Tag Archives: wine

Know your local brewery: Cellar Dweller

When I first had Cellar Dweller last year I was not quite amazed. I remember trying 3 or 4 and found them all to be good, not great and certainly not astounding. That changed drastically a few weeks ago at Village Wine Cellar in Lebanon. I had the Doorbell IPA that went through a Hop Rocket right before kegging and man was it amazing (sadly as I found out there has only been 1 6 barrel of that so far). That motivated me to get me off my ass, pay a visit to the Cellar Dweller, and help you all know a bit more about them.

The fist things to know is that as of now Cellar Dweller is one guy in a basement. Steve Shaw is the head brewer out at Cellar Dweller and he really is in a “basement”, however it may be one of the nicest basements out there. Unlike most breweries who are on their own in a warehouse Cellar Dweller has the distinct advantage of residing beneath the Valley Vineyard winery. Steve is part of the Valley Vineyard’s family and they were happy to lend him a hand when he got the idea for this brewery.

About the brewer:

  • How’d you get into “good” beer?
    • When I was about 21 I did a road trip with my brother and it was the first time I had any craft beer. I’d been drinking Bud Light and Budweiser and we went up to a little local brewery and I was like Man this is what beer is supposed to be like. This was before you could go to Kroger or anywhere and buy craft beer so I started brewing it and it just developed from there.
  • What is local/craft beer to you?
    • Anything that is 100 miles from your area.
  • What has the local brewing community been like?
    • It’s been awesome man. I’ve gained a lot of friends that I think will be lifelong friends. Copper Head is a beer that I’ve been brewing at home for years and had it perfect. I got on the system here and kept running into problems. I sent some beers down to Kevin [Moreland of Listermann’s/Triple Digit], we talked over my process and as soon as he tasted it he knew what it was and helped me solve the issue. What other industry, where you’re directly competing with someone, can you go down there and get help with your beer?
  • You. Desert island. Three beers. What do you choose?
    • Sam Adam Boston Lager
    • Blank Slate Brewing Company Fork in the Road
    • MadTree Psychopathy

About the brewery:

  • How and when did Cellar Dweller get going?
    •  I’m a brother in law of Kenny, who owns the winery, I was never a wine drinker so I’d always bring the beer in. So I came to Kenny and talked to him about bringing some beer into the winery. He was a little hesitant but my beer started getting better and better at the family events. So my nephew and I talked him into it and here we are! We started brewing Feburary 21st, 2012 and are 15 times over our first year numbers, almost 400 barrels. New 10 barrel system will be online in the next 2 – 3 weeks, plus new bright tanks will be a total of 60 barrels on hand at any time.
  • Is there a story behind the name?
    • For years everyone that worked in the cellar at the winery, we called them cellar dwellers. They go downstairs in the morning and they don’t come back up till the end of the day. We threw the name out there and kept trying different names but that one kept sticking.

