Lake Erie Wine

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Historically known as the "Grape belt of America", the shores of Lake Erie have grown grapes in abundance for more than 160 years. There are over 42,000 acres of vines, most of which are the big-leafed Vitis labrusca, Concord. Though focused primarily on jellies and juices, there is also a thriving wine industry here. Traditionally, the industry was based on both labrusca and hybrids. After Prohibition began, grape growing actually increased along the shores and on the Lake Erie islands. Many growers made wine illegally and sold it across the lake in Canada, or sold grapes legally to home winemakers. It would seem that with its infrastructure, Ohio’s wine industry would boom upon repeal. However, vintners mistakenly chose to compete with California’s bulk wine producers. At the same time, New York wineries established themselves as the east’s premier wine producers. In 1937, four years after repeal, there were 160 wineries in the Lake Erie region. Sadly, by 1967 there were fewer than 20 wineries Read more »

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Varietals Produced in Lake Erie View all

  • Chambourcin

    Little is known about the exact parentage of Chambourcin. It was a hybrid developed by Joannes Seibel in the Loire Va...

  • Concord

    Concord started out as a chance hybrid between vitis vinifera and vitis labrusca. It was first introduced in 1843 by ...

  • Niagara

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

    “King of the Red Wine Grapes.” The colonizer of the vineyards, pushing native wine grapes into its shadows. The Caber...

  • Chardonnay

    British wine writer and critic, Jancis Robinson, once noted that throughout the 80’s and 90’s in the United States, C...

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