Saturday, August 28, 2010


My Husband Paul bought me Patricia Latimer’s Ohio Wine Country Excursions for Christmas some years back. We had enjoyed many romantic trips to New York’s Finger Lakes region, where the vineyards roll down the hills to the deep glacier-grooved lakes, but after we browsed Latimer's book, we learned that during the 19th century, Ohio was the major wine producing state and by the end of that century, most of the vineyards were along Lake Erie and on its islands. Since the Lake Erie shore is where we make our home, we started exploring Ohio's Lake Erie wineries.

The stories of Ohio’s Lake Erie wineries begin with the Lake's moderating temperatures and the resulting long growing season. My sense of adventure was kindled when I began to learn about native Ohio grapes and how grape growers graft vines to make French-American hybrids like Chambourcin and Vidal Blanc and the European vinifera varieties l love. The trellising must keep be at the right height to keep moisture away. The making of wine is knowing the chemistry that turns juice into wine and how to enhance to natural flavors of the grapes. To grow grapes and make wine, one must begin with an acre and plant the vines and see how they do. It’s a leap of faith, the buying and clearing of land and growing grapes, hoping they will produce quantities of juice that can be fermented into wine.

Growing grapes and allowing them to take on unique characteristics from the soil and climate of the land is an age-old art. The making of wine is as romantic as the hope that a lover will while away the hours on your back porch or on a picnic near a pond in the woods, with a bottle of wine. My Ohio wine country adventures have helped me be grounded and allowed me to dream.

They also inspired me to write the book I call Ohio’s Lake Erie Wineries. The book is about the Lake Erie Wine Appellation wines and the people who make them and live in harmony with nature. The book will be published by Arcadia in 2011. Join me as I explore Ohio’s Lake Erie Wineries on this blog. And maybe one day, you’ll join me on a wine country adventure, Lake Erie style!

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