Midwest Winery Rankings 2014
After years of rapid expansion, the growth in the number of Midwest wineries slowed during the past year.
Since the second quarter of 2013, the number of Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) winery permits in the 11 state area covered by Midwest Wine Press increased by 1.7% to 1,264.
In comparison, the number of TTB winery permits increased by 10% from 2012 to 2013.
While Midwestern TTB wine permit applications were essentially flat, the total number of wineries listed by each state’s leading wine association increased by 9% from 2013 to 2014.
The state association derived total number of wineries in the Midwest increased from 847 in 2013 to 925 this year. (As detailed in the Rankings below, Midwestern states have different methods of tabulating wineries.)
Midwest Wine Press has now tracked federal government wine producer and blender records for three consecutive years. While the TTB listings are an imperfect proxy for the exact number of wineries in a particular state, the number of winery permits is a useful barometer of interest in winery formation and investment. Generally, the TTB’s figure for the number of wineries is a little higher than the real figure.
(Meaderies and wineries that make only fruit wine are included in the MWP Rankings. Distillers, retailers and distributors are not.)
TTB Winery Permits in the Midwest
1,264- 2014 (+1.7%)
1,243- 2013 (+9.8)
Notable facts from this year’s Midwest Winery Rankings include:
- Unlike the period from 2012 to 2013, not every Midwestern state had winery growth in the past year. Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Minnesota all experienced declines in federal winery permits.
- 577 Midwestern wineries are on a wine trail. That’s more than two-thirds of Midwest wineries.
- In terms of winery growth, Indiana leads the pack. Federal winery licenses increased by 25% in Indiana during the past year. As a result, Indiana moved up to seventh place in the Rankings.
- The fastest growing states from last year- Wisconsin and Minnesota- have seen new winery formation slow.
- This year’s winery rankings have extra facts and figures including vineyard acreage in each state and also the names of the state’s largest wineries.
1. Michigan Wineries: 2014- 221 wineries (-2%)
2013- 226 wineries
2012- 200 wineries
The Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council (MGWIC) lists 101 wineries in Michigan. The MGWIC only lists wineries that use at least 50% Michigan grapes to make their wine. The number of wineries that meet the MGWIC definition of a Michigan winery is unchanged during the past year.
- There are 2,650 acres of wine grapes in Michigan state, making the Great Lakes State the fifth largest wine grape producer in the U.S.
- The largest wineries in Michigan are: St. Julian, Paw Paw, Frankenmuth, Union Pier, Dundee; Chateau Grand Traverse, Old Mission Peninsula; Leelanau Cellars, Leelanau Peninsula; Fenn Valley Winery, Fennville.
- Michigan wineries attracted over two million visitors in 2012, the latest year for which figures are available.
- Michigan wineries earned 176 Gold Medals at national wine competitions during 2013.
2. Ohio Wineries: 2014- 212 wineries (-2%)
2013- 216 wineries
2012- 185 wineries
According to the Ohio Grape Industries Committee (OGIC), there are 197 wineries in the state. Wineries that have chosen to be listed at OGIC’s Ohio Wines website: 158. Over the past year, the number of wineries on the OGIC website has increased by ten.
- Ohio has just over 1,900 acres of grape vines.
- The largest wine producer under one label is Ferrante Winery & Ristorante, Geneva.
- Taking into account total wine production under several labels, 5 wineries could be the largest wine producers in the state: Meier’s Wine Cellars, Silverton; Debonne Vineyards, Madison; Ferrante Winery, Geneva, Firelands Winery, Sandusky; and Breitenbach Wine Cellars, Dover.
- According to the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s 2012 Economic Impact Study released in May 2014, Ohio produces 1.2 million gallons of wine annually.
3. Missouri Wineries: 2014- 175 wineries (+5%)
2013- 167 wineries
2012- 157 wineries
The Missouri Wine and Grape Board (MWGB) reports 128 wineries. That’s an increase of ten wineries during the past year. (The MWGB only counts operating wineries.)
- Missouri has about 1,700 acres of wine grapes.
- There are over 800,000 wine related visits to Missouri each year.
- The Missouri wine industry supports over 14,000 full time jobs.
- Missouri is the largest grower and producer of Norton wine in the world with over 340 bearing acres.
- Among the largest wineries in Missouri are St. James Winery, St. James, Stone Hill Winery, Hermann, Les Bourgeois Vineyards, Rocheport, Mount Pleasant Winery, Augusta and Branson.
4. Illinois Wineries: 2014- 122 wineries (-5%)
2013- 129 wineries
2012- 126 wineries
The Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association (IGGVA) has 92 wineries on the Association’s website. The IGGVA estimates that there are more than 100 wineries in the state.
