September 21, 2017

Creative Ways to Use Your Logo

In a recent Northern Grapes Project survey, wine and winery branding was listed as the 1# concern by winery owners.  Communicating to customers what makes a winery distinctive is becoming increasingly difficult as the number of wineries in the U.S. surpasses 8,300.According to Jen Peterson Donaghy, owner of  The Wyne Girl (, an Ohio based company that creates … [Read more...]

Midwest Wine Programs in Transition

Michael Moyer didn’t hesitate to leave Walla Walla, Wash., for greener pastures this spring. After all, the job offer was huge. Could he launch the Midwest’s first – and only – commercial teaching winery in the upper Midwest?Beginning this fall, students – with a cap at around 25 – at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, Mich., can earn a certificate or associates degree in enology or … [Read more...]

Winter Damage Report From Ohio

It was a cold February in Ohio.  The -17F reading in Cleveland on February 20th was the coldest temperature recored in Cleveland during February.  East of Cleveland and not far from prime grape growing areas, the city of Chardon, OH crashed to -29F on the same frigid night.Needless to say, grapevines were damaged, as reported by the Ashtabula Star Beacon.  (The Star Beacon does a much better … [Read more...]

What Happened to SouthWestern Ohio Wine?

The Ohio Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) follows the river along the bottom of Ohio and extends into Kentucky and Indiana. It’s the second largest AVA, but wineries are positioned sparsely throughout the viticultural area. In the decades before prohibition, this region was one of America’s largest producers of wine, but what are they doing now? I did a little research and placed a few … [Read more...]

Cold “Wreaking Havoc” on Regional Wine Industry

The O'Keefes of Northern Michigan -Edward and son Eddie- have been farming grapes on the Old Mission Peninsula since 1974.  So when the O'Keefes express concern about the cold damage of the past two years at their Chateau Grand Traverse Winery (see below), it's not Weather Channel style meteorological hype.At daybreak Friday morning, the temperature in Traverse City was -17F.  A few degrees … [Read more...]

Arctic Air Returns to Great Lakes Vineyards

Still reeling from damage from last winter, Great Lakes vinifera growers are again facing vine damaging temperatures.Lake Erie is now over 93% frozen.  Without a warming "lake effect," temperatures in Ashtabula County reportedly dropped to close to -20F last night.  This is not good news for the few old world grape vines that survived in Northeast Ohio last winter or any new ones that were … [Read more...]

Regional Wineries Win in San Francisco

The 2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition included many Midwestern wineries at the top of the heap of 4,900 bottles of wine. (SFC is the biggest wine competition in the U.S.)Scanning the list of Sweepstakes Award Winners, the Midwestern wines are all much less expensive than the Sweepstakes winners from other regions. Regardless of price, I’d rather drink a bottle of any of the wines … [Read more...]

Clark Smith Upbeat About Midwest Wine Industry

Clark Smith, winemaker, wine innovator and author, is one of the star speakers at Missouri’s upcoming Midwest Grape & Wine Conference in St. Charles. As editor of Appellation America he also keeps a close eye on emerging grape varieties and has a particular interest in the hybrid grapes grown in the Midwest. The California based Smith comes to this year’s conference excited about the future … [Read more...]

2015 Previews for Midwest Wine Conferences

It's that time of year again, and we're not talking about the Holidays.  Yes, Midwest wine fans, it's time to check your snow tires and find your white rabbit ushanka, cause it's Midwest Wine Conference season.This year, it would be technically possible to attend all the Midwestern wine conferences, although the Michigan and Nebraska events overlap.  Some wine conferences, like the Michigan … [Read more...]

Let’s Be Honest About Labrusca Wines

Vitis labrusca wines are big sellers for many wine regions in the United States. The snobbery against any wine producing region, variety or style of wine, including native American wines, can be annoying, especially in the retailing of these products.I’m not sure why the industry and distribution business won’t let consumers drink what they want.  Hey, Lambrusco sells in Italy, which is … [Read more...]