The Virginia Grape
The Skvarlas were behind the tasting bar when I arrived.
When I arrived, Skvarla was behind the tasting bar along with his wife Patti. He stepped me through a few of his estate wines and a couple made from sourced fruit. There were too many for me to cover in this write up, so I will highlight my top picks.
In addition to the quality wine, Harmony Hills is an ideal wine country experience. It is a popular spot for private events with plenty of public events like music and fundraisers for dog or horse rescue. There is also music most Saturdays and picnics are encouraged. The sole caveat is that this is an adults-only venue.
The entire experience at Harmony Hills Vineyards is first rate. The Skvarla’s are excellent hosts, who are enthusiastic about every aspect of the winery and take time to educate visitors. The tasting room is easily accessible from Cincinnati and I strongly recommend taking advantage of that proximity. After you stop in, please let me know what you think.
A covered patio extends out from the tasting room.
An old horse barn was converted into a tasting room. A long, covered patio extends from the front of the structure. On one side there are acres of vines. On the other is small stage for local performers and additional seating in a beautifully landscaped space. Owner/winemaker Bill Skvarla has created the perfect space for relaxing with a glass of wine.
Skvarla started planting vines in 2001 with an eye toward selling grapes to local producers. He was a hobby winemaker with no commercial aspirations. After winning an amateur competition, however, things began to change. Harmony Hill was bonded in 2003.
Open to Public
Fri 5 to 9; Sat 2 to 9
More than a dozen wines accommodate a range of palates.
The lightly oaked Seyval Blanc was fruit forward, but perfectly balanced with bright acidity in the finish. It was expertly crafted, as are all the wines. The Seyval was my favorite white, but the Chambourcin was my overall favorite. Skvarla allows the fruit to hang as long as possible and the additional ripeness makes the difference. It was a lighter-bodied red, but with nice fruit and none of the astringency that can ruin Chambourcin for many wine drinkers. It is among the best that I have tasted, so kudos to the winemaker.
Today, the fruit from the 3.5 acres of estate vines is supplemented with west coast grapes to produce about 1200 cases of Harmony Hill wine annually. This is maximum capacity and that is by design. Every task in the winery is performed by hand and crafted to Skvarla’s exact specifications.
Skvarla grows a variety of mainstream hybrids; so sourcing from the west coasts allows him to add vinifera (European varietals) to his lineup. It also allows production of more than a dozen wines designed to accommodate a range of palates.
Vines were originally planted to sell the grapes to local producers.
Owner(s): Bill and Patti Skvarla
Winemaker: Bill Skvarla
2534 Swings Corner Point Isabel Rd, Bethel, OH 45106
Advocating for under-appreciated wine regions in the Eastern United States
Harmony Hill Vineyards & Estate Winery Profile
Written by Brian Sep 11, 2017
As you drive down the long drive that leads to Harmony Hill Vineyards and Estate Winery, you might momentarily think you are in the wrong place. What appears to be a residential drive then leads you through the trees and into a little slice of wine country. It definitely has that vibe.