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  • July 7th, 2010

    Cincinnati Secrets: Valley Vineyards – Part Two

    This post is from Timothy J. Gabelman, the Cincinnati Wine Pairing Examiner with www.examiner.com. Tim is a contributing writer to Uncorked Cincinnati, discussing food, wine, and local tidbits!

    The celebration of forty years of estate wine-making from some of the oldest grape vines in the Ohio River Valley has revived traditions that had been discontinued for several years. For the first time since 2007, the Valley Vineyards Wine Festival was celebrated on Sunday, June 6 in honor of the unique milestone the Schuchter family has enjoyed. During this year’s festival, the public was allowed into the vineyards of the winery for the first time ever.


    In addition to the tours of the vineyards and winery, Bella Balloons offering tethered hot-air balloon rides and Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks ended the evening’s festivities with a bang!

    There were also demonstrations from a Cincinnati-based charity, Circle Tail, which provides assistance dogs to people with mobility, hearing, neurological or psychiatric disabilities. They also provide dogs for adoption, as well as offer obedience training, behavior management and boarding services.

    Of course, there was food, “They put a lot of effort into the food and the vendors that are coming. There’s a meat vendor from Findlay Market coming up. There’s a Greek restaurant from Blue Ash…. and we had to get Angelo’s here because there will be kids and they’ll want pizza.” The winery also hosted an anniversary cookout.

    valleyvineyards4This year’s wine festival was seen as a major departure from the ones a few years ago, because it was designed to be more family-focused as well as celebratory. According to Joe Schuchter, grandson of founder, Ken, “And its, you know, you can have a couple glasses of wine, have your family and friends around, that’s what we’re trying to make it.”

    In a token of appreciation for the local work of Ken Schuchter, the Hamilton Township board of trustees named June 6 “Valley Vineyard Day” and the Little Miami Chamber of Commerce spoke about his business contributions to the community. Ohio’s First Lady, Frances Strickland, wife of Ohio Governor Ted Strickland presented Ken with an award for his remarkable achievement at the festival.

    Of course, no winery could observe a historical milestone without the release of a celebratory wine. When asked about the plans for the forty-year anniversary, Joe spoke first of the release of two new wines, “Red and White Reflections, which are two hybrid blends that we have now. Red Reflections is basically all DeChaunac. White Reflections is Vidal Blanc, Chardonnay, Seyval Blanc and Cayuga. It is 2.5% residual and Red Reflections is 3. They’re both done in stainless steel.”

    The Valley Vineyards Ohio River Valley White Reflections ($9.99) offers a great mouthful of pear, apple, lemon peel, and honey notes with a beautiful floral nose. The stainless steel fermentation makes this a clean, crisp, and ultimately refreshing wine with a beautiful acid structure. Sip this wine on a hot summer day sitting on the porch!

    The Valley Vineyards Ohio River Valley Red Reflections ($9.99), which just won a bronze medal in the 2010 Ohio Wine Competition and a silver medal at the 2010 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, is 100% DeChaunac, from forty-year old vines. It is a gentle, subtle wine which teases with hints of blueberry and raspberry.

    The proprietary name of “Reflections” was inspired by the stainless steel fermentation tanks used in producing the wines, neither of which saw any time in oak and which are polished to a high-reflective, mirror-like finish.

    Of course, even if you did not get to make it to the Wine Festival on June 6, the winery is always happy to serve tastings in their tasting room or dining room. They offer two tasting trays (each $8.00) for dry wines or sweet wines. The tasting room is open:

    Monday to Thursday: 11 am – 6 pm
    Friday and Saturday: 11 am – 4 pm
    Sunday: 1 pm – 6 pm

    Of course, bottles of wine are also available at the winery for purchase.

    Dinner at Valley Vineyards is a great opportunity to socialize in a relaxed, fun atmosphere. For $59.00 (per couple 21 and older), you can use indoor or outdoor grills to cook steak or salmon, after tasting wines to select a bottle for your dinner. In addition to the entree, the winery offers fresh salads (including our own pizza salad), baked potato (with butter and sour cream), mixed vegetables, rice pilaf, green beans almandine, bread and butter, and the homemade dessert buffet. The winery has offered this dining option for more than thirty years and it has become a staple of the Valley Vineyards experience!

    Look for Part Three of “Cincinnati Secrets: Valley Vineyards” coming next week.


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