Saturday, April 28, 2001

Wineries welcome diners and sippers

By Polly Campbell

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        So far, it looks like a good year for wine in the Tristate. The recent cold snap didn't damage the vines, at least not at Valley Vineyard in Morrow, says Gail Haines, a vineyard manager.

        As warm weather ripens the grapes, wineries open their doors and welcome diners and wine-sippers for dinners and wine tastings. A short drive out of town to eat among the grapes is an enjoyable outing.

        • Chateau Pomije in Indiana makes a long list of wines. From cabernet, merlot and chardonnay to seyval, concord and catawba, all are grown and bottled on the estate. The winery restaurant serves country-style food, such as ribs, chicken and steak in a big building overlooking the vineyards and a pond. By the end of the summer, a new 6,000-foot reception center for weddings and events will be open. July 14 and 15 are the dates planned for Chateau Pomije's wine festival. Open 4-9 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and noon-9 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. The winery is not far off I-74, at 25043 Jacobs Road in New Alsace. (800) 791-9463.

        • Valley Vineyards has steak cookouts year-round, but, of course, warm weather makes them more fun. It's a grill-your- own deal, with $40 per couple buying two New York strip steaks, salads, baked potatoes, green beans, desserts and a bottle of Valley Vineyards wine. Choose from a wide variety, including champagne, ice wine, seyval, chardonnay and cabernet franc. The steak cookouts are Friday and Saturday, but there are special spring Sunday dinners, such as on Mother's Day and Father's Day. Cookouts on Sunday afternoon become regular July-October. Pig roasts will be next Sunday and June 3. There will be a new grill-your-own prime rib dinner May 27. Valley Vineyard's wine festival will be in September, during harvest season. Valley Vineyards is at 2276 E. U.S. 22 and 3, Morrow. Open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 1-6 p.m. Sunday. Dinners are 4-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 4-6 p.m. Sunday. Reservations: (513) 899-2485.

        • Vinoklet Winery in Colerain Township offers a similar cookout format Friday and Saturday nights, with a cook-your-own steak and buffet. For lunch and weekday dinners, there's a lighter menu. Their dining room overlooks the vineyards, and there are outdoor eating areas as well. They're expecting their new reception hall, which will hold 160, to open July 1.

        Open 11:30 a.m -8 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 1-7 p.m. Sunday. 11069 Colerain Ave., Dunlap. Reservations suggested: 385-9309.

        • Henke Winery is not near vineyards. Owner and winemaker Joe Henke buys his grapes from growers and makes them into wine in his Winton Place location. It is a charming space, in a historic soda fountain and restaurant building decorated with fancy woodwork and marble. It's open for wine tastings, tours and dinner 5-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 1-11 p.m. Sunday. There's live music Wednesday and weekends. This year, Henke's merlot, cabernet franc and Vendange a Trois are new. 701 E. Epworth. 541-3177.

       Contact Polly Campbell at 768-8376; fax: 768-8330; e-mail: Cincinnati.Com keyword: Campbell.



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- Wineries welcome diners and sippers
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