Revel OTR – What to Expect at Our Strategic Sourcing Event
By: Chris Zaleski
Over the past few months, you may have heard the buzz surrounding our inaugural Strategic Sourcing Event hosted next week at Revel OTR, Cincinnati’s premier urban winery.
This Thursday, buyers and diverse suppliers will meet at Revel to foster strategic business relationships and to exchange product and service innovations built to strengthen and sustain global supply chains.
Recently featured in The New York Time’s “36 Hours in Cincinnati” article, Revel OTR is a laid-back minority and woman-owned urban winery specializing in local and house-made wines. The bar and venue boasts two main floors, with a rooftop patio on its way this fall. The main bar is located on the first floor, with towering pop-out windows and adorned with custom-made repurposed furniture crafted from the original building itself. Here our guest speakers will share tangible resources for diverse suppliers including capital for MBE and WBE’s, certification education, and more. The second floor has a “living room” vibe furnished with couches and chairs and decorated with original art from the students at the Art Academy of Cincinnati down the street. Part of this area will be reserved for one-on-one meetings, but the rest is open to networking and socializing with over 100 buyers and suppliers from the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond.
So how did we get so lucky to have a place like this right here in Cincinnati? I sat down with Anthony Maieron, one of the four owners and founders of the urban winery to find out why. As he explained to me over a few healthy glasses of pinot noir, the four hobbyists-turned winery owners had no idea where their endeavors would lead them when first started experimenting with homemade wines back in 2004.
It runs in the family
From Left to Right: John and Amy Coleman and Anthony and Jodi Maieron
Revel is the creation of two local couples: Anthony and Jodi Maieron and John and Amy Coleman. Though they started their careers in the IT fields (they still maintain their day jobs), their mutual love of winemaking led to the realization of their dream of opening their own urban winery. However, all of this would not be possible if it weren’t for Anthony’s Italian roots.
Anthony and his father picking grapes
Anthony’s winemaking heritage can be traced back to the old country. His father was from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Northern Italy where the Italian Peninsula meets the Alps, and his mother had grown up on a vineyard just outside of Naples where winemaking was her family’s livelihood.
In his youth, Anthony would watch as his father would make wine and share it with his friends. He was struck by the communal atmosphere that his father and his friends shared while talking and laughing over glasses of homemade wine. His time making wine with his father along with the communal experience that came with it would lay the foundation for the urban winery we see today.
First steps and new beginnings
Growing up in Indiana, winemaking was not a part of the local culture. However, Anthony’s parents had brought their passion for winemaking along with them when they came to the states following World War II. Years later the Indiana native and Dell EMC Partner Manager decided to move to the Pacific Northwest, and after familiarizing himself with the Portland community discovered that his experience making wine in his youth was more than just a childhood hobby – it was a unique and sought-after skillset that few could match. It was around this time that Anthony had started working for Cincinnati Bell, bringing him back to the Midwest and into the Queen City.
It was here in Cincinnati that Anthony would meet his friend and fellow Revel owner and founder, John Coleman. On his first day on the job Anthony’s father happened to call and asked him if he wanted to take over his wine making operation. Anthony needed a partner to help him, and it just so happened that John was ready and willing to learn the process every step of the way. The elder Maieron taught the duo how to make their own wine (it had been decades since Anthony’s early winemaking days) and the two quickly caught on.
Revel rotates their wine menus on a regular basis
Revel rotates their wine menus on a regular basis[/caption] Grapes picked from Michigan were bottled in a one-gallon drum, and thus their first vintage was born. They started testing their homemade wine with their friends, refining the process with every new batch. Better barrels, better ingredients, different ratios, and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears resulted in increasingly exceptional wines. The love and dedication Revel’s owners have for their craft is quickly becoming a staple of the new generation of Cincinnati’s entrepreneurs. When Anthony introduced their latest vintage to a wine connoisseur friend of his, he was thoroughly impressed by his product, calling it the best homemade wine he had ever tasted. It was then that they decided to take their winemaking hobby to the next step.
Once Jodi had heard talk of adding a fourth barrel, the couples decided they needed to move their operation to a larger facility. Amy suggested buying an old building in Over-the-Rhine to house their inventory. However, when the two couples discovered the building they had found was on the then-unfinished streetcar route their plan underwent a transformation. Sensing the potential of their new location, their original plan of a winery had morphed into an urban wine bar and event space that was easily accessible to anyone in the downtown area.
Deconstructing the typical wine bar
“Wine is an everyman’s drink” proclaimed Anthony as I was on my second glass of an especially delicious (and strong) house made wine. Revel wants to make wine fun, approachable, and less pretentious in an effort to introduce wine culture to the community. Since their inception, Revel has hired sourcing staff, a master wine maker, and a number of other local professionals from the Cincinnati area to help them with their vision.
When you first arrive, you’ll be immediately immersed in the art and atmosphere that the owners have refined. Let me be clear: Revel is not your typical white-collar wine bar. The century-old building on 12th and Walnut has been meticulously renovated in order to create the laid-back and welcoming ambience the owners envisioned. The interior is decorated with murals from local artists, along with tables and benches made from the building’s original interior. On the exposed brick wall hangs an enormous black sheep, emblematic of the urban winery’s independent nature, and custom-made pop-out windows allow Revel’s atmosphere to spill into the street, inviting both patron and passersby into the fold.
Revel OTR’s meticulously designed interiors is in a league of its own
Let’s face it, wine culture has frequently been characterized as snobby, ostentatious, and downright inaccessible. The owners over at Revel have set out to change that, demystifying the wine-making process without all of the gatekeeping lingo. Don’t know the difference between a red or a white, a dry or a sweet wine? No problem! Revel frequently hosts wine tastings and informational classes that go over the basics of wine and arm you with the information you need to confidently order wine in any environment. For more information, you can visit their Facebook page.
An inclusive space for everyone
The four tech pros turned winery owners believed that the OTR region of Cincinnati was the perfect place for their winery. Because of the area’s diverse, community-driven, and welcoming atmosphere, they have decided to take it upon themselves to create a welcoming space for anyone interested in wine or the community culture they promote. Whether you’re a complete novice or an experienced connoisseur looking to start your own winemaking venture, you’ll be met with open minds willing to educate you and serve as a conduit for our cities blossoming wine culture.
Along with producing the best wine in the region, one of Revel’s core values is to act as a venue for the local creative community. In addition to our strategic sourcing event, Revel also hosts local DJs, artists, and musicians for an ever-continuing chain of events all while providing a place for local students at the Art Academy of Cincinnati to sell their work. Most pieces on the second floor are available for sale, and if you would like to support our local artists and students feel free to contact one of the staff members of your interest.
A brunch party hosted in the upstairs level at Revel OTR
Diversity and community inclusion is a cornerstone of Revel OTR. The Maierons and the Colemans were committed to creating an approachable and inclusive space from the start, both in the culture they promote and the atmosphere they cultivate. Black or white, gay or straight, Revel welcomes anyone and everyone with open arms in their mission to bring our community together. Whether you’re into jazz, folk, spoken word or disco you’re likely to find an event that suits your interests, and you’re more than welcome to take part!
See you soon!
As a local minority-owned business (MBE) that strives towards sustainability and growth through diversity and inclusion, we found that Revel’s community-driven attitude reflected our ConnXus core values. We couldn’t be happier with our choice of venue for our inaugural event and cannot wait for you to join us! We hope that you make valuable connections with your fellow buyers and suppliers this week, and don’t forget to have some fun while you’re at it!