The Skeleton Root Winemakers opened in the northern area of Over-the-Rhine last September with a three-pronged mission: to bring winemaking back to the urban core, highlight Cincinnati’s winemaking history, and allow easy access to local wine.
The cozy space combines rustic touches honoring the agricultural roots of Cincinnati winemaking, including a mural of one of Nicholas Longworth’s vineyards in Eden Park/Mt. Adams from the 1850s. Owner and winemaker Kate MacDonald knocked some of the colder edges off the industrial space to create a “community living room” by adding couches and communal tables made from reclaimed barn wood and ash trees. The establishment includes a 2,000-square-foot tasting room, a wine bar, and event spaces.
The Skeleton Root wine list will regularly include four reds and four whites, sold by the glass, bottle ($18–$32), or in tastings. McDonald says she will always offer a few flagship wines, while also showcasing new varietals each year—she currently makes a single varietal Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, and Norton. She’s especially proud of the Northern Liberties label series that features Ohio River Valley-grown grapes. Ultimately, she hopes to work with 100% locally raised grapes—her passion. The winery also offers beers from local craft brewers and regional farm producers.
The Skeleton Root has already hosted a variety of food-related events and plans to continue to make locally focused food a part of its core offering. “We have worked with a few amazing chefs on some pretty awesome pairing events and will be doing more and more of that,” McDonald says. “We also just received our food service license, so we will be adding locally grown food items into the mix on our limited menu.”
The Skeleton Root Winemakers
38 W. McMicken Ave. Cincinnati
Hours: Thurs 4–10pm; Fri 4–11pm; Sat 2–11pm; Sun 1–6pm
Sarah is a Cincinnati-based freelance writer and editor. She frequently writes about design, creative projects, and career advice. Prior to launching her own business in 2013, Sarah served as an editor for HOW magazine for 16 years. You can find her portfolio online and connect with her via LinkedIn @SarahMWhitman.