Vermilion Valley Vineyards – Is Ohio on Your Wine Radar?

Time to Put Ohio on Your Wine Radar
We all know about Napa Valley and California wine. We know about Washington State and Oregon. Some folks know about wine from New York State and Virginia. How about Ohio? Last winter I saw some posts on Facebook by a young winemaker from Ohio, he seemed passionate and knowledgeable. As I was born and raised in Ohio, I contacted Joe Juniper to find out a bit more about his Vermilion Valley Vineyards. They have an impressive mission statement:

  • “Produce premium wines made from classic vinifera-type grapes
  • Promote responsible land use and building practices
  • Provide a warm and inviting venue where people can gather with friends and family or explore the natural wonders of our rural landscape”

Joe and I mesaged back and forth a few times, he was happy to know I grew up just a stones’ throw away from his vineyards. Joe was kind enough to send me some samples of his wines, you’ll see I was very impressed.

Disclosure: the wines were provided as samples, no other compensation was involved. The opinions expressed are mine alone.

Vermilion Valley Vineyards Riesling

Vermilion Valley Vineyards Lake Erie Riesling “Estate Bottled” 2017 (sample from the winery, $16 SRP) 8.5% abv
Eye: Clear, pale lemon color
Nose: Clean, medium intensity. Youthful aromas of citrus, mini-tangelos (“cuties”), stone fruits – peach, and a bit of wet pavement. Ripe fruit with a heady sweet aroma
Mouth: Lightly sweet, medium+ flavor intensity. Medium+ acidity, well buffered by a creamy texture I don’t usually associate with Riesling. Gives a soft impression overall, with lots of nice citrus fruit (tangelo) and stone fruit (ripe yellow peach). Lively acidity balances the sweetness to give a nice fresh overall impression.

Vermilion Valley Vineyards Pinot Gris Lake Erie AVA, Estate Bottled 2017 (sample from the winery, $16 SRP) 12%abv
Eye: Clear, pale lemon color
Nose: Clean, medium- intensity. Youthful aromas of clean, fresh flowers, lightly perfumed white roses, fresh barely ripe pears, a bit of chalk.
Mouth: Dry, medium flavor intensity. Medium+ acidity, but well buffered by a creamy texture so it’s refreshing but not too tart. Medium- body and medium alcohol. Light flavors of pear, and a sense of chalk on a medium finish. Very pleasant light wine which will please most Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio drinkers.

(click on any photo to see a full-size slideshow. Hit “escape” to return to the post)


Vermilion Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

Vermilion Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Lake Erie AVA, Estate Bottled 2017 (sample from the winery, $32 SRP) 13.98% abv
Eye: Cloudy (unfiltered) medium ruby color, lightly stained legs
Nose: Clean, medium intensity. Restrained red fruit, cranberries, cherries, blueberries. Floral aromatic lilies (powdery) with clean earth and a bit of mineral/tar. Very nice, complex nose.
Mouth: Dry, medium intensity flavors. Red fruits, clean earth, and that mineral aspect. The wine is medium body, medium texture, medium alcohol. Medium+ acidity, medium tannins. Relatively light on its’ feet for a Cabernet Sauvignon, but very enjoyable and delicious at the dinner table.

Unexpected Fun from Vermilion Valley Vineyards
Ohio isn’t a major blip on the wine radar, it’s even further off the beaten path of natural wine. With an emphasis on nature and sustainability though, we shouldn’t be surprised that Joe makes a low intervention sparkling wine that any natural wine enthusiast would want to try.

Vermilion Valley Vineyards Pet-Nat “En Plein Air” (sample from the winery, $16 SRP)
From the winery:

“Variety: kitchen sink field blend, technical details unknown (brix, pH, TA). Fruit blended at the crusher, allowed to ferment with indigenous yeast and without SO2 addition. Wine was bottled at roughly 1% residual sugar (RS) remaining and allowed to complete fermentation in bottle, creating roughly 3 bar (3 atmospheres pressure).”

Eye: Clear, deep salmon color. Fine bubbles with a nice, fine mousse
Nose: Clean, medium intensity. Cranberry candy, a touch of earth and a bit of mineral. Bright and fresh.
Mouth: Dry, I would guess to a level similar to Brut. Medium body, medium alcohol, with a fresh, lean texture. Flavors of candied cranberries with a mineral element underneath. Refreshing and delicious and beautiful in the glass. A fun wine to be sure!

Video Note
Pet-Nat (petillant-naturale) wines are single fermentation, so there may be some leftover yeast cells in the bottle. Some people like to disgorge a Pet-Nat when they open it. I had never tried this method, so you get to see my first attempt. As a solo creator, I’m still working on framing properly, so please forgive my cut-off head! One further note, look for the little HD symbol in the video and click on it to ensure it plays in high definition.




2 Responses to “Vermilion Valley Vineyards – Is Ohio on Your Wine Radar?”
  1. It is now! Thanks for sharing.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] throw of where I grew up. I contacted Joe and he sent me some samples of his wine which I covered here. I was so impressed, I followed up with a visit late in 2019 to see for myself. Joe and I walked […]

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