Ohio has a long proud wine history dating back as far as 1804 when Nicholas Longworth moved to Ohio from New Jersey and began producing sparkling Catawba wine grown from grapes he planted in the Ohio River Valley. From the 1830s to the 1850s, his wines from Cincinnati were distributed from California to Europe. At that time, Longworth had a near monopoly on the wine industry.
Drive down a country road in northeastern Ohio crowded on both sides by grapes during harvest season (October) and the aroma of ripe fruit on the vine is intoxicating! Wondering what types of grapes you’re seeing or smelling? With soil and drainage very similar to those of great European wine-producing regions, vintners are able to grow a wide variety of grapes. Five notable varieties making waves in Ohio are Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Riesling and Vidal Blanc.
Today, Ohio boasts nearly 200 wineries of all shapes, sizes and varieties across the state. Regardless of size, Ohio wineries embrace a casual, unpretentious atmosphere. Stop in at one of these family-owned and operated wineries and the vintners will be all too happy to help educate your palate if needed and steer you to a perfect wine to compliment your meal or special occasion. Most likely they will also offer grape juice for the kids along with plenty of room for running and playing.
Numerous events throughout the year ranging from tastings and concerts or barbeques and art classes add to the fun. Mark your calendar for Ohio Wine Month in June and the Vintage Ohio Wine Festival in August and plenty of events in between.