Ohio Officials Tout State’s Vineyards and Wineries

COLUMBUS, Ohio – June is Ohio Wine Month, and TourismOhio is spotlighting the state’s vineyards and wineries.

“Many of Ohio’s wineries are small operations owned by families,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development. “They play an important role in our economy, creating thousands of jobs and bringing billions of dollars into the state.” 

Winemaking sustains more than 40,000 jobs in the state, according to a 2022 economic impact study by the Ohio Grape Industries Committee. The study also found Ohio ranks seventh in the country for wine economic output, generating $6.6 billion in economic activity. Ohio winemakers produce upwards of 1.2 million gallons of wine annually, enough to fill roughly 30,000 bathtubs. 

There are more than 400 wineries in Ohio, with a majority in the state’s wine country region. Situated within Ashtabula and Lake County, the area is home to well over half of the state’s winegrape acreage.  

Ohio is uniquely ideal for winemaking. Its mineral-rich soil from glacier deposits, climate and nearby water sources makes for a fruitful industry.  

Ohio is also home to 21 grape juice, jam and jelly producers, which add to the state’s agricultural industry and help cultivate its thriving culinary scene. 

“The wine and grape industry in Ohio continues to flourish, offering only the best homegrown products to consumers and bringing in billions of dollars to the state,” said Brian Baldridge, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. “Ohio is the Heart of it All, and that includes food and agriculture, the state’s No. 1 industry. What’s grown in our vineyards and produced in our cellars is second to none. I hope everyone makes it a priority to buy local this month and support our small businesses responsibly.” 

TourismOhio is encouraging visitors and residents alike to explore the wine regions across the state with a new guide for Summer 2024. Complete with a downloadable checklist, the 24 Things To Do in 2024: Ohio Wine Month was recently published on Ohio.org. Travelers can learn more about dog-friendly wineries, where to find the best Ohio-grown products for their next wine and cheese night and the unique wine trails waiting to be explored.  

The official celebration of the Ohio wine industry began with a week in 1978 with only 20 wineries in the state.   

“June was chosen to kick off the summer season, when nearly all wineries depended exclusively on tourism traffic,” said Donniella Winchell, executive director of Ohio Wine Producers Association. “Over the years, the week has morphed into a full month. Our wine families now entertain millions annually, and our wines proudly appear on retail shelves and restaurant lists across the state.” 

Several additional resources are available for visitors looking to plan their next Ohio winery getaway. The Ohio Travel Guide also features local wineries, local places to eat and other travel inspiration. A digital version of the guide is available HERE, and free print copies can be requested on Ohio.org. A full list of Ohio’s wineries is available at FindOhioWines.Ohio.gov

Pictured at top: South River Vineyards in the Grand River Valley of Ashtabula County is among the state’s largest grape growers.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.