Hidden Gem: Camelot Cellars

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Story by Faith Durand l Photos by Jodi Miller

Hidden Gem

Camelot Cellars has reinvented itself as an urban winery in the heart of the city

Camelot Cellars has occupied its prime Short North spot for years. And yet the winery has felt hidden in plain sight, its worn sign and clustered grape logo lost between the upbeat elegance of its chic neighbors. But a transformation has occurred, virtually overnight.

The sign now bears an impressionistic scarlet C, like a swirl of cabernet, and through the windows you can see framed racks with over 700 bottles of neatly labeled wine.

A sleek, weathered-wood bar invites you in. Warm lights hang from knotted rope chandeliers over a communal table. Candles flicker in the windows. The scent of fresh wood fills the space-I could smell the newness even as I sipped my New Zealand pinot noir, with its notes of soft fruits and strawberry.

This locally made wine isn't Ohio wine, Aquino is quick to point out.

"While there are some good Ohio wines, we don't produce Ohio wine," she said. "We source juices and skins from all the over the world and then produce it locally."

Aquino is a wine professional with a brisk and no-nonsense manner that gives way to an all-encompassing smile as she talks about being raised in New York's wine business. "All I've done is be around wineries my whole life," she said.

She was working in Columbus as a wine consultant before she bought Camelot Cellars last winter from its previous owner, a Canadian company.