It’s no surprise that the idea for Tino Vino Vintners, a boutique winery in Hyde Park where customers create their own personalized wines, was born at a table of four women chatting over dinner and enjoying a few glasses.

Once Lindsay Valentino, now-president of Tino Vino, mentioned to friends that she had grown up with a father and grandfather who made wine at home, there was no turning back. Valentino’s friends — Annie McManis, Michelle Banks and Jennifer Fairbanks —wanted to make wine, too, and the plans for the winery began.

Three of the women balanced other jobs, and only Valentino knew anything about winemaking. In an effort to educate themselves, the women embarked on a trip to Napa and Sonoma valleys in California.

“That trip solidified that we actually wanted to do it,” Banks says.

The women returned with stainless steel fermenters, oak barrels and a desire to outsmart their connoisseur husbands. Even with their motivation, though, mistakes were bound to occur. The first winemaking attempt left McManis with a basement full of wine must and one batch of port that ended in a sugary explosion.

Although they know much more now, the owners still say they aren’t wine snobs — they can still appreciate a $4 bottle as much as a $40 bottle. However, if customers want to learn about the complexities of wine, they’re happy to oblige.

“I just want to drink what I like,” McManis says. “If you like really sweet, fruity stuff, then you should drink really sweet, fruity stuff.”

On the first visit to Tino Vino, guests are asked to describe their tastes and are given several types of wine to choose from. They then add all the ingredients to their batch and clean out the fermenters. In the following weeks, the wine ages and guests can create their own labels. Finally, they return to Tino Vino to fill, cork, foil and label the bottles. A batch yields about 30 bottles and costs $180 to $330. “Customization is really a key point in what we do here, because everyone likes to make their own creations and feel like it’s theirs — not just a bottle you can buy off the shelf,” Fairbanks says.

While visitors do most of the work, Tino Vino makes sure the wine comes out tasting great, with some added help from expert winemakers.

“I think wine, on the surface, is really scary. Giving them a chance to see how it’s actually made removes a lot of that fear,” Valentino says.

For more information, visit or call (513) 871-8466 (VINO).