    The beer is actually brewed in the cellar

  • What is your brewing process, from brain storm to bottle shelf?
    • I go off of my palate, and that’s me becoming a brewer then having to brew for someone else. I was brewing beer that I liked, every beer I brewed I liked. Someone else would try and and say they don’t like it. Then I started to have to brew beers other people liked and that was the hardest adjustment. Out of our 9 beers there are probably 4 that I really really like and the others are like yeah I can drink ’em. My session beer is 50 IBU and if I’m sitting down drinking it’s 100+, that’s just my style and what I like. So I sit down and make a recipe trying to think about what people like. We’ll make a batch and bring it up and see what people think, if they like it I keep the notes.
  • How has everything been going over all?
    • Steve kinda answered this earlier saying they were 15 times over initial projections. Later on in the interview he had the following “the first full year of the brewery the dinner crowd didn’t swing off as fast in the fall as it has in years before. The crowd leveled out definitely but didn’t fall off as fast.”
  • Are any of your ingredients local? If so which:
    • All of our grain is out of Chicago and I try to buy as much as I can locally. We’re gonna start growing hops in the vineyard, start about 5 acres and see how they rate with other hop areas. We’ll grow all different varieties and see how Ohio can do at growing hops.
  • Where can folks go to get Cellar Dweller?
    • Valley Vineyard’s obviously
    • Village wine Cellar in Lebanon
    • Arthur’s in Hyde Park
    • Wildflower Cafe in Mason
    • General Denver Hotel in Wilmington
    • The Pub in Beavercreek, soon to be 2 more of their locations
    • Putters 2 Put in Maineville
    • Paxton’s Grill in Loveland
    • Firehouse Grill in Blue Ash
  • When can we expect to see bottles?
    • Once we get the new system up and running the plan is that about 50% of our production will go into bottles. But we’re also looking into cans, we don’t have a packaging system yet. I think the market is there for cans and I think it’d do very well. We have a company that’s starting up in Columbus, Buckeye Mobile Canning, everything’s packed in a 26 foot box truck, they hook their hoses up to your bright tank, run it through everything leave the pallets of cans and they’re gone! It’ll be towards the middle/end of summer before that happens.

Anything else that you want folks to know?

  • We’ll be adding a new upstairs area, calling it The Loft at Valley Vineyards. It’ll be more  of a pub feel more of a craft beer style tap room where you can come in and have a bar area and a table sitting area. Our beers are constantly evolving and we’re going for full distribution by the end of summer.

The biggest little brewery in town.

Festival info – We had this festival for almost 30 years but scaled it back, but it back on the drawing board, and came back with a new idea. Now it’s the Valley Vineyards taste of Warren County. We’re trying to bring in more local foods and local restaurants as well as a few other breweries. [Listermann/Triple Digit & Blank Slate Brewing Company have been confirmed since the time of the interview.] For last 2 years we had it it was only Saturday night, but this year we’re bringing Friday night back in. The hours are Friday 5 – 11 pm and Saturday 11 am – 11 pm. We’ll have live music, obviously the food and wine, a couple guest breweries. Here is the list of events for both days and you can get tickets here.

A grand future ahead!

Steve was kind enough to hook me up with a bottle of his Copperhead pale ale as a taste of what’s to come and trust me that there is some great stuff to come. I don’t want to give this a full review as it may be a bit different then whats on draft now and what will eventually be bottled/canned. The quick review is that is a super heady with a great hazy amber brown color, bountiful citrus aroma & flavor, nice hop bitterness and flavor balanced by bready caramel malt flavor. Really excited to have some more of this once it starts rolling out.

For more info on Cellar Dweller check their web page http://www.valleyvineyards.com/cellardwellerbeers.html and Facebook page.

This is the third post in my series on knowing your local brewery. If you missed the first two then go back and get some info on Rivertown and Blank Slate Brewing Company.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Beer, Cincinnati, Interview

The Seeker Wines

seekerwines

Those of you who know me know that I know my way around booze and I also know my way around steampunks. (If you don’t know what steampunk is, think Jules Vern carried into the 21st century.) So it is fitting that I first discovered The Seeker Wines through the steampunk world. A friend of mine is a representative for Seeker Wines and he also hosts one hell of a room party. But when I got the chance to review Seeker Wines for my podcasts, I was thrilled to try them somewhere other than a party at a steampunk convention. Being constrained by a corset and already drunk are not the ideal conditions for a thoughtful and balanced tasting.

The Seeker Wines is a small, family owned company that seeks to source the best family owned wineries around the world and to bring them to the world with elegant labels and affordable prices. They have also hitched their wagon pretty firmly to the steampunk movement. Each wine has a whimsical flying contraption on the label and a steampunk explorer character who supposedly “discovered” the wine in some far off place. It has been awhile since I studied world explorers in 5th grade and at first I thought these were actual historical figures. Then I noticed that many of them were wearing goggles and one talked about fighting a giant metal octopus on his journey. I realized my mistake quickly at that point.

