6517 Laycock Rd.
Ripley Ohio 45167United States
Enjoy estate wines as well as dinners at this scenic southwest Ohio winery.
It's definitely worth turning off US-68 onto Laycock Road and making the short drive through the rural Appalachian foothills to reach Meranda-Nixon Winery, where Seth Meranda and his wife, Tina, have transformed a former tobacco farm into a delightful estate winery on a scenic plateau only a few miles north of the Ohio River. From the outside, the tasting room looks like a simple white farm building, but inside, the distinctive Tuscany-meets-Ohio farmhouse decor makes for a casual and cozy place to enjoy a glass of full-bodied Chardonnay or an aromatic Traminette. Huge windows offer splendid views of gamboling horses as well as vineyards of carefully tended acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Norton and other wine grapes. Except for a few weeks in January and early February, the Meranda-Nixon Winery is open year round, and on Saturday evenings, the tasting room doubles as a small restaurant featuring grill-your-own steak and salmon dinners costing $55 for couples and $35 for singles. The five-course meals include side dishes prepared with locally grown vegetables, and of course, select bottles of wine. While many people prefer a dry white wine like the winery's Chardonnay Estate Reserve, you should at least sample the Catawba. It's a pleasantly sweet blush wine that allows Meranda-Nixon visitors to, well, drink in a bit of history by recalling the time before the Civil War when, thanks to the Catawba grapes that flourished in the Ohio River Valley, Ohio was the nation's wine capital.