically have five pours of the company’s wines with appetizers like charcuteries, crackers, and cheeses. On some Saturday or Friday evenings, you might get treated to live music performances in their tasting room, or you can sit on their patio.

Best Wines:

  • LaCrescent
  • Razz
  • Statesman
  • Vidal Blanc
  • Dark Rose’
  • Marquette
  • Apple Blend
  • Dry Riesling
  • Warming Trend

LaGranja Mexicana Food Truck at the Winery:

Come and enjoy some of LaGranja’s favorite delicacies like Quesadillas, Grilled Buriiitos, Sufocade Blanco, and lots more. You can pair your choice with any of Old Mason’s quality wines and have an excellent time out.

Old Mason hosts many live music events featuring the following musicians

  • Scott Houchens
  • Rick Sylvester
  • Steve Worley
  • Mike Sedmak

7. Olde Schoolhouse Vineyard and Winery

Olde Schoolhouse Vineyard and Winery 1
Image Source: @oldeschoolhouse
Olde Schoolhouse Vineyard and Winery 2
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Olde Schoolhouse Vineyard and Winery 3
Image Source: @oldeschoolhouse

Olde Schoolhouse Vineyard and winery is the first winery in Preble County and is in a historic restored turn-of-the-century one-room schoolhouse in Eaton. You can get to the winery is just a day’s trip from Dayton, Columbus, and Cincinnati. Mark Zdobinski and Jim Meeks founded this winery in 2016, and today, it has over 20 varieties of white and red wines sold all year.

The winery typically focuses on classic varietals like Sangiovese, Seyval, carrot Noir, and Malbec. They have an upscale tasting room you can visit throughout the week for tastings. You might not be able to find food on-site. However, some high-quality area food trucks are parked on-site, and you can also take their food to the venue.

Best Wines:

  • Pinot Grigio
  • Valvin Muscat
  • Pink Catawba
  • Reisling
  • Honey Buzz Wine
  • Plum Wine
  • Fuzzy Asspricot
  • Pinot Grigio

Mom Andrasik’s Hungarian Cabbage Rolls Event:

This is a food trailer specializing in making authentic Hungarian Cabbage Rolls, a recipe in their generations for years. Enjoy the rolls while taking sips from your favorite wine bottles with your family.

8. Valley Vineyards

Valley Vineyards 1
Image Source: @valleyvineyards
Valley Vineyards 2
Image Source: @valleyvineyards
Valley Vineyards 3
Image Source: @valleyvineyards

You can trace the origins of this winery to Ken Schuchter when it initially opened in 1971. Today, his son Kenny Joe and daughter-in-law Jodie manage and operate the winery. You can find many classic and experimental wines in the winery all year long, including traditional reds like Chardonnays and Merlots to specialty ice wines.

Apart from wines, the vineyard also concocts an extensive collection of craft beers in favorite European and American styles like stouts, bocks, and IPAs. They offer self-guided tours of their wine cellar throughout their operating hours daily. You can also request tastings of their wines and craft beers to see the ones you enjoy most. Homemade pizzas are available to complement the wines and round out your tasting experience.

Some of the wines in this vineyard are:

  • Cabernet Franc
  • Vid Champagneal Blanc
  • Niagara
  • Honey Mead
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Oaked And Unoaked Chardonnay

Wine & Beer festival:

This event marks the start of summer and the anniversary of valley Vineyards’. You will find plenty of local businesses, food trucks, live music, and entertainment on the grounds of the winery that you can enjoy with your group of friends or family. You don’t need to pay any entry fees or admission tickets, just $5 for parking.

Other festivals/events to look out for are:

  • Oktoberfest
  • Christmas in the Valley
  • Weekend Cookouts

Conclusion

Any of these Ohio wineries would be a perfect choice for you to spend the day and have a good time or host your event. You might even discover your new favorite wine bottle while visiting one of them.

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