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Ohio: America’s First ‘Napa Valley Region’

Updated: Feb 11, 2022

Ohio: America’s First ‘Napa Valley Region’

Ohio was the birthplace of America’s commercial wine industry. Nicholas Longworth perfected the making of sparkling wine from Catawba grapes in Cincinnati, Ohio. This led to an explosion of vineyards and wineries in the greater Cincinnati area from 1820-1860. In fact, the Ohio River’s banks became known as America’s Rhineland.

Migrating to the Lake Erie Coast

However, in the early 1860s, the Civil War and a fungal disease, known as black rot, took hold and destroyed the wine industry in Cincinnati. Some grape growers migrated north to the Lake Erie islands and Sandusky area. It was discovered that the microclimate from Lake Erie was enough to prevent black rot.