Small Business Saturday: Twenty One Barrels

Athena ScalziHello, everyone, and welcome to another Small Business Saturday! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done one of these, but I am extra excited for today’s featured business because it’s actually local to me. So local in fact that it’s literally across the street from my house!

I remember two years ago when I first heard that the new neighbors were turning the property into a winery. I was delighted, despite the fact that I didn’t drink wine at the time. It was just cool to me that there was going to be something interesting on our plain ol’ country road. It turned out it wasn’t just a winery, it was a cidery, too! I had never heard of a cidery before, but I thought it was nice that they had more options than just wine.

Over the next two years, my wine-tasting journey ensued, and now I’m so happy to be able to share with you all the amazing business across the street, Twenty One Barrels.

Twenty One Barrels was built, quite literally from the ground up, by Danielle and Shaun, a young married couple from Troy. They opened their doors in October 2020, and Darke County has been all the better for it.

As per usual, I’m going to include the disclaimer that all of my Small Business Saturday posts are over businesses that I have bought things from and liked enough to tell you all about them. I never receive money or free products in return for posting over these businesses. My only purpose with these is to support small businesses. Now that that’s cleared up, let’s continue.

I was never really a fan of wine, so I only ever bought bottles from them as gifts for friends. It took a while for me to actually try their products for myself, but when I did, I felt like my entire view on wine changed completely. Whether you like dry or sweet, they have something for everyone. Their menu is actually set up in order of dry to sweet, which is really helpful when deciding what to try.

The winery's menu. It is divided into three sections. On the left is the list of wines, in order of dryness to sweetness. On the right is the list of hard ciders. In the middle is the flights, as well as limited time only items. Underneath the menu sits their twelve tap handles, as well as plenty of wine glasses and cider glasses.

Not to mention they have different flights you can try! My favorite is the sweet flight, which has my two favorite wines, Harris Creek Red, and Harris Creek White. I’ve also tried Autumn Breeze, Diamond, Two Berries, and Catawba (if you couldn’t tell, I’m a sweet wine kind of gal). While all of those are great, you simply must try Autumn Breeze if you’re a fan of fall. It’s actually a blend of their Roundhouse Red with cider and mulled spices. With its warm spiced flavor, it’ll make you feel nice and cozy inside.

As for the ciders, I’ve tried more that are currently off the menu than on the menu, but out of the ones that are currently on there, the Maple Berry is the bomb dot com. My favorite flavor I’ve tried, though, was one of their holiday flavors from last year, Frosted Cranberry. Funnily enough, both the Maple Berry and Frosted Cranberry are pink in color. I like my drink to be aesthetically pleasing, as well as delicious.

Not only do they have fantastic wine and cider, Twenty One Barrels also has different local food trucks come out every weekend, as well as live music performances. If that wasn’t enough, they also have plenty of fun events like Sip and Shop markets, chili cook-offs, karaoke, and even goat yoga! You can find their calendar of events, as well as info about which food trucks will be there, on their events page.

Best of all, you can get their wines shipped to you! (Make sure to check out if your state is one of the few that they don’t ship to, some states have weird laws about that kind of stuff.)

They also have a Cider Club, which comes with tons of benefits! It’s basically a quarterly subscription that gets you four 4-packs of new cider flavors, access to their ever-changing members only tap flavor, invites to members only events (where glasses of wine and cider are discounted), and more! I actually just picked up my order a couple days ago:

Sixteen cans sitting in front of a black bag. Each can has a Twenty One Barrels label on it.

This season, the flavors are Spiced Pear, Pineapple Upside Down, Paw Paw, and Apricot Guava. So far I’ve only tried the Spiced Pear, which was very light and refreshing, and the Pineapple Upside Down, which was sweet and flavorful! Definitely a new favorite.

Twenty One Barrels is also constantly raising money for local charities, like the Darke County Humane Society and Darke County United Way!

All in all, they are an awesome business, run by awesome people, with awesome products, and I cannot recommend them enough. I never thought a winery could mean so much to me, but Twenty One Barrels is truly something special, and I feel so lucky not only to have such a wonderful small business in my little town, but to have such great neighbors right across the street.

Danielle was kind enough to let me do a quick interview for this post!

My first question was if owning a winery was a lifelong dream, or if it was a more recent thing, to which she informed me that it was more recent, specifically when Shaun and she started dating. They often went on dates to wineries and enjoyed exploring and trying different wines, which led them to envisioning opening a winery together. They actually started with making wine in the basement of their home in Troy before purchasing their 20-acre property in Bradford and constructing vineyards and a tasting room. Though those wines from the basement were mostly given as gifts to family and friends, they ended up winning local amateur wine competitions!

This led to me asking why they had chosen Bradford as their location, and if they had seen themselves ending up in Darke County. It turned out that they had originally wanted a property in Miami County, but every time something suitable would be on the market, it would get snatched up immediately. Then, the property in Bradford went up for sale, and it ended up being the perfect place. Danielle said that upon touring it, it was really somewhere she could envision the winery. There was something about going up the gravel drive, over the wooden bridge, past the weeping willows to the 1800s farmhouse that evoked a certain feeling in her, and it was a feeling she wanted to create in everyone that walked into their winery. They wanted it to be a welcoming environment, somewhere inviting and cozy and that felt good to be in.

