Growing Grapes in Indiana

Indiana used to be the biggest producer of grape wines in the United States before the region’s vineyards were ravaged by pests and the Prohibition. The climate in the region is ideal for growing grapes mostly because it is surrounded by bodies of water that contribute long growing seasons. Vineyards in the Ohio River Valley in the south and those near Lake Michigan in the north particularly enjoy longer frost-free springs. Indiana also has soils properly drained, aerated, and moderately fertile. After the Prohibition, though, Indiana’s grape growing industry plunged and it took a while before the region revitalized its once thriving industry. Today, total Indiana production is 900,000 bottles of grape wine every year, with over 30 wineries and 270 acres of vineyards. Cold-hardiness and resistance to diseases are the most important factors when choosing which varieties to cultivate in Indiana. Popular among growers in Indiana are hybrids such as Catawba, Concord, Delaware, Marechal Foch, Niagara, Seyval, and Ventura. European hybrids (Vitis vinifera) are not well-suited to the colder climates of Indiana.

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