The Buckeye Blush has been included in the 2018 Oval Collection of wines sold by the OSU Alumni Association. CONTRIBUTED

An Ohio wine lands a spot on OSU Alumni Association’s 2018 ‘Oval Collection’ after last year’s snub

Ohio wine industry officials say the inclusion of Winery at Versailles’ ‘Buckeye Blush’ is a good start

After catching some mostly behind-the-scenes flak for failing to include an Ohio wine in its “Oval Collection” wine-sales fund-raising initiative last year, the Ohio State University Alumni Association has added a Darke County winery’s wine to its 2018 lineup. 

The wine’s name is “Buckeye Blush,” which probably didn’t hurt in the selection process. (The wine and its name were around well before the Oval Collection considered it.) And it comes from The Winery at Versailles in Darke County.

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Mike Williams, co-founder of The Winery at Versailles, said he and others involved with the winery “are pleased and excited to learn that our Buckeye Blush, a Darke County-grown-and-produced wine, has been chosen to be added to the prestigious OSU Oval Collection for sale throughout the United States.” 

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The inclusion of an Ohio wine was warmly received by the Ohio wine industry’s leaders, who felt snubbed at the exclusion last  year, considering the rising quality of Ohio wines and the prominent role that OSU and its graduates have played in the development of Ohio’s wineries. 

But industry officials also made it clear they see the inclusion of Buckeye Blush as just a start. 

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“The Ohio Grape Industries Committee is excited and honored to have an Ohio wine included in this year's Oval Collection,” said Christy Eckstein, executive director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Ohio Grape Industries Committee. “With more than 300 licensed wine manufacturers in the Buckeye state and nearly two dozen of our winemakers being alumni of OSU, this is a great way to promote the long-standing partnership between Ohio's grape and wine industry and OSU, specifically the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster.” 

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“We hope the addition of The Winery at Versailles' Buckeye Blush this year creates the opportunity for many more Ohio wines to be considered and included in the Oval Collection in the future.” 

A "tasting paddle" of samples in the tasting room of the Winery at Versailles. Staff photo by Mark Fisher
Photo: HANDOUT/Staff photo by Mark Fisher

Eckstein’s comments were echoed by Donniella Winchell, executive director of the Ohio Wine Producers Association, who said, “We are delighted the Oval Collection will feature an Ohio grown wine -- and obviously its label, Buckeye Blush, has lots of appeal. As a hybrid blend, it represents much of what is produced here, and we are proud that it was produced by one of our premier wine families at the Winery at Versailles. … (We) hope this is the first one of many Ohio wines to be included in the Oval Collection.” 

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And the wine? It is a blend of Vidal Blanc and Chambourcin, described as “semi-sweet” by the winery’s owners on the winery’s web site. “For those who enjoy the White Zinfandel, this blend offers everything you enjoy about it. … (the blend) creates a fruity and slightly sweeter version of a White Zin with a softer finish and a rich color.” 

Buckeye Blush sells for $10 in the Oval Collection, the same price as the wine sells for at the winery. It is the least expensive of the six wines in the Oval Collection. The other five wines range from $18 for a California chardonnay to $50 for a California red blend.

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The OSU Alumni Association unveiled the 2018 Oval Collection Wednesday, saying in a release that the collection contains “new wines produced exclusively for Ohio State alumni and friends. Equally perfect on your dinner table or wrapped up as a thoughtful gift, the 2018 offerings boast a wide range of delicious flavors and fantastic aromas.”

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“Each label features iconic campus locations and history, plus proceeds from every purchase go towards Ohio State student scholarships.”

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