Our first special event tour, a collaboration with Slow Food Columbus, was a great success. Our sell out tour was a full day of Ohio eating and drinking, with just the right amount of education.
We toured, and tasted wine at four Ohio River wineries- Kinkead Ridge, Meranda Nixon, La Vigna and Valley Vineyards. Some of the wineries had started their harvest so at Meranda Nixon we were able to taste fresh traminette juice right after it was pressed and at Valley Vineyards we smelled the huge vats of fermenting concord grapes and tasted some wines straight from the barrel. We learned about different varieties, the history and challenges of growing wines in the Ohio River Valley and a lot about growing grapes and making wine. The word of the day was brix, the unit for measuring the sweetness of grapes, something that all the wineries were watching closely at harvest time.
Our picnic lunch was a feast including: Eleni Christina baguettes, Thurn’s meats (German Bologna, Capicola, Cervalot and roast beef), a variety of Ohio cheeses including Blue Jacket Dairy, Rogue Bakery cookies and Wayward Seed fruit and satin white carrots, plus Zach and Mary’s pickled green beans. I loved the specially made labels on our Rogue Bakery cookies.
Our tour ended with dinner at the Wildflower Cafe in Mason, where chef and owner Todd Hudson fed, entertained, educated us, as well as giving us a tour of the garden and letting us pick grapes and wild cherry tomatoes. The menu included a fantastic watermelon and cherry tomato gazpacho, some of their own beef and a variety of local vegetables, as well as some more Ohio wine from Burnet Ridge.
Thanks to all of the winery owners who were extremely hospitable and enthusiastic teachers; Andrew Hall and Tom Day for helping to organize the tour.
Here are more photos from the tour.