Tony Klausing traces his interest in winemaking back to watching his father prepare 1-gallon batches in the basement, where the inexperienced vintner would mix ingredients in the only method afforded to him: trial and error. Later, when Tony went on to open his own winery with the skills he learned, he decided to give it a name from a classic song, and landed on a shortened version of “Good Vibrations.” Now that he’s perfected his winemaking process, his wines bear the names of other favorite songs, acting like a mix tape that declares his crush on the craft.
Tony shares his ardor with the visitors to his storefront, where they’re greeted in a room with exposed brick and wood accents. The tasting bar encompasses a selection of more than 20 vintages, each of which pairs readily with available cheese plates. Clients can even charter the winery to produce wines of their own design that also bear custom labels.
While on their honeymoon in Napa Valley, Meza owners Tatjana and Jason Brown came up with the idea to turn their shared passion for wine into a full-fledged business endeavor. They began laying down the blueprints for a wine shop in their hometown of Westerville that would specialize in high-quality yet attainable wines from around the globe. Today, their ever-growing inventory features more than 200 different labels, each handpicked and put through a rigorous interview process to ensure paramount taste and value. Atop the shop's shelves, the duo mingles domestic selections from Napa, Sonoma, and Columbia Valley with international bottles from New Zealand, Australia, and Spain. If customers are unable to find a desired bottle, Tatjana and Jason promise to hunt it down.Meza's tidy, modern décor pairs deep-purple walls with neatly lined shelves and dark hardwood floors that gleam beneath a plentiful amount of overhead lighting. Aside from themed wine tastings each week, the shop plays host to a variety of special events every month, including girls' nights out and Sip & Sketch sessions, where guests sip from glasses while drawing what they think wine would look like if it were an actual person. In addition to wine, Meza also carries an assortment of artisanal food products and candles to match with favorite bottles.
Formerly an award-winning home brewer, Mike Byrne now oversees the award-winning Buckeye Lake Brewery’s handcrafted beer. Its rotating selection of six beers on tap, which range from a brown porter to an amber ale to a stout, fills growlers at the 42-seat pub. Along with Ohio wine, the brews complement the pub's panini sandwiches and pizza delivered from Pizza Cottage straight to the pub’s tables.
Among its accolades and titles, Weiland's has also been known for more than 40 years as the "Ultimate Meat Market" ever since the bar by that name closed down due to unshakable shame. Get your Henry the Eighth on during the summer grilling season with a fresh capon and accompany it with local cheeses such as Oakvale Gouda (produced about an hour away in London) or Ohio Blue Jacket Dairy's array of plain and flavored fromages. You can also buy local with Daisyfield pork from Sandusky or Weiland's very own salmon sausage. Otherwise, liven up your next summer cookout or paper-doll picnic with a selection of up to 25 kinds of fresh fish—including yellowfin tuna, certified organic salmon, domestic swordfish, and hand-cut catfish—and a side of fresh-baked bread or one of the seasonal pies from Columbus's own Just Pies. Gourmet groceries such as jellies, jams, chutneys, and sauces from Stonewall Kitchens, French lemonades, Madhouse Munchies, Talenti gelato, and more add a sophisticated touch to an unaccompanied cheese plate or barren hot dog. Prices and specials vary, but a recent special offered St. James Smokehouse smoked salmon in six all-natural flavors (including lemon, garlic, honey, and pastrami) for $7.35, with a pound of Genoa salami going for $4.99 at the deli.
WineMakers Guild's wine on premise process gives customers an opportunity to craft their own palatable wine creations away from home, avoiding disastrous wine spills that coat carpets and living-room wildlife in rose-colored speckles. In as little as 30 days, visitors can create their own personalized conversation-propelling elixirs with quality juice sourced from around the world. Over 100 tasty wine varieties are available to make, with 30–40 available for tasting at any given time. Your Groupon is good for 15 bottles of Green Apple Riesling or Blackberry Cabernet, or it can be applied toward the price of making any other varietal. A knowledgeable staff of vinologists assists customers at every step, ensuring a tasty blend that is ready to sample in four to eight weeks. Fermentation, racking, stabilization, and filtering all take place on-site, bypassing the need for purchasing winemaking equipment, messy clean-up, or complicated grape-squashing dance steps. The stress-free process yields 15–30 custom-labeled bottles of high-quality wine unsullied by sneaky fairies and even sneakier roommates who keep "mistaking" your wine stash for the Kool-Aid they store in a wine bottle next to it.
Brady Konya and Ryan Lang aren't from Ohio, but they loved the area for its business-friendly community and rich natural resources, and decided Columbus was where they had to build their distillery. The duo's passion for the Midwest colors everything about Middle West Spirits, from the name down to the Ohio-grown soft red winter wheat in their whiskey and award-winning vodka, which they also infuse with honey and vanilla beans or stone fruit. Inside the distillery, which sprawls over 10,000 square feet of open air, Brady and Ryan craft these artisan OYO spirits—named after the original word for the Ohio River Valley, pronounced o-y-o_—in 600-liter pot-and-column stills. Hand-built onsite by German craftsmen using copper, stainless steel, and bits of Saturn's rings, these stills earned Middle West Spirits a place on _Popular Mechanics' 5 of the World's Most-High-Tech Distilleries list.
Racks of obsidian and golden bottles line the monolithic wine wall of Camelot Cellars's rustic boutique, bringing together varietals crafted by the winery and selections from around the world. Beneath chandeliers and brick facades, guests clink glasses of aromatic vintages and play favorite xylophone songs on themed tasting flights served atop the smooth contours of the locally hewn wooded bar. Small plates of cheeses, meats, and bread also gather nearby, cleansing palates and bringing out the wine’s subtler tones. Nearby, the convivial sound of good cheer emanated from the Tuscan Table and the private Tuscan Room, which house large groups and may be rented out for gatherings.
Not satisfied to fill their casks with only their own brews, the winery also aids clients in handcrafting their own artisan wines. With the help of a resident expert, prospective vintners assemble their preferred style of wine, leaving it in the capable hands of the winery for 6–12 weeks. Each bottle is then identified with a custom label, making perfect keepsakes for weddings, parties, or obedience-school graduations.