Lancaster, OH – August 2018 -Hanging Out in the Vineyard

A few weeks ago we took a tour of the Wyandotte Winery, with their great host/owner Valerie. We had such a good time we made a trip down to Lancaster to tour their vineyard, which they have named Rockside.

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Valerie started us out in their tasting room giving us an overview of what we were to see and do, as well as a couple of tastings. Once outside she gave us great insight into the working of the winery, including an interesting tidbit about how to tell by the seeds if the grapes are ripe.

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While not quite ready for picking, they looked great on the vine and were delicious to eat right off the vine.

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Normally I am too busy taking photos to note the details that a tour guide gives us, but on this day not only was I taking photos, I was carrying my small plate with my wine glass, and tasting the wine – no wonder I have no clue what type of grapes these are – but Valerie knows.

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You can see in her approach to her vineyard just how passionate she is about having a quality product.

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Some of the grapes had meshing over them. Apparently they had a recent ‘attack’ of birds eating all the grapes, and this is how they keep them safe.

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Even with the meshing, the grapes stand out against the green leaves.

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Another row – another tasting 🙂

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These rows had some sort of issue, so rather than let them disease the rest of the vineyard, they were removed and new ones are now growing in their place.

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Lancaster is in a hilly area, and the neighbors barn along with the hillsides make a pleasant surrounding for the vineyard.

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Valerie’s assistant Taylor was on her first day on the job – she did great!

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In one area they are now growing lavender.

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Another view of the farm next door, along with some of the vineyards.

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Bad grapes, bad bad grapes – out with the bad so the good stay good.

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It was interesting the various shapes of the leaves for each type of grape – they were all slightly different.

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From the side the vineyards appear very thick, forming perfect north south rows, which is essential to good grape growing.

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They even have their own mini weather station.

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In one of the row were these massive mushroom – nothing whatsoever to do with grapes, but still very cool.

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We had a great time wander the vineyard, drinking wine and being entertained (again) by Valerie. I highly recommend paying them a visit for either a fun tour, or just a relaxing afternoon on their patio with a glass of wine.

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Cheers!

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Columbus – July 2018 – No Whining at the Winery

The Wyandotte Winery is located in what looks like a large house at the end of a residential street in northeast Columbus. In existence since the mid 1970s, it is currently owned by Robin and Valerie Coolidge.

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On Saturday’s they offer tours of their winery. It is not a massive winery like you see in the movies or on TV, rather a small ’boutique’ winery that exists in the lower level of the building in about 4000 square feet (a guess).

Valerie was our tour guide, and it ended up being 1/3 technical discussion of wine making, 1/3 history lesson and 1/3 stand up comedy routine. Valerie was a hoot, and informational at the same time.

It helped (I think) that the predominately female group had been tasting for some time upstairs!

The first display was a vintage machine for taking the impurities out of the wine before bottling. It is not currently used in production.

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On the bottom of the risers for the stairs is a history of the labels that the winery has used since the 1970s.

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The winery names some wines after local landmarks.

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Another vintage machine was a grape press.

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There are no vineyards on site (just suburbs) – they try to purchase their juice from within Ohio, but will source some from California and as far away as Peru in the winters.

Some of the grapes are grown on their other winery in Fairfield County, Ohio, just southeast of Columbus.

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Valerie explained much of the science that goes into wine making.

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All of her information was delivered with a lot of humor and informative anecdotes.

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More vintage wine making devices

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High School science was never like this.

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Some test bottles – some fail, some succeed.

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The bottle filling station. They can fill 6 at a time.

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The original corker – it takes a lot of manual labor and is slow.

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The modern corker – works great, but she said the instructions were in Italian.

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Once the wine is ready to be aged they go into large vats.

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Most of the wine making equipment comes from Italy or France. The American made equipment kept breaking down, so they bought the quality equipment from Europe.

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Wine has to bleed off CO2 in the process.

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The newer vats have taps at the bottom. Valerie said she enjoys checking out to make sure everything is going ok.

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Finally when the wine is bottled and ready – it needs a label. Back in the 1970s the original owners would use Elmers Glue to stick the labels on, often crooked.

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The label applicator puts them on perfect every time. The Wyandotte Winery will make you a custom label for your wine for only $5 – how cool.

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Valerie was a great tour guide and host – providing an amusing 90 minutes of wine making. Cheers!

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