Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ohio - Premier Wine Producing State

The lure of a romantic lifestyle and self-sufficiency leads new vintners to follow their dreams every year.  Most people don’t know that Ohio once produced more wine than any other state during the mid-1800s, primarily due to the efforts of real estate tycoon Nicholas Longworth of Cincinnati, who cultivated 1200 acres of Catawba grapes on his Ohio River Valley land by 1840. Longworth became wealthy by planting and harvesting grapes, pressing them to extract the juice, and fermenting the juice into wine. When southern Ohio grapes started to rot on the vine, the Lake Erie wine industry flourished. Ohio’s wine industry languished as California’s star rose at the turn of the 20th century. Many wineries continued to produce wine for local consumption, and nearby farms and vineyards supplied the grapes until industrialization from Cleveland to Toledo swallowed up prime growing property along the lakeshore. Prohibition destroyed the wine industry in Ohio, but a small number of farms along Lake Erie’s shore continued to grow grapes.

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