Dinner at a local winery in Cincinnati? Yes, please!
Who doesn’t love an excuse for a Girl’s Night Out that includes wine?
My friend and I enjoyed a beautiful evening at Vinoklet Winery in Hamilton County, Ohio, part of the Ohio River Valley Wine Trail.
This article is written in partnership with Cincinnati Experience.
Southern Ohio’s Wine History
Ohio has a long history when it comes to wine thanks to Nicholas Longworth, who planted Catawba grapes in Cincinnati near the Ohio River in the early 1800s.
Ohio was the leading producer of wine in the mid-1800s with more than 3000 acres of grapes along the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Ripley.
Unfortunately, ruined crops, the Civil War, and Prohibition devastated the winemaking industry in Ohio.
Thankfully, the wine industry made a comeback in Ohio in the 1960s, and now the state of Ohio is one of the top 10 wine-producing states.
Vinoklet Winery in Cincinnati
I first learned about Vinoklet Winery during a wine tour of Cincinnati through Cincy Wine Wagon. I was excited to come back and experience the Cincinnati winery in a new way.
Experience the “Grilled to Perfection” Dinner at Vinoklet Winery
If you are looking for a unique dining experience, I recommend making a reservation for the “Grilled to Perfection” dinner.
The relaxed environment is welcoming to all and you can come as you are, dressed up or dressed down.
You Are NOT Cooking the Whole Entire Meal
First, let me clarify that you are NOT cooking your whole entire meal. And you don’t have to worry about the prep or clean up.
As someone who is culinary challenged, I typically don’t want to pay to cook my own food… unless it’s for a social cooking class.
This experience does provide the social element while grilling, which made it fun.
What does the “Grilled to Perfection” Dinner at Vinoklet Winery Include?
- Your choice of meat
- Chef’s choice of potatoes– (red-skinned mashed potatoes, baked, cheesy Au Gratin, or red roasted)
- Chef’s choice of Seasoned Sautéed Vegetables
- Dinner rolls
- Assortment of desserts
- Coffee and iced tea
- 1/2 Bottle of Wine per person w/meal
* tax or gratuity not included
Tips for Making a Reservation at Vinoklet Winery
The “Grilled to Perfection” dinner at Vinoklet Winery takes place on Friday or Saturday night.
It’s recommended that you book at least a week in advance for your desired time.
I was told that anywhere between 5-6:30 pm is the ideal time. This is a dining experience designed to take several hours and you don’t want to feel rushed. Reservations are held for 15 minutes so it’s important that you arrive on time.
If you are booking this for a group it’s recommended that you don’t book a time after 7 so that you have enough time to enjoy the dinner.
*Parties of more than 10 require a deposit.
There is no outside food permitted on the ground and you need to call ahead for special requests and arrangements.
How Does the Grilled-to-Perfection Dinner Work?
There is a process for the flow of the meal. Keep in mind that this is a dining experience.
After You Are Seated: Proceed to the counter to order your wine and entrée.
Your dinner includes: One bottle of wine per couple/ half a bottle per person
First: Enjoy a garden salad and rolls from the buffet room.
Then: Enjoy a wine tasting
Next: You pay for your entrée and wine
- Filet Mignon
- New York Strip Steak
- Chicken Breast
- Tiger Shrimp
Then: Bring your entree slip to the grilling attendant who will season your protein.
Next: Grill your protein
Then: Select your dessert of choice
There are non-wine options available for purchase including bottled beer and spirits. Wine lovers might also want to try the wine slushies made with their Inspiration wine and sangria mix.
Try 6 Wines During a Tasting at Vinoklet Winery
Before you pick your wine of choice for dinner, you can sample 6 different types of Vinoklet wines.
The wine tasting at Vinoklet Winery includes the following wines:
- Tears of Joy
- Sunset Blush
- La Dolce Vita
After our tasting, we opted for a bottle of Cincinnatus to enjoy with our meal.
