The Valley Vineyards tasting room.
Inside the tasting room. The tasting bar is pictured in the upper left.
We tasted a perfectly balanced Vidal Blanc that displayed bright acidity, a vanilla bouquet and big tropical notes. It is really a beautiful wine that will hold it’s own against any Vidal. I must, however, mention the Cabernet Franc. This is a varietal that does well in Virginia and I’ve tasted many world-class examples. We did a barrel tasting of Valley’s estate Cab Franc and it was exceptional. It was expertly crafted, with a beautiful nose, nice fruit and that hint of green pepper that is typical feature of the varietal. I also need to mention the ice wine. Ohio regulates production and dictates that it can’t be an ice wine unless it is made properly. The Vidal is left on the vine and harvested after the third freeze. It results in a perfect dessert wine filled with ripe bartlett pear notes on the palate. There were other good wines, but these three really demonstrate what is happening at Valley and the entire region for that matter.
I have to admit that I didn’t know quite what to expect. I did have high hopes going in and I was not disappointed. This is a winery that is capable of great things and this is displayed in many of their offerings. It’s also easily accessible from Cincinnati and is and important player in the local wine industry. They offer something for nearly every palate, so I strongly recommend stopping in to see for yourself. When you do, let me know what you think.
Open to Public
Mon-Thu 11 to 6, Fri-Sat 11 to 11, Sun 1 to 6
Much has changed since the Schuchters planted their first vines in 1969. Joe spoke of improving the brand and one action was to stop the annual wine festival. It simply didn’t highlight the wine or educate palates. It was more an exercise in heavy drinking, where they sold a lot Concord wine and that’s not what they want to be known for. The winery still hosts some special events, but the emphasis is on making the best possible wine and expanding distribution in the surrounding states. The property contains no additional space for more acreage under vine. So Valley faces a choice between holding steady and maintaining their estate status or purchasing additional fruit from outside sources. We’ll have to wait and see how that plays out.
Greg Pollman is the winemaker at Valley. He started making wine in Ohio, when he was in his early twenties. He moved west and gained experience in Oregon and Washington before returning to Ohio, where he joined Valley Vineyards. Greg brings thirty years to master his craft and he is currently producing about 24 different wines and 25,000 cases annually from his winery. So let me move on to the wine.
I did not try all 24 of the wines. The menu includes some native-American varietals like Concord and Catawba. There’s a market for these, but it’s not the direction the winery is interested in moving. There is great emphasis on making the best possible wines and vinifera play a dominant role in that strategy. So Joe brought out a few wines that best illustrated Valley’s potential for high quality.
The sign as viewed from the road.
Bottles of Valley Vineyards wine.
Valley Vineyards Profile
Written by Brian Jan 14, 2015
Prior to my visit in November of 2014, the only Ohio winery I had any experience with was Valley Vineyards. I grew up in the Buckeye State and as a young man, in the mid 1970s, I drove down to Valley’s annual wine festival. My memories are vague. It was something of a romp with a couple friends. We drank wine. We probably drank a lot of wine. It was long before I developed any kind of a palate and, in any case, my memory of the wine quality has faded with time. In other words, I knew nothing about Ohio wine.
Nevertheless, Valley has something of a reputation as one of the oldest wine producers in Southwestern Ohio and arguably one of the best. So I was excited to return nearly forty years later and really find out what Valley Vineyards is all about. I was lucky enough to get some time with Joe Schuchter, grandson of Ken Schuchter, Sr., who purchased the farm in the early 1920s. Joe’s father, Ken Schuchter, Jr., was the force behind shaping the winery into it’s current form and he’s still firmly at the helm. Nevertheless, it is a family business that is beginning to transition to a third generation.
Promoting wine tourism opportunities in the Eastern United States
Owner(s): Schuchter Family
Winemaker: Greg Pollman
2276 East U.S. 22 & Ohio 3, Morrow, Ohio 45152
email: See website