Growing Grapes in Ohio

In the nineteenth century, vintner Nicholas Longworth popularized the Catawba grapes, pushing Ohio to become the biggest wine producer in the United States of that time. Today, after the Prohibition, Ohio’s more than 40 wineries are struggling back up. The region’s climate is strategically similar to the wine-producing areas of Europe. The temperatures in this region are moderated by the Ohio River and the Lake Erie to promote a long growing season and adequate amounts of precipitation. This allows grape growers to produce varieties high-quality, sweet-flavored grapes. There are five appellations in Ohio: the Lake Erie appellation, Isle St. George, Grand River Valley, Ohio Rivery Vally, and Loramie Creek appellation. The European Vinis vinifera varietals are least suitable to Ohio’s cold climate. Grape growers do well to grow French hybrids, such as Seyval Blanc and Vidal Blanc, for wine-making, and American hybrids, such as Concord, Niagara, Delaware, and Candice, for other purposes. Hybrids are more resistant to cold Ohio winters, while sustaining the intense flavours of the grape. The best time to plant the grapevines is early spring.

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