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Shade Winery Tasting Notes & Dec. 4th Art, Farm & Wine Tour

Posted by cmh gourmand on November 28, 2010


On December 4th four Southeast Ohio businesses are teaming up for an interesting tour. From 1 to 5 pm, the doors will be open to Integration Acres (home to goat cheese, Paw Paw production and more), Rock Riffle Run Pottery, Thorn Ridge Studios (hand blown glass) and Shade Winery. Chris Chimel from Integration Acres handed me a flyer a few weeks ago when I was at the Athens Farmers Market. I will be out of town for the tour but decided I could stake out Shade Winery as an incentive for the rest of you to go. (Shade Winery is listed fourth on the tour but is easiest to find so I would go there to pick up a map and circle back at the end).

I have been stalking the progress of Shade Winery for months. I heard rumbling that the winery was constructing a building for tasting. Since there are no other wineries in the area and access to these wines has been limited I was keen to case out the place. The doors opened about two months ago. After some detours I was finally able to meet Neal and Oui Dix to sample all of their wines.

It is an easy drive to Shade Winery. Take SR 33 (past Athens if you are heading south) to the Rainbow Ridge Road and you hit Gilkey Road in about one minute. The winery was established in 2004 but Neil has been at his craft much longer. He started making Elderberry wines by hand in 1986. Chris from Integration Acres gave him a “nudge” to start selling his wine commercially several years ago. Initially the Elderberry wine was available at places like Casa Nueva and The Farmacy. Neil has grown the number of wines over time. He added some grape vines for “curb appeal” for the winery but decided to start doing something with them. He has expanded his acreage along with his wine varieties over the last few years. Current wines available include: Estate Vidal Blanc, Corot Noir, Elderberry, Riesling, Chambourcin, Niagara (blush), Concord, Schnuckleputz (not a cartoon character but a wine made with lemons, ginger and organic sugar) and (Root Source) Elderberry wine with ginseng.

Full sampling of eight wines costs $6. Since Hocking County and “metro” Athens is an integrated food community cheese platters with Integration Acres cheese and ramp crackers are available to go with your wines. Tastings are typically Friday and Saturday from 1 to 8 PM but check the website or call ahead in the cold months especially since Neil and Qui take off for Thailand for weeks on end in the wintertime.

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