Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Valley Vineyards Winery: Grill Your Own Steak Buffet

Originally uploaded by jwinfred

Looking for something different to do with family and friends? Go out to eat and grill your own steak or salmon.

That is exactly what Valley Vineyards Winery, near Morrow Ohio, offers to their guests and they love it. Not only is it a unique way to introduce people to their local Ohio wines to increase sales but it creates memories because it is such a different experience for the participants.

My husband and I tried it recently and enjoyed it immensely. We were like babes in the woods — not knowing what to do but found that we were quick learners.

This is how it works. The price is $55 per couple and includes a bottle of wine, choice of entre (steak or salmon), salad, corn-on-the-cob, bread, baked potato, and desserts — all-you-can-eat except for the entre.

When you arrive, they give you 3 tickets – one each for your entre and one per couple for a bottle of wine.

If you are not familar with their wines, you can then proceed to their wine tasting bar and have fun tasting their offerings.

When you are ready to move on, you go pick up your raw steak or salmon entre and head on out to the charcoal grills that are hot and waiting for you outside.

You put on your favorite seasonings and let the sizzling begin.

We saw another couple take the bread and make garlic toast on the grill. Why didn’t we think of that! We quickly proceeded to follow suit.

I had no idea how long to cook my salmon and they suggested 5 minutes on each side. I ended up cooking it a little less to try to keep it moist.

When our entres were cooked to our personal tastes, we put them on plates and went back inside to get the rest of the trimmings and eat in their Bavarian-looking dining room that was air-conditioned.

We were there early (at 5:00 when they first opened) and enjoyed watching other people arriving. Most people were dressed in shorts – very casual, as you would expect for an outdoor grilling experience. Most tables were for 6-8 people, which surprised me. This obviously was a popular fun outing for getting together with friends and family.

We had a great time and overate as you would expect. Even my husband had a good time.

  1. We were excited about treating our friends to a dinner out there. We asked to try all the wines and the guy pouring made a buzzer sound and said “wrong answer.” It was rude and embarassing. I can’t see us going back again.

  2. Oh! The importance of having good help. He probably thought he was being clever but clearly not using good judgment. Perhaps he realized his blunder after he said it. One can only hope.

    I have emailed joe@valley-vineyards.com and invited him to comment. As a business owner, it is impossible to control all situations. But at least this will make the management at Valley Vineyards aware so that they can correct it to avoid a similar situation with someone else in the future.

    Chris and Lisa, thanks for speaking up here!

  3. The following is an official reply from Valley Vineyards in response to Chris & Lisa Shoop’s experience.


    I’m sorry i didn’t get back with you monday, as after i received your email i sat down w/ my father and grandfather.

    Your feelings about the experience you had at the winery friday evening are understandable. I am the same way when i go to enjoy an evening with friends at a resturant…and a bad moment can ruin the evening. I wish i could have been here to rectify the situation as soon as it happened, the employee did know that he’d said something which had offended you, and he remembers the situation.

    The only comment i can make in our defence is that some of our customers do like the “experience” of the employees/family members here at Valley Vineyards. Honestly, some people do enjoy the banter, that you found offensive friday night, however…that does not excuse what happened.

    My father, grandfather, and myself would like to invite you all back to the winery for what should be an experence that has made our weekend grillouts famous…a relaxed, and very enjoyable evening of wine, food, and company.

    If youd like to take us up on our offer, *please* let me know. I will issue the certificate asap. Or, if youd like to speak on the phone, feel free to contact me directly.

    Again, anything i can do to make the situation how it should have been, i’d be more than happy to do so.

    Ken Schuchter
    Kenny Schuchter
    Joe Schuchter
    Valley Vineyards
    Valley Vineyards Farm Corporation
    2276 E. US 22 & 3
    Morrow, Ohio
    Mobile: 513.702.0897
    Winery: 513.899.2485
    Fax: 513.899.9022

  4. The following in a response from the Shoop’s to Valley Vineyards comment above. Looks like a happy ending. Have a great time!

    ” Hi Joe. Thank you for getting back to me and for trying to understand our feelings on the situation. I’ll try to clarify why we were so offended.

    The friends that we brought with us had never been exposed to a winery before and were a little apprehensive about maybe not “fitting in.”

    They’ve also been struggling lately and really needed a night out to let their hair down. We were excited about sharing Valley Vineyards with them and assured them that they’d fit in as well as anyone. So when the very first social interaction was alienating, it really did deflate the group.

    Please understand that we like friendly banter too. We are not really the type of people easily offended. But this didn’t feel like banter.

    In fact, we considered that maybe we had misinterpreted simple banter for something worse, and discussed it together that evening.
    The consensus was that had it been so, he would have offered some of the other wines for tasting or clarified that maybe for a few extra dollars we could try all of the wines, or something more than what he did. This seems especially plausible since he admitted to you that he knew he’d offended us.

    We concluded that it was perhaps your policy to limit tastings to reds or whites or 2-3 types and that we had somehow stepped out of bounds with your rules. In this case, he easily could have just explained the situation to us and offered an alternative for an additional charge.

    That’s about as honest an assessment of our side as I can provide.
    Nevertheless, your offer is generous and if he really meant only to make banter, then I think I’ll share your letter with my wife and our friends, take you up on your offer for the certificates and bring them
    all back for a fresh start. “

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