- In a report released in 2012, the US Department of Agriculture said there are 175 commercial vineyards in the state.
- The following Illinois wineries, in no particular order, are the biggest wine producers in the state: Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, seven locations in Illinois; Lynfred Winery, Roselle; Mary Michelle Winery, Carrollton; Alto Vineyards, Alto Pass and Champaign; Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery, Galena and Geneva. (Cooper’s Hawk uses no local grapes and Lynfred wines are made predominantly from imported fruit.)
- There were 1,066 acres of grapes growing in Illinois in 2011.
5. Iowa Wineries: 2014- 111 wineries (+5%)
2013- 106 wineries
The number of wineries according to the Midwest Grape and Wine Institute at Iowa State University: 101
- The Midwest Grape and Wine Institute estimates that there are more than 1,200 acres of grapes in the state, more than double the acres under cultivation 10 years ago.
- The largest wineries in Iowa in random order are Tassel Ridge Winery, Leighton; Stone Cliff Winery, Dubuque; Santa Maria Vineyard and Winery, Carroll; Summerset Winery, Indianola; Park Farm Winery, Bankston.
- 358,000 people visited Iowa wineries in 2012.
6. Wisconsin Wineries- 2014- 109 wineries (+5%)
2013- 104 wineries
2012- 88 wineries
The Wisconsin Winery Association lists 66 wineries. Buried deep inside the Travel Wisconsin website under “Local Food” is a list of 66 Wisconsin wineries.
- According to the University of Wisconsin, there are about 700 acres of wine grapes in the Badger State.
- In 2002, there were less than 300 acres of wine grapes in Wisconsin.
- Although the legendary wine grape breeder Elmer Swenson is often associated with Minnesota, he’s actually from Osceola, WI, which is 35 miles northeast of the Twin Cities.
- The largest wineries in Wisconsin are Wollersheim Winery, Sauk City, Paralell 44 Winery, Kewaunee and Sturgeon Bay, Danzinger Vineyards, Alma, Door Peninsula Winery, Sturgeon Bay, Elmaro Vineyard, Trempealeau.
7. Indiana Wineries- 2014- 91 wineries (+25%)
2013- 73 wineries
2012- 73 wineries
Indiana Wine lists 65 wineries on the organization’s website.
- In 1989, there were nine wineries in Indiana.
- There are now over 650 acres on wine grapes in Indiana.
- According to the student newspaper, the most popular class at Purdue University is a 400 level Wine Appreciation class.
- The Indy International Wine Competition is the largest wine competition between New York and California.
- The larges wineries in Indiana are Oliver Winery, Bloomington; Huber Orchard and Winery, Borden; Chateau Thomas, Indianapolis, Fishers and Nashville; Butler Winery and Vineyard, Bloomington and Chesterton. (Chateau Thomas uses no local grapes.)
8. Kentucky Wineries: 2014- 84 wineries (+4%)
2013- 81 wineries
2012- 79 wineries
Wineries listed by the Kentucky Wine website: 66. During 2013, the Kentucky Wine website listed 63 wineries.
- The Kentucky Wine website estimates that there are 600 acres of vines in the state.
- Kentucky currently produces about 200,000 gallons of wine annually.
- The largest wineries in Kentucky are Elk Creek Vineyards, Owenton; Equus Run Vineyards and Winery, Midway; Talon Winery and Vineyards, Lexington; Lover’s Leap Vineyards and Winery, Lawrenceburg.
9. Minnesota Wineries: 2014- 65 wineries (-6%)
2013- 69 wineries
2012- 58 wineries
Wineries on the Minnesota Grape Growers Association’s (MGGA) website map: 51
According the MGGA, while there are more than 60 licensed wineries in Minnesota, only about 40 wineries are open to the public and hold regular tasting hours. The others range from being operations with facilities for amateur winemakers to wineries that make their own wine for online sales. In addition, there are wineries in Minnesota that have federal permits but have not yet opened.
- According to the Northern Grapes Project (NGP), there are 101 vineyards in Minnesota.
- Also according to NGP, there are 845 acres of grapes in Minnesota.
- Minnesota Wineries produced over 93,000 gallons of wine in 2009.
- The largest wineries in Minnesota include Four Daughters Winery, Spring Valley; Carlos Creek Winery, Alexandria; Cannon River Winery, Cannon Falls; Saint Croix Vineyards; Stillwater, Northern Vineyards, Stillwater.
10. Nebraska Wineries: 2014- 35 wineries (+3%)
2013- 34 wineries
2012- 33 wineries
The Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association (NWGGA) lists 34 wineries on the Nebraska Wines website. Last year, the NWGGA listed 35 wineries.
