Wine is a $1.3 billion industry in Ohio
Ohio's the sixth largest producer of wine in the United States, with 265 wineries. Wine making is already a huge industry in the state: $1.3 billion dollars. It's only getting bigger.
This is harvest season in Ohio's Napa Valley, and there's a job to do. At South River Vineyard in Geneva, they have 140 acres and 15 types of grapes to harvest, and it's just one of Northeast Ohio's 29 wineries.
Cindy Lindberg owns Grand River Cellars Winery. She says grapes are a sweet job boost for this corner of the state.
"My winery alone we have over 40 employees and we're one of the medium sized wineries," she said.
Each winery needs managers, servers, bar tenders, kitchen staff, maintenance workers, vineyard managers, and farmers. Gene Sigel has farmed in Northeast Ohio for more than 20 years. He's the vineyard manager at South River. He says Lake Erie creates a more moderate climate which lengthens the growing season here.
"[It] gives us the ability to ripen grapes that other areas might not fully achieve their maximum sugar and flavor," he said."
White wines do best here, but every 2-3 years the weather lends itself to exceptional reds. This is one of those years.
"What I love about it so much is that they are all so different," Cindy Lindbergsaid. "You can come out here for days and days and see and experience so many different things."
Expansion is on the rise, too: Two new hotels are set to be built next year in Madison, and four new wineries are due to open in the area over the next 18 months.
It's the unique flavor and the beauty of the land that keeps visitors coming back,10-12,000 every week during peak season. Bringing with them spending money, and taking home a taste of Northeast Ohio.