Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Our Fourth Stop: M Cellars

After leaving the Virant Family Winery, our next stop was M Cellars in Geneva, OH.
M Cellars' facility is gorgeous.  The last time we were in the Geneva area was in late 2012 when the finishing touches were being applied and I'm glad we were able to see the finished product.

Unfortunately, it was pretty crowded when we were there.  Owners Matt and Tara Meineke were the only two people we saw behind the tasting bar, so we didn't have the opportunity to hear any history behind M Cellars or their wines.  In their defense, one of the tour busses from a Geneva-on-the-Lake resort had pulled up just before we got there and they were suddenly inundated with customers.

Their website provides a little more background and owner/winemaker Matt Meineke gives a brief synopsis on how he got into the wine business.  In short, Mr. Meineke went from making wine in his home to purchasing 12.6 acres land,  patiently preparing the soil, planting 10 acres of grapes, and finally producing and selling wine in the extravagant venue that is M Cellars.

This dream was years in the making for the Meinekes; their first crop of grapes, Pinot Noir and Riesling, were planted in spring 2008- at least a year after acquiring the land and cultivating it for planting.  M Cellars opened in November 2012.

I never realized how long it took to start a vineyard and winery from scratch.  Winemaking is clearly a patient person's art, therefore I will stick to consumption rather than production.

The crowd made it difficult to spend as much time there as we would have liked.  Mrs. Meineke assisted us with our tastings and she was very nice; I wish we could have talked with her more.  We only tried a couple of wines and found the Noiret (pronounced nuh-ray) to be notable.  It has a hint of green and black pepper, full body, and decent finish.  This is a decent dry red and would be easy to pair with a boldly flavored main course.

I hadn't heard much about this type of wine prior to our visit, so I did some research and found that the Noiret grape is fairly new.  It is a hybrid developed by Cornell University researchers and was released in July 2006.  Noiret grows well in New York, which has similar growing conditions to Ohio, so wine drinkers in the area will probably see even more of it in coming years.  We ended up purchasing a bottle and I look forward to revisiting this once we uncork it.
2012 Lake Erie Noiret
M Cellars' wines are available online with a 10% discount on orders of 12 bottles or more (minimum order of 2 bottles) and can only ship within Ohio.  There are non-wine items in their online store that can be shipped outside the state.  If you're interested in making the trip to Geneva, their website also covers their daily menu and promotes events hosted at the winery, including live entertainment, if you're looking for that to be part of your experience.  You will also want to bookmark their Facebook page, as it has even more up to date event information.  M Cellars is open Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays from 12-6 and Fridays and Saturdays from 12-8.

Visitors should be aware that M Cellars wines are a slightly pricier than other wineries in the area; bottles start $15.92 each.  Also, if you are hard of hearing or sensitive to loud sounds, I recommend going when they are not very crowded- maybe a weekday and/or shortly after they open for business- because there is very little sound-deadening material in the facility.

I would like to give M Cellars another shot but the Bear was underwhelmed so it may be a while before we return.  The two most memorable things from this visit, aside from the crowd, were the lovely family pictures of the Meinekes on the tasting bar and their women's restroom because it was really, really clean.  Both of those things are great, but I will remain optimistic that the next time we're there, the actual wine experience will stick with me more.

Check back soon for our next stop, South River Vineyard!  As always, enjoy what you pour, but please drink responsibly.  Cheers, all!


  1. Interesting review. I'm absorbed with Virginia wineries, but I've been thinking about visiting wineries in other states that are not traditionally thought of as wine producers. I'll probably be in Ohio next year. Do you know anything about the wineries in Southern Ohio?

    1. There's a few along the Ohio River.......Make sure you stop at Moyer's which is located right on the rivers banks and Valley Vineyards which is maybe a half hour north of the river.