Soine Vineyards is owned and operated by the Sainey family. Son Eric is the winemaker and his father Tim manages the vineyard. The family purchased the vines and started the business in 2003 after a family vacation through vineyards and wineries in Michigan. Inspired by the trip and Eric’s longstanding winemaking hobby, they set out to bring great wine to Central Ohio. The winery and tasting room officially opened in 2008.
Soine Vineyards is unique for Central Ohio simply because they actually grow their own grapes. As of February 2012, (the last publication of the Ohio Wine Guide) there were 16 wineries in what is known as the Capital City region that encompasses Central Ohio. Very few of these wineries actually grow their own grapes. Many local wineries purchase grapes or juice from other places. Winemaker Eric Sainey explained that growing the grapes is part of what sets Soine Vineyards apart from other local winemakers. When a winery purchases grapes, they have no control over the conditions the grapes were grown in and when they were harvested. Having that control over the grapes is what Sainey believes gives Soine Vineyards’ wine more oomph and flavor.
Soine Vineyards sits on six acres of property. Three and a half acres of that are vines. The land is relatively level with approximately a 2% grade. “Many wineries sit on rolling hills. Because our land is mostly flat, we employ a number of techniques for optimal drainage,” Sainey commented.
Soine Vineyards grows three types of grapes:
French-American hybrid grapes
The Vitis vinifera species are the typical European-derived grapes that we all know and love, like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. The Vitis labrusca species are the typical North American grapes such as Niagara and Concord, which tend to have a bad rap as they make many consumers think of jams and jellies. French-American hybrids are a cross between the two species.
Hybrids seem to be the most commonly grown grape species in Ohio because of their disease resistance and cold hardiness. They can withstand the harsh Ohio winters much better than vinifera grapes. Hardcore oenophiles have been known to turn up their nose to wine made from hybrid grapes, but they’re an important part of our wine industry in Ohio and in my opinion, can actually yield excellent wines.
Soine Vineyards currently grows more than ten varietals and serves 12 wines in the winery, with an ice wine soon to come. Patrons can purchase a flight of six one ounce pours for $5 or buy the wines by the bottle, ranging from $11 – $15.
I tried two white wines and one red:
- 2011 Cayuga White: This wine won a Bronze medal in the 2011 Ohio Wine competition. With just a kiss of sweetness, it is considered “off-dry,” with 1% residual sugar. I noticed an extremely fragrant nose with floral and grapefruit scents. The wine is crisp, medium bodied and delicately balances the citrus and floral flavors. This is a great example of an enjoyable wine made from a hybrid varietal. It is very similar to a sauvignon blanc in style and had a lot of pop. Perfect for summertime. Priced at $12 a bottle.
- 2011 Traminette: This wine won a Silver medal and the award for Ohio Quality Wine in the 2011 Ohio Wine Competition. The Traminette’s nose isn’t as fragrant as the Cayuga White, but makes up for it in flavor. It has the same subtle elegance of flavors as a gewürztraminer – spicy fruit characteristics, apricot and honey. I found it to be particularly round in the mouth, but not too much as to seem flabby. This is a perfect example of how a hybrid varietal can produce really elegant wine. I bought a bottle to take home with me. Priced at $14 a bottle.
- 2010 Marechal Foch: This is a light red wine, similar in body to a Pinot Noir, but it has a deep, dark purple color. Because the wine is made from a thin skinned grape, the flavors are delicate and subtle – you won’t get any oak or prickly black pepper flavors. There are noticeable fruit flavors but it is still dry. Overall, it’s just a mellow, enjoyable drinking wine. Priced at $13 a bottle.
Compliments to Soine Vineyards – their wine is probably the best wine I’ve had in Ohio that has been made from hybrid grape varietals. Winemaker Eric Sainey said that “as winemakers, we just help shepherd a natural process,” but it’s evident that the Sainey family dotes on these vines and sees them painstakingly through the wine making and bottling process. They even cork and label the bottles one at a time. The wine is truly a labor of love.
The winery is open Friday evenings and during the day on Saturdays, but is also available to be rented out for events like bridal showers and receptions. They also have a number of events each year – a Valentine’s Day and Christmas dinner, chocolate & wine pairings, and a fourth of July customer appreciation event with live Jazz music and free food.
Soine Vineyards is located at 3510 Clark-Shaw Road, Liberty Township, Delaware County. You can learn more by visiting their website: soinevineyards.com.
This is a guest post by Molly Borchers. Molly moved to Columbus two years ago from Washington,
D.C. and she’s been enjoying the city’s libations ever since. Molly began studying wine four years ago, attending wine tastings and classes, conducting tastings in her home, and reading as many books on wine as she could get her hands on. She even poured wine at a wine bar part-time for a summer. When she’s not out on the town imbibing culture, wine and cocktails, she can be found in a yoga studio doing headstands. Check her out online at mollyborchers.com.