Whether large or small, new or classic, these five Cincinnati-based wineries each have their own space in the local world of the grape. We showcase the unique experiences they have to offer.
The Hidden Wholesaler
Seconda Volta Vineyards
After retiring from his software career, Eric Lombardo wanted to do something that had meaning for him. The avid wine enthusiast had at times considered getting into winemaking, but it wasn’t until he and his wife Lauren found their home in Anderson Township—on seven acres of riverfront property that happened to have ideal soil pH (6.4) and a forgiving microclimate—that they decided to take the plunge. They planted their first crops in 2015 with the help of local winemaker Alex Sena (now chief winemaker and general manager of Revel OTR Urban Winery), the plot divided evenly between white and red grapes. Then they waited…for two-and-a-half years.
Their patience paid off at their first harvest, and the microwinery has since produced 1,200 bottles annually. Their motto is “slow wine, special care,” and Lombardo personally inspects each cluster of grapes from initial pruning in March to harvest in late September. Carlotta, their red, is a Bordeaux-style blend aged one year in oak barrels, combining Lombardo’s chambourcin grapes with Washington-grown cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot for a medium-bodied wine with earthy berry aromas and a savory finish. The white, Laurentia, is a “Vidal Grigio,” half their vidal blanc grapes and half Oregon-grown pinot grigio, stored in stainless-steel barrels, producing a light, fruity flavor.
Ten percent of the vineyard’s production is dedicated to benefitting the Ken Anderson Alliance and LADD, local charities that have a mission of empowering adults with developmental disabilities, a cause near and dear to the Lombardo family. The wholesale producer’s wine can be purchased at various locations, including Revel OTR and markets and restaurants around Anderson Township, including Dewey’s Pizza.
The Classic Urban Winery
Founded in 1996, long before urban wineries were on the rise, Henke has established itself among the best in the U.S. (so says Wine Enthusiast). Fifteen award-winning wines are made in the cellar of an old farmhouse in the heart of Westwood. Tastings include five wines—we enjoyed Vidal, a slightly sweet white with hints of grapefruit, apple, and pear, and the Norton Limited Edition, a complex red made with Ohio-grown grapes. With a full menu of American fare served in a charming dining room by friendly, knowledgeable servers, Henke offers wine lovers the whole experience—without a long drive.
3077 Harrison Ave., Westwood, (513) 662-9463
The Make-Your-Own Spot
Mio Vino Micro Winery
Pop in to Mio Vino for a fun night out, if that’s all you’re after (the place was packed on a recent Friday). You can sample from 21 wines fermented on-site at the small-batch winery in a Deer Park strip, from traditional reds and whites to blended fruit wines like strawberry white merlot. Or, if you’re an aspiring vintner, Mio Vino allows you to actually learn the craft, an immersive 45-day process involving all the steps: mixing the grapes, pitching the yeast, and labeling and bottling your batch. The final bottling appointment is the perfect time for a party (bridal showers are big), and guests can bring food.
7908 Blue Ash Rd., Deer Park, (513) 515-8496
The West Side Vineyard
For 33 years Vinoklet has been honing its craft wine along the rolling hills of Colerain Township. Walk through the vineyards where they grow the five types of grapes they harvest (including Catawba and Niagara), or visit on Friday and Saturday, when you can grill your own meat—glass of wine in hand, of course. We enjoyed Passion, a blueberry wine, which won best of show dessert wine at the 2019 Ohio Wine Competition, as we admired grapes on the vine.
11069 Colerain Ave., Colerain Twp., (513) 385-9309
The New Urban Winery
Revel OTR Urban Winery
The enterprise that became Revel OTR officially started in Spring 2017, but dates back to earlier days when two of four founders, Anthony Maieron and John Coleman, made wine together in one of their basements. Today, the winemaking still happens in the basement, but the rest of Revel’s two-story, historic brick building offers plenty of room for guests to tip a glass (or two) back. Head vintner Alex Sena sources most of the winery’s grapes from the West Coast to create a range of changing in-house offerings, including a cabernet sauvignon, malbec, and sangiovese. That inventory complements a pleasant selection of wines ranging from regional to international labels.
111 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 579-3463