Are you wondering if it’s possible to grow wine grapes in Ohio? Yes, there are many vineyards growing grapes to make wine in Ohio. That makes sense because grapes require a lot of sunlight, and Ohio has plenty of sunshine throughout the growing season. Along with this, grape vines can grow successfully in many different soil types, and growing wine grapes in Ohio is sure to be successful if you take proper care.
Talking about Ohio wine-making history, Ohio has a long history of grape-growing. German immigrants were the first to plant grapes in the state back around 1840, and their success led others to try their hand at growing grapes. There are a variety of grape varieties that will grow well in Ohio, and many winemakers have been producing these varietals successfully for decades now.
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How to choose the best grapes to grow in Ohio?
When searching for the best grapevines to plant in Ohio, the most important thing to consider is how each variety will fare in your specific climate. While some varietals are more cold-hardy than others, that doesn’t mean they’ll thrive in all areas of the state.
If you’re wondering what grapes will grow the best in Ohio, there are two routes to take:
You can first speak with a local grape grower and inquire about the varieties they suggest for your region or anything else. Because these growers have been growing these sorts of grapes for years, their knowledge might be pretty helpful in selecting the best variety for your area.
The other method to finding grapes that will grow well in Ohio is consulting a list of recommended grape varieties. If you search online, you’ll be able to discover several lists with the recommended grapes for Ohio and which ones have succeeded in growing them in local vineyards.
5 best wine grapes for Ohio
A grapevine’s variety is determined by the type and origin of its parents. The cultivars available may be American, European, or French hybrid.
But for those who are thinking about cultivating wine grapes in Ohio, we recommend choosing wine grapes that have been developed for colder regions. So the best option grapes to plant are American and French hybrid types. Many of these varieties have been cultivated and enhanced to survive and produce fruit with less care than traditional grape varieties with the proper planning and research. And they are also more winter-hardy.
Some of the best-suited grapes for Ohio include:
American cultivars: Concord, Fredonia, Catawba, Niagara.
Hybrid Grapes: Chambourcin, Seyval Blanc and Vignoles.
- Concord grapes are a type of American grape best suited for growing in colder climates. They are dark-colored grapes with a sweet, fruity flavor. Concord grapes are frequently used to produce grape juice, jams, and jellies. They are also suitable for wine-making, although mainly used for table grapes or grape juice.
- Fredonia is a cross of Catawba and Concord, and the fruit is very much like Concord in its quality and flavor. This variety can be grown in areas where winter temperatures drop to −10°F, making it an excellent choice for Ohio.
- Catawba grapes are characterized by their soft blue-red color and sweet flavor. This variety is suitable for wine production, but it is more commonly used as a table grape or to make grape juice.
- Niagara grapes grow well in regions with moderate winters, where the temperature does not fall below −8°F. They are resistant to fungus but require more work compared to other varieties. Niagara grapes are also among the most widely planted grapes in Ohio and across the United States.
- Vignoles are a type of Hybrid grape that has dark-red color and mid-sized berries, which makes them especially suitable for wine production. Vignoles grapes can be grown in areas with winter temperatures down to −12°F, which represents a good choice for Ohio.
- Seyval Blanch is a type of white grape variety widely used in the production of still and sparkling wines. These Hybrid grapes can easily grow in colder regions, where the winter temperatures don’t fall below −20°F. Vidal is a type of white grapes that have been cultivated from red grape varieties. This variety has good resistance to many grape diseases, and it can also be grown in colder regions where winter temperatures don’t fall below −10°F.
- Chambourcin is a French hybrid grape variety often used for red wines. It has a fruity, spicy flavor and is especially well-suited for wines aged in oak barrels. Chambourcin grapes can be grown in areas where the winter temperature does not fall below −10°F, making it a good choice for Ohio.
Since Ohio represents a relatively temperate climate, you’ll be able to make all sorts of wines with these grapes.
If you want to produce white wines, then Vignoles and Seyval Blanch will be your best options, while Concord, Chambourcin, Catawba, and Niagara are the perfect choices for red wines.
Can I grow wine grapes in my backyard?
Wine grapes must have a long growing season to thrive. However, many varieties do not require one, and small wineries are sprouting up all around the country. So, wine grapes may be grown almost anywhere, depending on the variety selected.
Grapes adore the sun. Therefore you’ll want to plant them in an area where they will get plenty of sunshine. They need about 7-8 hours of full sun, so be sure they get enough morning and afternoon sun.
Grapevines soil should be well-drained, although specific cultivars like thin rocky soils and others want thicker clay-based dirt. Grapes desire a slope for efficient drainage.
Also, make sure that grapevines have plenty of space for their roots. Grapevines require at least 6-8 feet in diameter, so plan accordingly before planting.
Additionally, consider the layout of your yard when planting grapevines. Grapes are irregularly shaped and can become quite large. Therefore you’ll want to be sure that they won’t get in the way of other landscaping elements or create an eyesore.
If you are interested in planting grapevines native to the area, then go for it! Just keep in mind that not all grapes can grow well in Ohio because of our short growing season and less-than-ideal weather patterns. However, by carefully selecting a grape variety from those mentioned above, training vines on trellises or other supports, and providing the grapevine with other necessities such as pruning, training, and spraying for disease, you’ll be able to grow grapes in Ohio.
Can you grow wine grapes anywhere?
Yes, wine grapes can be grown in any place with a long and warm summer and cold winter. The important thing is to have a long growing season with at least 100 frost-free days so the grapevine can develop from bud break to the time of fruit ripening.
Can I grow grapevines in Ohio on my property?
Yes, it is allowed to grow grapevines on your property. But you need to bear in mind that Ohio law prohibits growing grapes of any variety within 100 feet of any road or street right-of-way and within 50 feet of highways and railroad rights-of-way. Also
What do you need to grow wine grapes?
It would be best to have a sunny area with good air circulation to grow wine grapes. Grapes also need soil that is well-drained and rich in organic matter. Before planting, grapevines require deep root fumigation to control Phylloxera, soil solarization treatment before planting, and soil testing for suitability.
Grapevines also need annual pruning and training, leaf removal during dormancy to reduce disease pressure, irrigation, and fungicide spraying to control grapevine maladies.
Where can I buy grapevines in Ohio?
If you want to grow grapes, you will find them at local nurseries and garden stores. You may also consider buying grapevines online from reputable growers and suppliers across the country or around the world. Choose between rooted cuttings (called “grape liners”), bare-root grapevines, and potted grapevines.
If you want to start growing your own wine grapes in Ohio, is a great location to do so. Many grape varieties can thrive in our climate, and with a little bit of preparation, you can be on your way to growing your delicious grapes for making wine. Just keep in mind the specific needs of grapevines when choosing a location to plant them, and make sure you provide them with plenty of suns and well-drained soil. If you do that, growing your wine grapes will be a great summer project!