The coronavirus pandemic threw a few curve balls at Twenty One Barrels Cidery & Winery, but it didn't strike out the Miami Valley's newest winery.
Following a successful pre-order of its first bottled products in May, Twenty One Barrels will open this Friday, June 12, for carryout, while planning a broader opening of its tasting room in the coming months, according to Shaun Pierce, who co-founded the new winery with his wife, Danielle. The winery is located on Horatio Harris Creek Road just outside of Bradford in Darke County.
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The process of opening a winery is arduous, and the Pierces have overcome several obstacles since they applied for their state and federal licenses in the fall of 2019. But the customer response so far has been promising.
“At the beginning of May, we offered two of our wines for pre-order, and we sold out of pre-orders for both wines within a day,” Shaun Pierce said. “This was beyond our expectations, and over the month of May, we have been working to finish and bottle the remaining wines.”
“As restrictions from the state have begun to relax for COVID19, we re-evaluated our initial plans to open in June. Starting on June 12th The plan is to be open for carry-out only on Fridays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. During this time we will not be offering tastings or indoor/outdoor seating. This is not what we had hoped or planned for, but we feel that this is the best option for us at this time.”
The winery’s founders re-evaluate the carryout-only model at the end of June.
“If the current restrictions are still in place in July, we are hoping to possibly open for tastings in limited capacity through reservations and special events such as dinners. I'm hopeful that by August, restrictions will be relaxed enough to allow us to have a grand opening,” Pierce said.
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Customers can order wine through the winery's web site, www.21barrels.com, for pickup. Shipping is available to 38 states, including Ohio.
The Pierces have been home winemakers for several years, and their wines have won awards at national and regional wine competitions. To improve his wine-making skills, Shaun Pierce enrolled in classes a few years ago through the VESTA program, a national grape and wine education program affiliated with Missouri State University. The Vesta program allowed him to do field study at The Winery at Versailles in 2015, where Pierce and his future wife made the decision to launch their own winery.
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Now, Twenty One Barrels already has two vineyards, although the Pierces are purchasing grape juice from other vineyards in the Midwest for the first few years until their vines mature to the point they’ll produce a viable crop.
“One vineyard we planted about five years ago as a test vineyard — it’s about 60 vines on my parents’ property in West Milton,” Pierce said. “Our larger main vineyard on our property near Bradford was planted in May of this year. We will be expanding that vineyard to about 500 to 600 vines total, and we will also be planting a few cider apple trees.”
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For more information and to keep up with the winery's progress, check out its Facebook page.
Earlier this week, Twenty One Barrels released the following wines, and attached the following descriptions of their new releases:
-- Cayuga: Dry white wine with citrus and floral notes similar to a dry riesling.
-- La Crescent: Semi-sweet white wine with tropical aroma and flavor
-- Fredonia: Semi-sweet red wine similar to concord.
-- Catawba: Sweet blush wine with notes of grapefruit.
-- Diamond: Sweet white wine with aroma and flavor of fresh picked grapes.
-- Roundhouse Red: Sweet red wine-blackberry blend bursting with flavor of blackberries.
-- Harris Creek White: Our sweetest white wine is a blend of two wines with flavors of pineapple.
-- Country Apple Hard Cider: Semi-sweet cider tastes of fresh picked apples.
-- India Pale Cider: Bone-dry cider dry-hopped with two hops giving a wonderful tropical aroma and flavor.
-- Ole Blue: Semi-Sweet Blueberry cider that is light and refreshing.
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