Seeker  Wines currently has three red and two white varieties available and so we did a two-part tasting on the podcasts. The Charlie Tonic Hour Episode 67 features the reds which I am reviewing here, and for the whites you can listen to Bottoms Up Episode 8. So without further ado, here is what I think of each of the wines.

pinot noir blimp

Pinot Noir 2011

Discovered: In France by Colette Bourgogne

Winemaking: “Cold maceration” “Fermentation in open-top barrels” “Maturation in tank on light lees”

Tasting: “Red fruit and spice” “Balanced acidity and ripe fine tannin” “Food friendly

Just to be honest to my own limitations, I am sadly unsure what many of winemaking phrases mean but I did gather that this is a wine that is not aged in oak and I could tell that right away. The fruit is more forward in this wine and there is a lightness and brightness that you don’t get from oak-aged wine. I found the tannins rather strong and it does have a very long finish. Personally I felt that the sweeter, fruitier notes on the front were a little weak in comparison to the strong finish but it does balance out better after breathing for a bit. Overall this is all an enjoyable wine but not one that I would seek out if it was inconvenient.

malbec wine blimp

Malbec 2011

Discovered: In Argentina by Esteban Colombo

Winemaking: “Hand picked” “Cold maceration” “Aged in French Oak for six months”

Tasting Notes: “Black cherry and dominate spice” “Smooth and robust with a spicy finish”

Very much spicy and woody nose and a big bold taste. You can pick up on the oak very definitely. Unlike the Pinot Noir, this one did not calm down as much after breathing. This was one of Charlie’s favorites but for me I felt the oak was too dominate. However I could see this one working well with a steak or some strongly seasoned barbecue. On its own it might be too much but when paired with a flavor that can stand up to it I can see it improving.

cabernet sauvignon airplane

Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Discovered: In Chile by Isadora Cortez

Winemaking: “Cold maceration” “3 pumpovers per day” “Aged in 20% new oak, 50% American/French for 5 months” “Reserva-level Cabernet Sauvignon”

Tasting Notes: “Ripe black and blue berries with a touch of vanilla” “Creamy tannins” “Beautiful structure with chocolate and toffee”

This one was the clear taste winner for both Charlie and myself. It helps that Cabernet Sauvignon is my usual go-to variety of red wine but this is a particularly complex yet well-balanced Cabernet Sauvignon. It is one of the few wines that I find the vanilla flavors to be really apparent but at the same time it is not overly sweet. In this wine the oak aging really does add a subtle and lovely hint of chocolate that rides just under the berries and then finishes with an assertive but not intimidating show of spice and tannins. I highly recommend this one.

seeker chardonnay

Chardonnay 2011

Discovered: In California by Wolfgang Masterssen

Winemaking: “Ferment 12 days at cool temperatures in stainless steel tanks” “5% Gewürztraminer grapes for floral notes and richness”

Tasting Notes: “Light scents of citrus and floral. Flavors of ripe pineapple, golden apple and Anjou pear are balanced by citrus notes and a smooth, creamy finish.”

I do prefer un-oaked Chardonnays to oaked so this wine started with an advantage for me. The fruit is much heavier than any floral notes for me. Pear, citrus, and pineapple came over much stronger than anything else but it does have a really nice creamy mouthfeel. Good but not mind blowing.

seeker sauvignon blanc
Sauvingnon Blanc 2012

Discovered: In New Zealand by Captain Cornelius Weatherbee

Winemaking: “Cool fermentation is carried out in stainless steel tanks to capture fruit purity. ” “Aged on fine lees two months for added weight and richness.”

Tasting Notes: “Prominent fresh acidity which is balanced by an intense core of fruit where characters of lime and apple come to mind.”