- There are 338 acres of grapes growing in Nebraska currently.
- Nebraska as 114 commercial grape growers
- Annual wine production in Nebraska is 88,000 gallons per year.
- The largest wineries in Nebraska are James Arthur Vineyards, Raymond; 17 Ranch Winery, Lewellen, Cellar 426 Winery, Ashland; Big Cottonwoods Vineyards and Winery, Tekamah; Cedar Hills Vineyards, Ravenna.
11. Kansas Wineries: 2014- 36 wineries (+0%)
2013- 36 wineries
2012- 31 wineries
There are two winery associations in Kansas. The Kansas Grape Growers & Winemakers Association (KGGWA) lists 24 member wineries on its website. The Kansas Viticulture and Farm Winery Association (KVFWA) lists 5 member wineries on its website.
- There were 73 commercial grape growers in Kansas during 2010.
- Kansas has approximately 350 acres of grapes under cultivation.
- During 2013, the Kansas Department of Agriculture formed the Kansas Grape and Wine Advisory Council to support and grow the state’s grape and wine industry.
Homepage photo: The Ridge Winery, Vevay, Indiana, site of the first commercial winery in the United States.
I enjoyed the info on wineries and grape acreage in the Midwest. Somewhat surprised that you did not include AK, OK, and TN.
Let’s hear a shout-out for the smallest production wineries in the Midwest, like internationally recognized Kinkead Ridge in Ohio! 🙂
Matt Kramer, Wine Spectator:
“The truth is that some of wine’s most thrilling acts — the ones you want to shout about from the rooftops — are small scale. They’re barely even commercial. But not to hear of them isn’t merely to miss out on a buying opportunity. Indeed, it would mean missing out on something more important yet, because simply knowing that these efforts are being made in today’s hyper-commercialized world is an inspiration.
It’s all about finding good wines to try. Expensive wine is easy to buy. Technically good (if boring) wine is easy to buy. But really good wine is trickier. Despite the fact that there’s more really good, even great wine today than ever before, it’s paradoxically now more challenging to land on, like finding a good TV show even though you’ve got 400 channels.
Great article with good information. However, under Nebraska while the wineries listed as the largest are great places that make some good wines they (17 Ranch Winery, Lewellen, Cellar 426 Winery, Ashland; Big Cottonwoods Vineyards and Winery, Tekamah; Cedar Hills Vineyards, Ravenna) are the smallest wineries in the Nebraska. The largest wineries in Nebraska are: James Arthur, Raymond; Mac’s Creek Winery & Vineyards, Lexington; Whiskey Run, Brownsville; Soaring Wings, Springfield; and Miletta Vista, St. Paul.
Based on Wisconsin IRS numbers found at http://www.revenue.wi.gov/ise/excise.html, the top ten wineries in Wisconsin are:
Winery 2013 Total Liters
1 WOLLERSHEIM WINERY, INC. Total 818,301.73
2 C & N CORPORATION Total 419,802.15
3 VON STIEHL WINERY LTD. Total 211,738.77
4 FRUIT OF THE WOODS WINE CELLAR, INC. Total 160,191.00
5 LAUTENBACH’S ORCHARD COUNTRY INC Total 100,150.95
6 HARBOR RIDGE WINERY INC. Total 47,082.62
7 FAWN CREEK WINERY LLC Total 45,889.38
8 WEST PRAIRIE WINERY LLC Total 42,595.48
9 SIMON CREEK VINEYARD LLC Total 40,753.19
10 PARALLEL 44 VINEYARD & WINERY, INC. Total 36,408.06
Winery 2012 Total Liters
1 WOLLERSHEIM WINERY, INC. Total 825,903.66
2 C & N CORPORATION Total 401,001.38
3 VON STIEHL WINERY LTD. Total 237,574.24
4 FRUIT OF THE WOODS WINE CELLAR, INC. Total 171,623.21
5 LAUTENBACH’S ORCHARD COUNTRY INC Total 101,626.93
6 PARALLEL 44 VINEYARD & WINERY, INC. Total 95,717.74
7 SANTA FE FUTURES, INC. Total 90,827.56
8 SPURGEON VINEYARDS & WINERY LLC Total 46,327.69
9 SIMON CREEK VINEYARD LLC Total 40,730.98
10 WEST PRAIRIE WINERY LLC Total 40,417.47
It would be interesting to know how much of that wine comes from Wisconsin grown grapes.
Using the same methodology as the 2014 Midwest Grape Production Rankings, Wisconsin is producing around 250,000 gallons per year using local grapes. (There are a fair amount of grapes sold between Minnesota and Wisconsin, so the actual local based wine production may be higher.)