Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Island Wines

Tourism has brought vacation homes, bars, and restaurants onto the Lake Erie Islands and has claimed much of the available land. The 2000 tragedy on Middle Bass closed Lonz Winery, which sat on the location of Golden Eagle Wine Cellars, once one of the largest producers of wine in the country. With renewed interest in wine taking hold in Ohio, only one wine-producing winery remains on the islands--Heineman’s on South Bass Island, which grows some grapes on South Bass but most from North Bass Island.  Isle of St. George, also known as North Bass Island, has become a sub-appellation and continues in full grape production on land leased from the State of Ohio, which is committed to supporting Ohio’s wine industry.  Firelands Winery, the largest winery in Ohio, grows many of its grapes on Isle of St. George.  The Erie Islands, or Wine Islands, have the longest growing season in northeastern United States, with their 190-day growing season.  The annual wine festival on Put-in-Bay straddles the last weekend in September/first weekend in October.

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