This is one of the more unique Sauvignon Blancs that I’ve ever had, and I’ve had quite a few because it is my mom’s wine of choice. It has a a stronger bouquet than is typical for this wine and a really nicely complex flavor. This is the first Sauvignon Blanc I’ve had that has a mint taste, and it came across very distinctly in addition to lime and apple flavors. Very light and bright, the flavor has an almost sparkly quality to the tongue even though there is no carbonation. And yet there is also an undertone of earthiness. Almost a moss flavor that does balance the spark and spice of mint and citrus. This was my favorite of the whites and one that I will consider ordering for my mom to get her opinion.

If you want to try some of these lovely wines yourself you will have to order them from your local wine shop or online merchant. Or I have a more fun proposal for you. Seeker Wines is the official wine of The Steampunk Empire Symposium here in Cincinnati. At the show parties both nights, The Seeker Wines will be available to try for all party goers. Despite what I said that the beginning of this article, parties at cons might not be the best place for serious tasting, it is officially the most fun way to try a wine.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized, Wine

Wine for Beer Drinkers: Where to start?

[Ed.: Today we have a guest post from Adolpho Nunez (@CincyBeachBum on Twitter), a volunteer who responded to my call for some help on the wine front. Hopefully this will be the first of many times we’ll be hearing from him!]

As drinkers, we’ve all had different reasons for picking up a glass of wine at one time or another: maybe we want to impress a date, or its a grown up party your significant other is making you attend, or maybe that’s all the wedding was serving. For one reason or another, there will come a time when wine will be the drink of the moment. And, as with any drink, why not enjoy it?

Personally, I consider myself a beer guy, but I’m not a homebrewer. I never got caught up in the “craft” of craft beer. I’m the same way with wine. I’m simply on the hunt for a drink that lifts my spirits, complements my meal, or numbs my head. I’ll take two of the three any given Friday.

With that being said, its easy to be intimidated by knowledgeable drinkers in both the beer and wine camps (“snobs” if you want to call them that). But, here’s the thing. Most people can’t tell the difference between a 10 dollar and a 100 dollar bottle of wine, so with that in mind, I’ll be focusing on those great bottles you can take to a party that are under 20 dollars, which will make people will say “Damn, that guy knows his wine”

But, to start, here is a quick rundown of some resources to help you get started on your quest to become a more well rounded drinker, because no one is paying me to tell you what to drink (yet….) Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Informational, Stores, Wine

The Dilly Cafe

Photo by 5chw4r7z

Photo by 5chw4r7z

There are many frustrating experiences in life.  Like paying $33 for a bottle of wine at a restaurant that you know retails for about $10. Or finding a beer you love and being unable to find it for sale. Or being unsure where to take a date for a good meal that’s not too expensive. Luckily the Dilly Cafe in Mariemont can help you with all of these things.

Photo by 5chw4r7z

Photo by 5chw4r7z

Part casual but classy restaurant, part wine and beer store, and part bar, The Dilly Cafe manages to wear all of these hats without  sacrificing any of them. I know avid beer lovers who make the trip to Mariemont just to find a favorite beer that is unavailable elsewhere and I’ve taken my wine-loving mom here for dinner and a bottle. The ambiance is great for a date. There is usually an acoustic musician of some kind playing but it never gets in the way of conversation. 

It seems like it could be difficult to combine a retail shop with a quality dining experience and I can think of other places that have attempted such a feat and failed. The Dilly Cafe does have really well-done American food, including incredible burgers and a decent selection of vegetarian options in addition to more formal dinner offerings. It also has an incredible beer selection that is available for sale right at the back, behind where the tables are all arranged. But the corridor that is created by the way the tables, hostess station and bar are arranged means that you don’t ever have casual customers squeezing past you while you enjoy your meal.

The thing that really makes the Dilly Cafe stand out as a restaurant is the attached wine store. There is a nice selection of wine available by the glass or bottle on the menu but for an even wider selection and better price, you can purchase a bottle at the wine store and for a $5 corking fee you can enjoy it with dinner. Better yet, on Mondays and Tuesdays there is no corking fee at all, making this the only restaurant I know of that can offer the holy grail: retail priced wine with dinner. Or lunch for that matter.

