Wednesday, January 18, 2012
CINCINNATI — Henke Winery at 3077 Harrison Ave. has scored some national attention by making the Top 10 Urban Wineries in America put together by FoodRepublic.com.
Henke was the only winery in the Midwest to make the list, and the web site couldn’t help but to take a bit of a swipe at the Queen City in its listing, which read in part:
Cincinnati may be the last place you’d expect to find a winery, but Henke has been around for more than a decade.
I heartily recommend that FoodRepublic brush up on its wine history, starting, perhaps, with Nicholas Longworth. In fact, wine grapes were planted in the Cincinnati area in the late 1700s, prior to Ohio becoming a state, and by 1859, Ohio had become the leading producer of wine in the nation. So no, Cincinnati is NOT the last place one would expect to find a winery. But hey, we’ll take what love we can get here in flyover country, even if it is tinged with a hint of condescension, right?
Henke Winery owner Joe Henke called the Top-10 mention “quite a tribute.
“I’m honored that we’ve been acknowledged among the best in the country,” Henke said.
Here’s what I wrote about Henke in 2010 in this Ohio Magazine story.
Joe Henke launched an urban winery before it was fashionable — and before most of us had even heard the term. Now that urban wineries have become all the rage, Henke figures that time just caught up with him. Henke started his namesake winery in 1996, when a day job made it impossible to even think of growing his own grapes while also making wines. Besides, there weren’t exactly acres of cheap vineyard land surrounding his Westwood winery. So Henke let others do the grape growing. Today, he makes wine from grapes grown in southern Ohio, northern Ohio and upstate New York, with a bit of California thrown in for good measure. Henke’s 2009 Vin de Rouge — a blend of red grapes Chambourcin, Chancellor and Chelois, all grown in southern Ohio — was named “Best of Show for Red Wines” at the 2010 Ohio Wine Competition, and retails for under $10. His 2009 Riesling ($14.50), made from New York state grapes, received a gold medal in the same competition; the previous vintage of riesling won overall best of show in the ’09 Ohio wine competition. Yet the focus at Henke isn’t entirely on wines. The winery is also home to a restaurant that offers everything from casual (pizzas) to gourmet (steamed mussels, filet mignon). And Henke books live music every Friday and Saturday night.
Henke bottles 15 varieties and more than 2,500 cases each year, using grapes from Northern Ohio, upstate New York and California. The winery is open Monday through Saturday. For more information, contact Henke Winery at (513) 662-9463.Tweet