Viticulture and Enology Resources in the State of Ohio and Beyond
If you plan to grow grapes in Ohio – the Midwest, really, but let’s start with Ohio for now – it is important to have as many useful websites and resources bookmarked as possible. First and foremost, you’ll want to keep checking this blog for information on Kent State Ashtabula’s Viticulture and Enology Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees.
If you already have a vineyard and/or a winery, then becoming an active participant in The Ohio State University’s Grape Extension Program is a great idea. Why? Because the Grape Extension Program at Ohio State University will keep you up-to-date on research-based recommendations in the vineyard and in the winery. Finally, and most importantly, The Ohio State Grape Extension team regularly publishes newsletters with the most recent viticulture and enology research results and how they parlay into commercial practices.
Other agriculture-related resources include the National Grape Registry, which is a great place to determine from where you want to get your planting materials. The NGR has a list of all of the grape nurseries in the United States, so once your site is prepared and you start thinking about planting, you can find the best place – one that may be nearby and one that is willing to let you see the vineyards from which the material will be coming. For example, crown gall is usually not as much as a problem in California vineyards as it is in cool climate vineyards, so it might be a good strategy to source materials from cool climate vineyards with little to no crown gall damage.
Another factor in determining from where to source vines is the cultivars and rootstocks themselves. For a cool climate region, such as that in Ohio, one may want to peruse the Iowa State University’s thorough, but not necessarily comprehensive, Cool Climate Cultivars Review or Cornell University’s Wine and Juice Grape Varieties for Cool Climates page. In fact, Cornell also has some good information on grape production and wine production in general.
Before planting, creating a map of the land – and eventually, the vineyard – is an important component to record keeping. The USDA Web Soil Survey is a great resource to get soil maps. Best of all, these maps are FREE!
Speaking of the USDA, if you plan to start your own operation, consider applying for an FSA Farm Loan.
Another useful resource for growers is the University of Wisconsin’s Weed Identification website. Growers can use this website to identify and manage weeds and manage herbicide resistance.
Marketing Grapes and Wine in Ohio
Okay, so let’s say that you feel pretty comfortable with the ag-related resources, now here are some marketing resources that can help you in your efforts to have a successful vineyard or winery business in Ohio. These, of course, are resources that enhance your ability to market your grapes or wine successfully.
The OSU Grape Extension website also has a job board, where positions available and wanted are posted, and “The Grape Exchange,” where vines, fruit, items, equipment, etc. can be posted for sale. Another source for fruit The Grape Depot, a locally-owned business that specializes in getting fruit to winemakers.
The Ohio Grape Industries Committee helps wineries with marketing efforts, and the Ohio Wine Producers Association works toward the enhancement of public knowledge about Ohio wines and the Ohio wine and grape industry.
TIPS Training: Winery staff might be well-served to have TIPS training, especially when there are large groups or questions about specific situations. For more information: http://www.gettips.com/programs/index.shtml