Of course, I had to ask if she likes wine or cider better, to which she replied cider the majority of the time, but wine seasonally or with a steak dinner.

Out of the flavors of cider and types of wine they sell, I was curious as to which was her favorite. The Blushing Berry is her winner for wine, as it’s not too sweet, not too dry, and goes well with lots of different dishes. Though she did give an honorable mention to their 1933 wine. As for the cider, the Blood Orange was her number one choice, as its something that can be enjoyed year round, and the flavor isn’t too over the top.

And finally, I asked what the best part of owning the winery has been. Put simply, it’s the people. Danielle says they’ve met so many people since setting up shop, made new friends, and forged so many connections. They’ve been elated with the support they’ve received, and the welcoming attitude everyone has had towards them. When they first opened, they were afraid no one would show up. But the people came, and they haven’t stopped coming. The community continues to support them and make them love what they do.

So there you have it, folks! If you are in need of good wine and good times, look no further than Twenty One Barrels.

What flavor would you be interested in trying? Do you prefer red or white wine? Have you ever done goat yoga before?! Let me know in the comments, and have a great day!


14 Comments on “Small Business Saturday: Twenty One Barrels”

  1. I don’t know if there’s a local paper you could submit your review to, (if nothing else there’s the Dayton Daily News) but this review is something I’d think a local paper would be interested in. If I read a similar review about a local winery in my area it’d convince me to make a trip to check it out.

  2. Oh my goodness – I would absolutely LOVE to visit Twenty-One Barrels!! The people sound amazing, and your description of their wines and their ciders makes me want to try them all. Which is quite an accomplishment, because I very seldom drink anything alcoholic!

    Do they have vineyards on the property, or do they bring in their grapes from elsewhere in the country? Door County, Wisconsin has a bunch of wineries, but grape-growing in Wisconsin is something of a challenge (although one or two wineries manage it) so most bring in their grapes from California.

    The only cidery I’ve every visited was also in Door County, and while I’m not a fan of mass-produced ciders, I really love the flavor notes that a good cidery can impart to their brews. I think my favorite of Island Orchard Cider’s offerings is their lavender cider, a lovely dry cider infused with lavender grown in Door County. I would love to try Twenty-One Barrels’ varieties, too, some day.

    With the annual gifting season bearing down like a freight train, I may need to do some online shopping at Twenty-One for the folks on our list who enjoy a good local wine or cider. Thank you for sharing this review, Athena!!

  3. I wonder if they would consider branching (ISWYDT) out into meads and other cider products, like cyser or perry. One of my friends used to produce a cyser (hard cider with a higher alcohol content; I believe distilling was involved) that tasted like good apple pie and kicked like a Rockette. Mead and other honey wines wouldn’t be hard to make if they have a local source of inexpensive honey.

  4. Hey Zoe, love that you support things that you love. Tell John (dad) that we brought up his daughter very well 🙂

  5. I really enjoyed having an interview aspect this time! And I’d totally second the suggestion that a local paper would probably be interested in running a version of this review.

  6. First, I checked and the nearest winery is more than an hour away from me, and on further checking, turns out it’s in a strip mall next to a Verizon store. Am wildly jealous.

    Secondly, I have trawled all over their website, and I must know, and you are my only hope, WTF is goat yoga?

  7. @Peggy
    Goat yoga is inclusive interspecies yoga — yoga with added goats. Usually miniature ones I believe

  8. Recently read SMALL TOWNS about towns that are doing great things. One of the factors for success they noted was the presence of a brewery. Basically showed an entrepreneurial spirit and enough of a younger population to support it. Plus they frequently operate as a community space and are active in the community. Certainly sounds like 21 Barrels is like that. What a great amenity for your area!

  9. Oh this is so cool! I love the newest neighbor I have because he planted a rose garden (and it’s just for me! Lol). My other neighbors are two brothers. One is nice and the other used to be but he’s turned into a grouch.

    I would definitely want the frosted cranberry. I’ve had a cranberry cider before and they are delicious.

  10. Do they have a cranberry wine? I have had a cranberry wine that was the only wine I ever wanted more than a sip of—the only wine I’ve ever had any interest in tasting again. In general, all alcohol smells bad to me. Except isopropanol, which is poisonous.

  11. Sounds like a lovely place, and how nice for you tthat it is so handy.

    Off topic, but … you mentioned that your baking trays are old and battered which is why you line them with baking paper, if replacements are not forthcoming* have a look at silicon liners. You can get them in most sizes these days plus cut to fit rolls, they are cheaper than new trays, they don’t affect the baking in any way, food just slides off them, and they will rinse clean or can go in the dishwasher for next time. I adore mine.

    *which they should be, a worker needs decent tools, and your parents benefit from your baking too ;-)

  12. Something to keep in mind when I’ll be living on the north side of Columbus in 2023. Shipping wine and cider to Virginia is kinda like coal to Newcastle.