Visit to Chateau Hough

Chateau Hough Visit April 2013

Today we visited Chateau Hough in Cleveland, where, despite the late date in April, it still seemed awfully wintery, with a cold wind and drizzling rain. Mansfield Frazier – the big-picture thinker and lead of this business – met us at the vineyard and talked about the background to this endeavor, about which you can read more here. The short story is that Mr. Frazier wants  to improve his neighborhood, and to do that, he opted for change from within.

You can read all about Mr. Frazier and his plan on his website, but suffice it to say that we are excited to see what he is working so hard to put together.

Why visit Chateau Hough, you ask? Well, in an effort to learn about the industry in Ohio, one strategy is to meet as many people as possible in the industry, and Mr. Frazier certainly qualifies. A more important question, however  is how can KSUA/VESTA and Chateau Hough work together? When we look at the courses and at this vineyard site, we immediately see that this site can be a practicum site for students to gain experience and knowledge in urban viticulture.

Because Chateau Hough is still in the early years of production (this is the 4th season for the vines – Traminette and Frontenac, which are excellent, versatile  hybrids), students could work here for practicum experience in the vineyard. There will be a winery eventually, where students could intern as well for credit. Another credit opportunity would involve heading the social media and marketing aspect of the business. If you are interested in any of these, please do not hesitate to contact me.

It’s cold and rainy today, and temperatures are forecasted to be in the high 30’s (Fahrenheit) tomorrow, but spring will eventually get here, and buds will break, as they do every year. The Frontenac buds were swelling at Chateau Hough this morning – likely because temperatures in the city tend to be warmer, and the site is within a mile of Lake Erie. Growers are likely finished pruning or are close to finished by now, so let’s hope for a great growing season.

-JCG

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2 Responses to Visit to Chateau Hough

  1. David Popp says:

    Oops! Two corrections:

    Though it is a bit warmer in the city, it was not five-hundred degrees on 9/14. The Word formatting didn’t carry over. Also, I meant to say slate in the Mosel, not shale. Thanks!!

  2. David Popp says:

    Harvest Happens at Chateau Hough

    On the clear, cool (50o F) morning of Saturday, September 14, a group of twenty or so volunteers gathered at Chateau Hough in Cleveland’s inner-city to bring in the first harvest of Traminette grapes. (The Frontenac was harvested on 8/31. See the 9/1 edition of the Plain Dealer for the story.) About 1000 pounds were picked from roughly ½ acre of vines. Grape quality was excellent, and floral, citrus and spice aromas were plentiful. Local winemaking enthusiasts will be processing the haul, and a celebratory wine tasting will held in early summer of 2014. Volunteers then “put the vines to bed” for the season by applying a layer of compost under the rows. Next up for this young vineyard will be pruning in the chilly and windy months of early spring.

    As Jodi mentioned in her post, vines in the city are some weeks ahead of the rest of the region due to the heat-holding and sheltering capacity of streets and buildings. (They may not be as romantic as the shale along the Mosel or the limestone in France, but our asphalt and bricks get the job done.) This phenomenon will be beneficial to the vines since they will stay under leaf for a while and have the chance put away reserves for next spring. For this reason, it will be important to maintain an appropriate spray schedule and to take good care of the vines until leaf fall.

    Why not complete your viticulture practicum at Chateau Hough?

    I am a graduate of the VESTA Enology and Viticulture degree programs, and I will be consulting for Chateau Hough through next season. I would be happy to work with students who wish to do their vineyard practicum there. Please make the appropriate practicum application through VESTA, and Jodi or Mansfield can put us in touch.

    Cheers!

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