When I first learned about wine and learned of its glorious qualities, my friends and I began visiting local Ohio wineries to taste wine. It always ended up though that we would drive an hour, two hours, THREE HOURS JUST TO DRINK SOME GOOD WINE. I longed for a winery to open in Lancaster or even Fairfield County so my friends and I could have a nice hangout to chat and taste delicious Ohio wines.
Alas, Rockside Vineyards on State Route 37 between Rainbow Drive and Coonpath Road opened. I was beside myself to finally have a local winery that made its own wine from its own vineyard. Unfortunately, I was quite disappointed by what had opened on Route 37 just outside Lancaster. I was disappointed for reasons that we need not discuss here. Do not let that last sentence fool you though! Something amazing was about to happen to Rockside Vineyards.
I had long ago fallen in love with Wyandotte Winery in Westerville and adored their owners, Robin and Valerie Coolidge, as well as their amazing, dedicated, and knowledgable staff. So in late 2014, I got my monthly newsletter from Robin, the owner of Wyandotte Winery, explaining that they had recently purchased Rockside Vineyards in Lancaster.
On the night of their grand opening party, several friends and I visited Rockside Vineyards for only the third time since it opened in 2011…ish. I met the new general manager, Ryan Coolidge and I was instantly blown away.
Rockside has always had good wine. I was never disappointed in their wine under either owner. Let me make this clear – I am a very picky wine drinker and Rockside doesn’t have a wine that I won’t drink or do not like.
Are you a sweet wine drinker and want to taste what a true, sweet, Ohio wine tastes like? Order a glass of Rockside Red. Do you like sweet wine with a fruity taste? The Peach or Apple is the wine for you! How about a complex, dry wine? Night Flight is an amazing dry red wine with a complex taste due to the blend of wines used to make it. Like dry wine and want to try something you’ve never had before? Chambourcin is one to try – very Earthy.
For me, environment is probably 70% of my experience at a winery. Ryan immediately greets you when you walk in the door and often times, by name (not just me because I’m there all the time but people who aren’t in as frequently). Ryan also makes a point to know your wine tastes and can generally give you an idea of what you may like if you aren’t typically a wine drinker. He is very experienced in his area of expertise.
Recently, the tasting room underwent redecoration. It was a change for the good. As if the environment could improve any more, it is even more inviting with the new decor, curtains and paint. The room is much less echoey now which makes it more conducive for conversation and live music.
Rockside recently obtained it’s food service license and now offers food like cheese, meats, bread, and crackers for very reasonable prices.
Not really into wine? That’s fine, even though I still highly recommend tasting Rockside’s wine anyway, they have beer on tap now! I believe Ryan currently has four taps and has beer from several Central Ohio breweries.
So are you looking for a new experience or a fun place to hang out after work? Stop by Rockside Vineyards and have a glass of your new favorite beverage. Even check their events calendar on their website to see just what’s going on every weekend at Rockside. Enjoy!
Rockside Vineyards is located at 2363 Lancaster-Newark Road NE, Lancaster, Ohio 43130. Their tasting room is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 1 p.m. until 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m.