Ohio Wine

Wine-Searcher editorial  ·  Last updated 15-Nov-2018
Riesling vines in the snow at Hartville
?Maize Valley Market and Winery

Ohio is a mid-western state of the US located south of the Great Lakes, between Pennsylvania to the east and Indiana to the west. Traditionally home to the production of grape juice and jelly, Ohio is becoming increasingly known for its wine industry and is now among the top 10 wine-producing states in the country (although its output comes nowhere near that of California, which is responsible for around 90 percent of US wine). Both vinifera and hybrid grape varieties are found in Ohio's vineyards, including Riesling, Chardonnay and Vidal.

The state covers close to 45,000 square miles (116,000 sq km) of plateaus and plains, with its northern edge defined by the shores of Lake Erie. Most of the viticultural land in Ohio lies along the edges of the lake, where the temperatures are moderated by the insulating capacities of the water. Ohio's sub-AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) of Isle St. George and Grand River Valley lie along the edges of the lake, as does the Lake Erie AVA, which also encompasses land in Pennsylvania and New York. The Ohio River Valley AVA lies along the southern border of the state, spilling into Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia. Ohio's fifth AVA, Loramie Creek, is currently redundant, having no wineries at all within its boundaries.

Ohio's wine history began in the early 19th Century, when extensive vine plantings were made in the Ohio River Valley, particularly of the Catawba grape variety that became the symbol of Ohio wine. Catawba is a resilient vine, able to withstand the bitter freezes that characterize the winters of Ohio and its neighboring states. These early wines stood out from examples produced elsewhere in America as a result of their being made in a more-Germanic style: light, fresh and slightly sweet. Perhaps surprisingly by today's standards, that description applied to both white and red wines. By the 1860s, Ohio was the most prolific wine-producing state in America.

The downturn, when it came, was due to a combination of conflict and Prohibition. The 1861-65 Civil War drew valuable labor out of the vineyards and onto the battlefields, leaving many thousands of acres untended. Fungal diseases such as downy mildew and black rot – a perennial threat in damp climates – soon caused extensive damage to the vines, which then had little time to recover before Prohibition 'dried out' the state. When Prohibition ended in 1933, very little was left. The fungal diseases were, however, largely concentrated in the south of Ohio, which receives higher levels of rainfall, and the vineyards of the north, particularly those planted by Central European immigrants on the Lake Erie islands, fared better. Here, the spread of disease was interrupted by the waters of the lake, and some vines survived.

In the 1960s, vine plantings began again in Ohio. Franco-American hybrids had been developed which were not only winter-hardy but also offered good yields. After a period when winemakers struggled to decide between quality and quantity (there were excessive yields in the 1990s), Ohio's wine industry once again found its feet.

Ohio Beers and Spirits

According to the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, the state ranks fifth in the USA in terms of craft beer production, and around 15,000 jobs are supported by the craft brewing industry. As in other parts of the USA, a high number of small operations have opened within the last five to ten years. As of 2018 there were well over 200 breweries in the state with several dozen more being planned.

There are nearly 30 distilleries in the state. Bourbon Whiskey counts among the most prominent products. Other styles of whiskey along with gin and vodka are also distilled in Ohio.

Ohio Wines
Based on search frequency, updated monthly
Critics' Score
Avg. Price
Wine Label of Cle Urban Winery 'Hometown Heroes' Peach - Chardonnay, Ohio, USA
4,502nd in popularity
$ 21
Wine Label of Little Kings Original Cream Ale Beer, Ohio, USA
22,233rd in popularity
$ 3
Wine Label of Mon Ami Winery Pink Catawba, Lake Erie, USA
32,892nd in popularity
$ 11
Wine Label of Watershed Distillery Bottled in Bond 4 Year Old Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Ohio, USA
36,028th in popularity
$ 65
Wine Label of Twisted Tea The Original Hard Iced Tea, Ohio, USA
45,063rd in popularity
$ 3
Wine Label of Heineman's Winery Sweet Belle, Lake Erie, USA
45,865th in popularity
$ 11
Wine Label of Breitenbach Cellars Dandelion Wine, Ohio, USA
52,039th in popularity
$ 0
Wine Label of Middle West Spirits - Oyo Michelone Reserve Straight Wheated Bourbon Whiskey, Ohio, USA
55,384th in popularity
$ 50
Wine Label of Cleveland Whiskey 'Wheat Penny 1958' Bourbon Whiskey, Ohio, USA
57,811th in popularity
$ 39
Wine Label of Raven's Glenn Moon Dreams Sweet Red, Ohio, USA
62,062nd in popularity
$ 17
Wine Label of Mon Ami Winery White Catawba, Lake Erie, USA
63,613th in popularity
$ 11
Wine Label of Watershed Distillery Bourbon Whiskey, Ohio, USA
65,234th in popularity
$ 43
88 / 100
Wine Label of Western Reserve Distillers 14 Year Old Bourbon Whiskey, Ohio, USA
66,931st in popularity
$ 114
Wine Label of Colonial Club Vodka, Ohio, USA
68,680th in popularity
$ 4
Wine Label of Paramount Vodka 100, Ohio, USA
70,520th in popularity
$ 7
Wine Label of Meier's Wine Cellars 44 Cream Sherry, Ohio, USA
70,520th in popularity
$ 12
Wine Label of Tom's Foolery Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Ohio, USA
70,520th in popularity
$ 51
87 / 100
Wine Label of Mon Ami Winery Niagara, Lake Erie, USA
72,404th in popularity
$ 12
Wine Label of Cleveland Whiskey 'The 87' Bourbon Whiskey, Ohio, USA
74,514th in popularity
$ 30
Wine Label of Tom's Foolery Bonded Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Ohio, USA
76,739th in popularity
$ 62
89 / 100
Wine Label of Great Lakes Brewing Co. Oktoberfest Beer, Ohio, USA
79,118th in popularity
$ 4
92 / 100
Wine Label of Oyo Sherry-Finished Bourbon Whiskey, Ohio, USA
79,118th in popularity
$ 96
90 / 100
Wine Label of Oyo Double Cask Collection Oloroso Wheat Whiskey, Ohio, USA
81,685th in popularity
$ 91
90 / 100
Wine Label of Great Lakes Brewing Co. Nosferatu Ale Beer, Ohio, USA
90,560th in popularity
$ 10
Wine Label of Crafted Artisan Meadery 'Planet of the Grapes' Mead, Ohio, USA
93,857th in popularity
$ 15
Only the first 20 pages shown
To see how Wine-Searcher uses average pricing and professional wine critic scores on this page, please see Average Wine Prices and Wine Scores. To find out about popularity, please see Wine Ranks.