The Grilled to Perfection Dinner is a Great Icebreaker for Date Night
It’s been a LONG time since I’ve had a first date but if you are looking for a first date experience that helps break the awkward tension, this is a good one!
You move from your table several times which helps reduce awkward conversation and gazing into each other’s eyes.
The atmosphere is very relaxed while you are grilling. You can learn a lot about each other by grilling techniques and mingling with other grillers while you wait on your protein.
You can also enjoy a glass of wine while you grill which I HIGHLY recommend!
Tips for Newbie Grillers
I’m not a griller so I set a timer on my phone for the recommended amount of time. I also checked with other grillers who looked like they knew what they were doing.
Don’t worry there is a cheat sheet in the grilling area with recommended times for each protein.
The attendant can also season your protein with the following options:
- Garlic salt
- Jamaican Jerk
- Steak seasoning
- Old Bay Seasoning
- Chicken Seasoning
- Cajun Seasoning
- Salt and Pepper
Home to 12 Award-Winning Wines at Vinoklet
Vinoklet has won an assortment of awards for its wines over the years. You can see their medals displayed on the bottles above the area where you order your wine.
They don’t have a lunch menu but on Tuesdays- Sundays wine tastings are available for all 12 wines with cheese from 12-5. They do ask that you call ahead if you have a group of more than 2 people.
- *Brother Joe: Their premium red wine is made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, and Chambourcin grapes. *Winner of “Best Wine in the state of Ohio 2015.”
- Cincinnatus: A dry wine, similar to a Merlot.
- Sunset Blush: A semi-sweet wine with aromatic fruit and a zesty finish.
- La Dolce Vita: A sweet blended dessert wine.
- *Traminette: Their premium white wine made with traminette grapes with characteristics of honey and florals.
- Tears of Joy: A dry wine made similar to a Chardonnay.
- Dreamer: A semi-sweet wine similar to Chablis.
- In Vino Veritas: A sweet wine similar to a Riesling.
- Sweet Jackie: Blackberry wine
- Passion: Blueberry wine
- Strawberry: Strawberry Wine
*additional charge with dinner
If you don’t enjoy your grilled protein, you only have yourself to blame…or your designated griller.
After you enjoy your dinner, save room for your desert of choice.
Old World Charm and Character at Vinoklet
During your visit, make sure that you take in all of the vintage decor and signs located across the walls throughout the dining area of the winery.
There is a LOT of detail to take in with nods to owner and founder Kreso Mikulic, who founded Vinoklet in 1986.
In addition to being a winemaker, Kreso was also a Croatian carpenter, Olympic gymnast, alpine skier, and engineer.
You can view memorabilia on the walls that showcase he truly is a renaissance man who is living the American dream.
Members of his family are also featured in a mural on the wall inside the restaurant.
Explore the Grounds at Vinoklet Winery
Before or after dinner, make sure that you stroll the grounds or stay for a bonfire (weather permitting.)
Fun Facts About Vinoklet Winery:
- The property used to be a dairy farm and Vinoklet has been in operation since 1985.
- Vinoklet is the only working winery with a vineyard in Hamilton County.
- The winery has over 12,000 vines across 30+ acres of rolling hills and ponds.
Come for Dinner, Stay for the Sunset
The sunsets at Vinoklet Winery are pretty incredible!
If you finish your dinner in time for golden hour, make sure that you stick around to enjoy the gorgeous colors across the backdrop of the rolling vineyard.
Our dinner reservation was for two people at 6:45 and it worked out for us to watch the sunset right after we finished our desserts.
More Information on Upcoming Vinoklet Events
There are special spaghetti dinners for “Bluegrass Wednesdays & Spaghetti & Meat Balls” on Wednesday nights starting at 5pm.
Wednesday & Thursday -à la carte (no grill)
Sunday & Tuesday -Wine Tasting, Wine Sales & Cheese tray Only
*Closed on Mondays
Where is Vinoklet Winery Located?
Vinoklet Winery is located at 11069 Colerain Ave, Cincinnati, OH.