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Promoting wine tourism opportunities in the​​ Eastern United States

Olde Schoolhouse Vineyard & Winery Profile

     Written by Brian Sep 2, 2017

Prior to my most recent trip to Ohio, I was researching and asking about recommendations for “must visit” wineries. One of the names that kept coming up was Olde Schoolhouse Vineyard & Winery near Eaton. 

Mark Zdobinski and Jim Meeks partnered on a venture that intended to produce quality, boutique wines in a part of the state that is often dismissed as a prime viticultural region. In 2015, with the help of friends, they began planning and currently have just less than two acres under vine. Meeks is the vineyard manager and he tells me that there are plans to expand acreage, but they are still searching for potential vineyard sites.

​Within a short walk of the vineyard is a building that served as a school from 1890 to 1921. The schoolhouse was subsequently purchased and pressed into service as a grain company until 1972. After that, the old school was vacant until Zdobinski and Meeks renovated for use as a tasting room.

Owner(s): Mark Zdobinski and Jim Meeks

Winemaker: Mark Zdobinski

The off-dry whites I tasted included Traminette, Vignoles and LeCrescent. All were perfectly balanced and well crafted wines, but the Vignoles really stood out. It was big and complex with bright acidity making it an excellent food wine. I might rank it among the best examples of Vignoles I have tasted.

​I tried a pair of dry-style reds. The Corot Noir was an unoaked, lighter-bodied, fruit-forward wine. It was well very well crafted, but the Dechaunac was by far the standout. With a bit of oak and earthiness, it had nice fruit, structured tannins and a long finish. It was a great wine and my overall favorite.

So this one is a no brainer. If you are anywhere near Olde Schoolhouse Vineyard & Winery, you need to visit. Not only is it a historic venue, but also the quality of the wine is emblematic of what is possible in this part of Ohio. Zdobinski and Meeks are bottling potentially world-class examples using largely overlooked hybrid grapes. It doesn’t get much better than that. After you stop in, let me know what you think.

152 Ohio 726, Eaton, OH 45320

phone: 937-472-9463


Open to Public 

Thu 5 to 9; Fri 3 to 9; Sat 12 to 11

The tasting room building that served as a school from 1890 to 1921.

The tasting room building that served as a school from 1890 to 1921.

Outdoor seating on the historic property.

Some additions were made to the original structure during its grain-company days, but the brick schoolhouse portion is largely intact. The recent repurposing of the building required largely gutting the interior, but Zdobinski and Meeks were able to restore the interior in such a way that retained its historic character. It is genuinely worth visiting the tasting room just to see the building and surrounding property. 

​Winemaking responsibility has fallen on Zdobinski, who began as a hobbyist in 1979. While in high school, Zdobinski began surreptitiously making wine at a neighbor’s house and has been at it ever since. Curiously, however, Olde Schoolhouse is his first professional gig. I say that, because otherwise you might never suspect that Zdobinski has not spent his life as a professional winemaker. 

I sampled six of the Olde Schoolhouse offerings. As one might expect in this part of the state, they were primarily produced from hybrids. Don’t let that scare you off. The wines were uniformly off the charts.

The tasting room building that served as a school from 1890 to 1921.