What started as a hobby that we enjoyed doing in our garage in Mentor, Ohio, turned into a lifestyle change that we are honored to call M Cellars. Dating back to 2003, weekends were spent with friends and family making small batches of wine that we looked forward to sharing once the finished project was ready. And although we give some credit to the early experience that sparked our interest, most of the love and passion started from our trips to Canada and our discovery of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Something about the region; the people, the culture, the land, the experience…we were hooked. Is this something that could be done in our home town? Does the region where our local wineries are located have the same growing season and climate? After extensive research and a lot of brainstorming, the legacy began.
Our first step included acquiring a premium 12.6 acre vineyard that was once home to Niagara grapes on South River Road. All the 30 year old Niagara vines were ripped out and the land was leveled appropriately for planting. Drain tile was installed down every row along with adjusting soil PH and nutrient levels. The final step was to plow and disk the land while leaving it fallow for a year. In Spring 2008 we were finally ready to plant our first 5 acres of vines: Riesling and Pinot Noir. We then followed this in the Spring of 2009 with our final planting of another 5 acres: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Gruner Veltliner, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. Not having a family history in the farming industry, people ask me all the time where I learned all this stuff. My answer, I have fine-tuned my craft with training from UC Davis, the best winemaking consultant in the eastern USA and Ohio State University.
In the field my small crew and I continue to tend our plantings, ensuring that they produce the highest quality of fruit available in the region today. We call our style of farming, “responsible farming”. To us this means we are neither fully organic nor conventional. We do many organic practices such as mechanical weeding, compost application and some organic spraying of fungicides. We use an Integrated Pest Management system that identifies pests such as insects and fungi that may be detrimental to overall quality. After this we make an educated decision on the best course of action that is respectful to the vineyard, our ecosystem, our customers, neighbors, employees and of course ourselves. We focus on bringing a healthy, pure and honest product to our customers! We have seen our commitment to quality result in an increased customer base and greater visibility of our world-class wines. In the winery and business as a whole our motto is simply “only the best will do!”
The tasting room was designed to accommodate an ever increasing number of wine enthusiasts. Upon entering the building you are greeted from friendly staff that welcomes you to taste what M Cellars has to offer. With many options to sit and enjoy, the inside includes a cozy fire place close to the tasting bar, a loft above and a large grand room off to the East that is surrounded by windows. A two tiered deck and patio out back provides the perfect setting for people to gather and enjoy the experience with a stunning view of our estate vineyards. The property provides the perfect setting for weddings, private parties, meetings and small gatherings.
Since opening in November of 2012, our family has grown as well. Tara and I welcomed our first daughters Amelia Jane in 2012 and Madelyn Ann in 2014. People mention to us all the time that we have our hands full and our answer to them is yes, however we wouldn’t want it any other way. We do see our children as the future of our business and take an active approach in incorporating them into all aspects of the business operations.
So what does the future hold? We have continued to travel north to Canada to keep up with all that is going on with cool-climate viticulture and winemaking. We ultimately consider this region to be our measuring stick for quality and success. This has driven us to produce the highest quality of wines in our home region for our customers to enjoy. My ultimate goal in the business is to produce a world class product in Northeast Ohio that wine consumers, aficionados, restaurateurs and retailers will embrace, serve and sell with pride!
We hope you will come visit our tasting room and working farm.
Matt & Tara Meineke