Vinology is a One-Stop Shop for Wine Culture

This new Mt. Lookout Square bar is the latest place to buy, taste, and learn about wine under one roof.
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MAY 2024
The cozy interior of Vinology.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF VINOLOGY

Mt. Lookout Square’s newest addition mixes a high-end look and feel with an approachable and accessible attitude towards wine culture.

Vinology is not only a place to taste wine, but home to an expansive wine cellar and a local place to learn about wine. Founder and CEO Michelle Nguyen’s passion for wine culture inspired her to open this one-stop shop for all things wine.

Born and raised in Vietnam, Nguyen says wine was nonexistent in her childhood beyond cooking with it. After moving to the United States with her family as a teen, it wasn’t until she traveled to Europe during her final year of college that she truly experienced wine firsthand. “It’s not just a beverage there, it’s a culture,” she says.

After returning from Europe and graduating from Penn State in the early 2000s, Nguyen moved from Philadelphia to Detroit to New York City as she climbed the corporate ladder, eventually settling in an executive role in Rhode Island.

The isolation she felt as a corporate executive working remotely during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic lead her to move closer to her family in Ohio. After renting an apartment in Over-the-Rhine for her and her daughter, Nguyen quickly fell in love with Cincinnati.

“It’s a charming city with a lot of history,” Nguyen says. “I had never heard of Mt. Lookout, and I was amazed by this hidden gem.”

Founder and CEO Michelle Nguyen

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF VINOLOGY

Vinology combines all sections of wine culture under one roof: a tasting room, a wine cellar with bottles for purchase, and the Cincinnati Wine Academy for wine education on the second floor.

The tasting room has 18 wines on the pour list, but if you don’t see anything you like, you can head to the cellar and choose your own bottle to enjoy with no corkage fee. Sip your wine at the bar or take it out to the spacious patio.

The wine cellar hosts a selection of 400 bottles from Australia to Germany and everywhere in between, with an emphasis on rare wines and local growers. All the wines are sold at the state-minimum price.

“We decided that we don’t want to mark up our wines to keep them affordable and approachable for the community,” Nguyen says.

That community and approachability are at the forefront of Vinology’s mission.

“We want to be creating community,” says Deborah Barton, Vinology’s executive vice president and general manager. “We want to be a place to gather, taste wine, talk about wine and share stories. We want to make wine accessible to all.”

Vinology’s grand opening event takes place at 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 1. Attendees can expect light bites on the house, live music on the patio, giveaways with prizes from local businesses, and, of course, lots of wine.

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