Ohio is well known for American football, the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, being the birthplace of the Wright brothers as well as a prolific producer of corn. However, what many people don’t realise is that Ohio is well known for producing some exceptional wines.
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How Many Wineries Are In Ohio?
When wine connoisseurs of the grape think about the world’s greatest wine regions, Ohio is probably not a region that immediately comes to mind. The truth be told, Ohio might not even be on their list. Ohio broad a wide variety of wines that will please even the most discerning palates. In fact, there are 280 commercial wineries that operate in Ohio.
Stretching over three centuries, many loyal people have moulded and nurtured the Ohio Wine Industry.
The Ohio Wine Producers Association talks about six wine trails that run throughout the state:
- Canal Country,
- Capital City,
- Ohio River,
- Shores & Islands, and
- Vines & Wines.
Each of these wineries in Ohio offers distinctive samplings of wines. The Vintage Ohio Wine Festival, held each summer, affords guests the opportunity to sample wines from Ohio wineries ranging from world-class wines like Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc or Riesling to fun-to-drink fruit wines made from fresh strawberries, blackberries, peaches and raspberries.
Where Are The Most Ohio Wineries?
As we said in the prior paragraph, there are six wine trails that traverse Ohio. Here is where you can find them in this state:
- The Appalachian Wine Trail takes visitors to Ohio wineries through south-eastern Ohio along the border with West Virginia.
- The Canal Country Wine Trail offers wineries in Ohio from the area once dominated by the Ohio and Erie Canal. Now, you can walk or bike the Towpath, take the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad or – alternatively – drive America’s Byway. The southern aspect of the Canal Country Wine Trail travels through Ohio’s Amish Country.
- The Capital City Wine Trail travels wines around Columbus, which is situated in the heart of Ohio.
- Discover the North Coast on the Lake Erie Shores and Island Wine Trail. Beyond the region’s award-winning wines, you will be able to enjoy the legendary Cedar Point or the lighthouse at Marblehead. Also, you can escape to the islands- Ohio’s summer playground.
- The Vines & Wines Trail takes you through the valley created by the Grand River. This region in Northeast Ohio boasts the highest concentration of wineries in the state.
- The Ohio River Valley Wine Trail guides you to the wineries around Cincinnati and the birthplace of viticulture in Ohio.
What Wine Is Made In Ohio?
Historically speaking, Ohio is known for growing American grapes (Vitis Labrusca). At the moment, you will find both American and European (Vitis Vinifera) grapes:
- Vitis Labrusca consists of varietals such as Concord and Niagara.
- Vitis Vinifera consists of varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon as well as Cabernet Franc.
Generally, the varietals which demonstrate the most promise in Ohio are sweet or semi-sweet varietals. However, don’t dismiss Ohio Wines based on this. Many Ohio wineries experiment with some great dry and off-dry varietals.
Some popular varietals utilised in order to make sweet wine include:
- Catawba: Ohio’s signature musky red sweet grape,
- Niagara: A white grape that is similar to Riesling in taste with lemon as well as honey notes,
- Vidal Blanc: A grape frequently utilised in ice wines with tropical fruit notes and high acidity,
- Riesling: An aromatic grape with peachy and flowery notes,
- Gewurztraminer: An aromatic grape with lychee, floral as well as spice notes,
- Traminette: A cross of Gewurztraminer with similar fruity/floral flavours, and
- Pinot Gris: A varietal that has subtle tropical fruit and melon notes.
Popular varietals utilised to make dry wine include:
- Marechal Foch: An inky purple varietal with dark fruit and bitter chocolate flavours,
- Cabernet Franc: A Bordeaux varietal with red fruit and bell pepper notes, and
- Pinot Noir: A light and fruity varietal found in many moderate and cool climates around the world.
What Is The Largest Winery In Ohio?
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Situated in Madison, Ohio – around an hour east of Cleveland – Debonne Vineyards is the largest estate winery in Ohio. It boasts over 175 acres of vines.
Debonne Vineyard’s central location in the Grand River Valley wine region profits from a climate that is moderated by the thermal effects of eastern Lake Erie. Their family commitment to excellence starts in the vineyards and is reflected in the quality of our premium Debonne Vineyards varietals as well as the original Chalet Debonne blends.
The History Of One Of The Best Wineries In Ohio
Debonne Vineyards was created during the third generation of the Debevc family’s viticulture history. Anton Debevc, who was a 1914 immigrant from the Slovenian State of Yugoslavia, bought a general fruit farm in Madison, Ohio in 1916. Anton’s son, Tony Sr., assisted with expanding the vineyard in the late 1960s.
In the early 70s, Tony Sr. and his son, Tony, started their journey as commercial winemakers, forming world-class standards in the Lake Erie and Grand River Valley regions. Debonne Vineyards was established as a winery in 1972 with the building of a winemaking facility and a charming Chalet.
Tony manages the general operation of the business. Tony Sr. stayed on as vineyard manager emeritus until he died in 2010. Tony, the vineyard and cellar crews carefully tend 175 plus acres of vines and produce over 85 000 gallons of wine each year. This includes a number of different delicious and award-winning wines.
Debonne Vineyards is most well-known for following wine trends closely and producing superb Riesling and Ice Wine. However, they also produce excellent Cabernet Franc and Chambourcin red wines as well as Chardonnay and Pinot Gris white wines.
The Debevc family was the very first winery to be awarded by Vineyard & Winery Management magazine as “Wine Family of the Year”. Wines from their premium line “Debonne Vineyards” win awards every year in national and international competitions from California to New York.
The next time that you’re in this beautiful state, we recommend that you stop past some of the best wineries in Ohio. You won’t be disappointed!