Chilling Out

Wine Slushies Are a Hit with Winery Tasting Room Visitors

Looking for a new and refreshing way to cool off this summer? You may well find it at your local winery.

A growing number of Ohio wineries are serving up an adult version of a favorite childhood treat – the slushie – made with wine.

It’s hard to say where the wine slushie originated or who came up with the idea, but here in Ohio, Kathie Morrison at Buckeye Winery in Newark says her tasting room has been offering the frozen treat for more than a decade.

“We weren’t sure it would take off, but it was a hit from the beginning,” Morrison says.

When Morrison’s son Andrew and his wife Jessica took over the winery a few years ago, wine slushies stayed on the menu, and, in fact, are now offered year-round. Buckeye launched slushies in three flavors — raspberry, peach and strawberry – but has doubled the menu choices, which now include a popular mango version.

The winery makes slushies with both its sweet and dry wines, and finds the product has wide appeal. It even rents its double-head slushie machines and sells wine and slushie mix to customers who want to make and serve slushies at their own private events.

“For anyone who is just starting to explore wine, it’s a nice place to start,” Morrison says.

For Tom Swank with Winery at Spring Hill in Geneva, slushies were a natural progression for the winery.

“Before we were a winery, we were an orchard for 25 years, and we used to sell apple cider slush,” Swank says. The winery still sells cider, in the form of hard ciders, but wine slushies are a hands-down favorite at the winery.

“We sell them year-round,” Swank says.

The Winery at Spring Hill offers three different slushie flavors each day. Among the wines used in the various flavors are the winery’s blackberry and cherry wines; the semi-sweet Covered Bridge wines, made from Niagara or Catawba grape varieties; and the winery’s Riesling.

The Swanks make their own slushie mix which is blended with wine in the slushie machine. Winery customers can buy the mix and a bottle of wine, then whip up the mixture in a blender with ice to create their own slushie at home.

Despite the addition of ice, Swank says the slushies really let the flavor of the wine shine. “It’s one reason why they’re so popular,” he says.

At Hocking Hills Winery in Logan, slushies have been on the menu since 2016. “My wife and I had a wine slushie at a winery in South Carolina,” says Blaine Davidson, winemaker and one of the winery’s co-owners. “We had a slow summer that year, so we brainstormed ideas on how to bring people into the winery.”

The winery team decided to offer the kind of wine slushies Davidson and his wife had enjoyed while on vacation. The slushies proved so popular, the winery soon had to upgrade their equipment to a more powerful machine that could freeze its contents faster, in order to keep up with demand.

Hocking Hills Winery offers a peach and raspberry slushie, made with one of the winery’s white wine blends. “We use a Daiquiri mix to blend with the wine,” Davidson says.

Customers who want a homemade wine slushie can buy a bottle of Hocking Hills wine, pick up a Daiquiri mix on the way home, and with ice and a blender, enjoy a Hocking Hills Winery slushie experience in their living room.

“Everyone enjoys them, all ages, all types,” Davidson says. “It runs the spectrum.”

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