Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Road Trip: Cincy Wine Wagon

Last year - there was the Cincy Brew Bus - this year - we've got the Cincy Wine Wagon!!! The folks at the Brew Bus heard the message loud and clear - Cincinnati loves beer - but they also love Wine! It's the same idea - get on a school bus - ride from place to place - get your drink on! 

We started at Maggiano's in Kenwood which was nice because they provided us food! This helps so that you're not drinking on an empty stomach. Those little crispy pizza bites were really great too!

I took my good friend Leah with me - we noshed and then hopped on the school bus! 

Mike Stokes is the owner of Cincy Brew Bus & Cincy Wine Wagon - he's a fantastic tour guide. While you're on the bus he gives you historical facts about Cincinnati history and the places you're going. He's very energetic and friendly. He's also thinking about what you need on the bus - he has water and boxes to hold any wine you buy.

The first stop was Valley Vineyards in Morrow - they met us at the door with sparkling wine - always a treat - totally my favorite thing to drink! It was delicious! They were having a festival so we took a tour downstairs and then enjoyed the festival.

The tasting there was amazing - we tried probably 7 or  8 different wines!! We also got to keep the glass! Here you can see I'm sniffing like an experienced connoisseur.

Downstairs they have all their wine aging in barrels and we even saw a few bourbon barrels in the mix. Good stuff coming to life!

In addition to the winery - they also have a craft brewery - with a tasting room that serves both - so this is for guys & girls!

Yeah - we drank a lot of wine! My favorite was their Raspberry Wine - I'm not much of a wine drinker but this was like a wine cooler! (haha) I'm learning to appreciate wine - it's just taking a little while to do it. :-)

Leah loved it as well! 
Click to add a blog post for Valley Vineyards on Zomato

They were having a festival that day - so Leah grabbed a Banh Mi sandwich while I looked around. They have a lot of events throughout the year at Valley - including cookouts every weekend!

We also saw this Crab Cake booth and could not in any way, shape or form turn down a gigantic crab cake! It was really good and the remoulade sauce was the vendor's grandmothers recipe.

After the crab cake - we headed to the bus for stop #2. Here's a bus tip - be one of the first on the bus - it is a school bus and nobody wants the hump seat over the wheel! (Trust me - I had it - you don't want it.)

Next up was Vinoklet - in my neck of the woods on old Colerain! Vinoklet houses a restaurant, vineyard, lake and more.

Leah and I jumping in the grapes for a pic! We each tried a grape off the vine - these are not your store grapes for sure (duh). They're really tart but I kind of liked it!

Vinoklet hosts many events (a wedding party stopped by for pics while we were there). During the summer they even have movies in the vineyard - you bring your blankets and chairs and watch a movie in their gorgeous vineyard! (Free of charge - food available at additional cost.)

The restaurant is inside and the sunroom has a beautiful view of the lake and vineyard. It's really a beautiful property. I think I enjoyed the wine at Valley a little better - but Vinoklet has a great selection and is really close to my house!

Click to add a blog post for Vinoklet Winery, Restaurant, & Vineyard on Zomato

From there - we hit the bus one last time to head back to the center of town and Meier Wine Cellars in Deer Park/Silverton.

By this point - we were getting a little loopy - thankfully Meier had some cheese and crackers for us. Meier is actually the oldest and largest wine producer in the state of Ohio! Their vineyards are now in the Put-in-Bay area - but once were on the land that is now Kenwood Mall! Hard to image all those stores being a field of grapes!

Meier also gave us a complimentary glass - which was really nice to take home! They have a large selection of wines and a nice room & shop inside as well as a beautiful outside space that is gated.

Click to add a blog post for Valley Vineyards on Zomato

After our day of wine - we had made a new friend in Amber! She was a spitfire that made the latter part of the trip a hoot! The Cincy Wine Wagon was a lot of fun! Thanks to Mike for having us.

Why Should You Go? The Wine Wagon is currently scheduled for a couple of trips a month - the next ones are July 11 & 25 and it's $75/person. It's a lot of fun - the wineries aren't as close together as the breweries so there's a little more bus time - which can get bumpy. But - Mike is a great guide and how bad can anything be when you're drinking for 4 hours. :-)
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