Every time I have been the staff is friendly, the food is good, and the atmosphere is relaxed and inviting. So if you are a beer snob, a wine lover, or just someone who likes good food at a decent price I recommend you give this place a try.

Thanks to the wonderful Cincinnati photographer and  blogger 5chw4r7z for use of his pictures. He is a big fan of the Dilly Cafe as well apparently.

Dilly Café on Urbanspoon

1 Comment

Filed under Places, Restaurants, Reviews

Ruby Port: Strong and Sweet

photo-3

Sometimes it’s hard to separate an alcohol’s cultural, historical, and social qualities from the qualities of the alcohol themselves.  When I first started drinking bourbon I wasn’t immediately able to enjoy sipping it neat but there was something there that intrigued me so I hung in there until I could but it’s hard to say if it was the taste or the combined qualities of history, Kentucky pride, and just plain attitude that kept me coming back for more. Drinking is aspirational in many regards. We drink what we want to become.

Now I’m not saying that I want to become a high society grandmother or an English lord, the two people who come to mind when I think of port.  But I did know a very cool, slightly well to do family in England that loved to drink port. Add that bit of personal history to the lengthy history, tradition, and rules that surround port and I have to admit there is something there that intrigues me. So when I tried the wine for Episode 55 of The Charlie Tonic Hour and found that despite the overwhelmingly sweet flavor I was nonetheless intrigued, I couldn’t say for sure if it was really the taste I was enjoying or the history.

photo (22)

Just as true champagne can only come from the Champagne region of France, a true port wine can only come from the Douro region of Portugal. Port is a fortified wine, meaning that brandy or a neutral grape spirit is added during the fermentation process. This stops the fermentation and leaves lots of undigested sugar in the wine, yet still results in a stronger than average wine. This was originally done because wine from Portugal tended to spoil during the long boat ride to England and fortifying the wine gave it a longer shelf life, but it continues today because of tradition and taste. The result is a wine that is very sweet while still being stronger than average, usually between 18-22% abv. The port I tried was a Ruby Port, the cheapest and most commonly available variety, from the Kopke Winery. Kopke is the oldest brand of port, having been founded by a German family in 1638. Through the years the winery has passed through many hands but still bares the same name and is still produced in the same region.

The taste of Ruby Port is sweet. There is no way of getting around it. Really, really, sweet. But unlike a Riesling or a Moscato it did not seem quite as sickly. There is a strong under flavor from the brandy and the tannins grip your tongue on the finish. The strength that lies just under the surface keeps the sweetness from becoming cloying. That said, this is not something that I would enjoy drinking on a regular basis. It’s not a wine that you can sip half-heartedly while talking with friends or watching a movie. It grabs your attention and I have to respect that. So there is something there I like, even though I can’t honestly say at this point if I am enjoying the unique flavor of the wine or if I am an enjoying nostalgia for my time in England combined with a hint of history and culture. Either way, I will not be letting this bottle go to waste but I’m not sure I’ll be buying another anytime soon.

2 Comments

Filed under Wine

Beer Review: Rivertown’s Ville De Rivere Geuze

Fancy name for a fancy style of beer. The style is a blending of 2+ lambics of different vintages. In this case Rivertown blended a 1-year old lambic with a 3-year old lambic, which is slightly curious because Rivertown’s barely been open for 3 years. So this 3-year old lambic must be from their first batch or something like that, kinda cool. Something else before moving onto the beer is that Rivertown is spelling it geuze whereas everyone else spells it gueuze. Hopefully one of the guys from Rivertown will drop a comment about why they choose to spell it that way or if it’s just a typo on the packaging.

