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Buoyed by last year’s success, ‘Vintage Ohio South’ to return to Springfield this spring

Festival focusing on Ohio wines scheduled for afternoon & evening sessions May 11 at Clark County Fairgrounds

An Ohio-wine festival that organizers say got off to a strong start last year will return to the Clark County Fairgrounds on May 11.

The 2nd Annual Vintage Ohio South will be held on May 11 at the fairgrounds at 4401 S. Charleston Pike. There will be two sessions this year — a new wrinkle — and a few more wineries will be participating, organizers said.

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“We are returning because of the overwhelming success of 2018,” said Donniella Winchell, executive director of the Ohio Wine Producers Association (OWPA), which is the chief organizer of the festival. “We more than doubled our initial attendance goals” thanks in part to the support of Ohio wineries in west-central and southwest Ohio, Winchell said.

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An afternoon session will run from noon to 4 p.m., and the evening session will be held from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission cost for each session is $25. The event is held indoors in the fairgrounds’ facilities, and thus will be rain or shine.

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The decision to split the event into two sessions “is intended to provide a more intimate experience for the consumer and more face time with the wineries,” Winchell said. 

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“We tracked the attendees pretty closely last year, and their visits averaged between two and three hours, but were jammed into the first couple of hours, while the evening was very slow. ... because the event will be broken into two segments, the amount of time wineries can spend with each person will be much better for building a more Ohio-wine-savvy crowd.”

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Winchell said she expects 18 or 19 wineries to participate, a handful more than last year. And organizers are working toward booking six food trucks, twice as many as last year. 

In addition to Ohio wineries offering samples of their wines, there will be live music, local craft artisans, cooking demonstrations and casual wine-appreciation sessions. A portion of proceeds will benefit the Clark County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)

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In northeast Ohio, the OWPA has offered the Vintage Ohio Wine Festival for 24 years, and it has attracted thousands from the quadrant of the state that has a larger winemaking and vineyard presence than southern Ohio. It also has sponsored events in Columbus and the wine producers association has sponsored a wine festival in the Dayton-Springfield region before, but it had been nearly a decade, prior to last year’s inaugural event.

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Tickets for the 2nd Annual Vintage Ohio South are available on the Ohio Wine Producers Association Vintage Ohio South Facebook Event page.  Tickets at the door will be $30. The entrance fee includes a wine glass and 12 wine-sampling tickets. Additional wine sampling tickets may be purchased at a cost of $5 for 3 tickets. Designated Driver tickets are available for $10 and includes 4 complimentary sodas or waters. Parking is free. For more information, call (440) 466-4417.

The wineries listed as participating at this early date — more are expected to confirm in the weeks ahead — include: 

  • AR Winery, Arcanum 
  • Brandeberry Winery, Enon 
  • Buckeye Winery, Newark 
  • Caesar Creek Vineyards, Xenia 
  • Hanover Winery, Hamilton 
  • Heineman's Winery, Put-in-Bay 
  • It's Your Winery, Medina 
  • Maize Valley Winery, Hartville
  • Manchester Hill Winery, Circleville
  • Meranda-Nixon Winery, Ripley 
  • Old Mason Winery & Vineyards, West Milton 
  • Olde Schoolhouse Vineyards, Eaton 
  • Plum Run Winery, Grove City 
  • The Winery at Versailles, Versailles

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