By Mark Fisher | Monday, January 30, 2012, 06:21 AM
Something’s brewing at Valley Vineyards.
The winery near Morrow will unveil its new lineup of Cellar Dwellers Brewery craft beers in late February or thereabouts, making it only the second winery in Ohio to add its own line of microbrews, according to Joe Schuchter, director of sales and marketing a third-generation member of the family that founded Valley Vineyards. Debonne Vineyards in Madison, Ohio, east of Cleveland, produces a line of beers from its Cellar Rats Brewery.
Schuchter’s uncle, Steve Shaw, has been brewing beer for 15 years and is overseeing the Cellar Dwellers craft-brewing venture, Schuchter said.
Valley Vineyards’ owners have come to recognize that their tasting-room beer menu that consisted of little more than Bud and Bud Light were not accommodating those groups of visitors that included both beer enthusiasts and wine lovers, Schuchter said. “We didn’t take the beer crowd seriously,” he said.
The Schuchters talked with Tony Debevc, owner of Debonne Vineyards, about his experience with adding a craft brewery to his winery. Debevc told his fellow winery owners the response to the new microbrews “has been amazing,” and the addition of beer did not adversely affect the wine end of the business, Schuchter said.
Visitors to Valley Vineyards weekend dinners will have the choice of two glasses of wine or two beers with their dinners, Schuchter said.
Plans call for producing a variety of brews, including Lager, IPA, American Pale Ale, English Pale Ale, Wheat Beer and a Port Barrel Ale that will be aged in the same casks that previously held Valley Vineyards Vintage Port.
Schuchter said the winery will start slowly, with a “soft opening” of sorts for its craft beers this spring until the Cellar Dwellers’ full unveiling at the winery’s annual festival, A Taste of Warren County, to be held June 2 at the winery.