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Beer, Reviews

Wine Wednesday: Dancing Bull 2009 Zinfandel

As I’ve noted before, I know very little about wine. As I do enjoy wine and I am a curious person, I figured perhaps I should make some effort at changing that. Therefore, I’ll be starting a series of posts called “Wine Wednesdays” in which I review a wine to the best of my ability. The wines I choose will meet a few criteria: 1) they have to be affordable; I’m not in the business of buying expensive things that I won’t appreciate in proportion to their cost, 2) they will be locally available, 3) I’ll be making some effort at pairing it with what is for dinner that particular night.

I’ll try to include some information on the type of wine in general and any tasting notes either from the bottle or a different authoritative source. Most of these wines will be chosen either because of a recommendation from someone from whatever shop I’m visiting, from Carolyn Evans Hammond’s “Good, Better, Best Wines”, or from Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Best Buys of 2012.

Today’s wine is Dancing Bull’s 2009 Zinfandel. Dancing Bull wines are all over the place and, true to form, I actually found this on the shelf of the CVS downtown for $7.99, which is about a buck under retail prices. It was one of the wines listed in the “Good, Better, Best Wines” (in this case, under the best category for its varietal and price point).

Zinfandel isn’t a red varietal I drink very often, so I thought it an appropriate choice for the first entry into this series. A bit more about Zinfandel, via good ‘ol Wikipedia:

Zinfandel is a variety of red grape planted in over 10 percent of California vineyards. DNA fingerprinting revealed that it is genetically equivalent to the Croatiangrape Crljenak Kaštelanski, and also the Primitivo variety traditionally grown in Puglia (the “heel” of Italy), where it was introduced in the 18th century. The grape found its way to the United States in the mid-19th century, and became known by variations of the name “Zinfandel”, a name of uncertain origin.

The grapes typically produce a robust red wine, although a semi-sweet rosé (blush-style) wine called White Zinfandel has six times the sales of the red wine in the United States. The grape’s high sugar content can be fermented into levels of alcohol exceeding 15 percent.

The taste of the red wine depends on the ripeness of the grapes from which it is made. Red berry fruit flavors like raspberry predominate in wines from cooler areas, whereas blackberry, anise and pepper notes are more common in wines made in warmer areas and in wines made from the earlier-ripening Primitivo clone.

From the Dancing Bull page:

No shortage of flavor here. Blackberry, black cherry and raspberry mix with spicy notes of pepper and vanilla, making our Dancing Bull Zinfandel one of the best things to ever happen to barbeque. Originally introduced under the Rancho Zabaco label, our Zin remains a fan favorite for its bold, award-winning style. Pair this smooth, spicy wine with braised pork ribs and burgers, or try it with pasta in a rich tomato sauce.

Well, enough from the folks who actually know things about wine. What did yours truly think?

This is, as the description above states, a very “berry” forward wine. My palate can’t pick out the individual fruits, but they are definitely there. There’s also a touch of spiciness. At almost 14%, it’s pretty full-bodied. In my opinion, it’s a little too sweet and fruit-forward. I wish it was more dry, for sure. Between the fruit and sweetness, it’s not particularly complex and is a touch cloying. For $7.99, it’s not bad value, but I’m not sure I would buy it again. Even in the $5-8 range, there are better options out there, at least in my opinion. If you like fruit in your wine, though, this will definitely for you. The Party Source carries the 2010 version for $8.99, which I assume is right around retail.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews, Wine

California Wine Dinner at Final Cut Steakhouse (September 27)

[Disclosure: I will be attending this dinner, gratis, as a guest of Final Cut. I’ll put up a review of the event soon afterwards, which will also include this note.]

I was invited to what looks to be a delicious dinner at Final Cut Steakhouse, which is located in the Hollywood Casino (Lawrenceburg, IN). A couple of the QCD authors went to a beer dinner hosted at the same venue (which sadly, I couldn’t make, but Tom covered well) and the food looked delicious. Well, it looks like I’ll get to see for myself and will let you know how it goes! If you’re interested in joining me, see the details below.

The menu:

California Wine Dinner

Goat Cheese Salad
capriole goat cheese, roasted beets, herb crisps, honey-yuzu dressing
MacMurray Pinot Gris

Sauteed dayboat Scallop
shallot compote, country ham, tomato oil
William Hill Napa Chardonnay

Pan Seared Duck Breast
israeli cous cous, smoked apple butter, pomegranite reduction
Bridlewood Syrah Blend

Roasted Tenderloin of Beef
potato puree, hen of the woods, zinfandel reduction
Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon Blend

Mascarpone Cheesecake
citrus-graham cracker crust,tangerines, hibiscus sorbet
Mirassou Moscato

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, Restaurants, Wine

Vinoklet Wine and Art Festival

Going to wineries in Ohio has always struck me as being a lot like going to casinos in Indiana. It’s a pale imitation of the real thing that is only for the hard-core addicts. Rather than feeling transported to the hills of Napa it has always done more to remind me that I’m stuck in the midwest and trying to make the most of it. But sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do and on Saturday this girl had to get a pedicure with her mom and then go drink some wine.

Vinoklet Winery and Restaurant is located on 30 acres just off Colerain Ave. It is Hamilton County’s only working winery and a popular wedding spot as well so I am surprised it has taken me this long to visit. I have to admit the grounds were absolutely stunning. As soon as we pulled in I found it hard to believe that we were minutes from the endless strip malls, box stores and the ever-present mount Rumpke. Instead you see endless hills covered with grape vines and dotted with ponds.


The annual Art and Wine Fest is apparently a pretty big deal because when we arrived they were already laying down straw so we could park in a muddy field and they would soon be using a shuttle to get people in from the afore-mentioned box stores. Undeterred by the crowd we quickly made our way past the art and straight to the wine.

I don’t know if this was due to Ohio’s crazy complex alcohol laws or a quirk of the winery or both, but you had to buy tickets to pay for all of the food and wine, you could only buy those tickets with cash, and no change was given from the tickets. Kind of a pain in the ass but don’t worry, there was an ATM charging huge fees in case you didn’t bring cash.

Once we got past the hassle of the tickets it was actually a lovely afternoon. The weather was perfect, the musicians were great, and the art was, well it was pretty typical of a summer festival. Pottery, jewelry , leather work and photography were all to be found. I have a huge respect for anyone trying to make a living by creating something and talking to the vendors was the second best part of the day, (I highly recommend Lily in Flux.) The first best part was buying a bottle of wine to share with my mom and my friend and drinking it on a hill while talking and listening to music. Being able to buy a bottle of wine and drinking it on the grounds was what really separated this from your typical summer festival and made it well worth any hassle to get to that point.

Angie and I enjoying the Festival.

And as for the wine itself? I paid $5 to try their six standard wines, their award-winning premium wines were extra, and the of the six I’d say three were drinkable. Because of the high heat, grapes grown in the area tend to be sweeter and so I was not surprised that four of the six wines were very sweet, but I did enjoy their drier wines. Both Cincinnatius, the dry red wine made from the chanbourcin grape, and Tears of Joy, a lighter white made from the vidal grape, were quite enjoyable to drink as we walked the grounds. The Sunset Blush is similar to a white Zinfandel and even though it was too sweet for my tastes, I thought it was better than a typical white zin. And to speak in defense of small, midwestern wineries I will say that it was interesting to try wine made from grapes other than the big names we all know and love. Vinoklet serves food of varying degrees of formality depending on the day but if I were to return anytime soon it will be for their Wednesday night “Cigars and Guitars” event where you can get a spaghetti and meatball buffet, buy and smoke premium cigars and enjoy some acoustic guitar music while to sample the wine.

Vinoklet Winery & Vineyard on Urbanspoon

2 Comments

Filed under Places, Restaurants, Wine