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The vineyard aid program aims to stimulate local grape production

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Ohio’s vineyards depend on Mother Nature, but a statewide assistance program aims to offer a little help to grape growers across the state.

The Vineyard Expansion Assistance Program, created to support the establishment of new vineyards, expansion or rehabilitation of vineyards in Ohio, is available.

Vineyards can apply for aid to replace unproductive vines or to plant new ones. VEAP allows wineries and vineyards to invest in and plant high-quality, high-value grapes so they don’t have to buy them from other states, according to the Ohio Grape Industries Committee.

The incentive program was created and funded by OGIC, which operates under the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Due to the small number of grapes produced in Ohio, many wineries, farmers’ markets, and retailers purchase several varietals from other states to meet production needs.

Not only does the program give vineyards a boost, it helps preserve agriculture in Ohio, said Donniella Winchell of the Ohio Wine Producers Association.

“Authenticity in the industry is based on the fruits that grow in the soils from which the wines are produced,” said Winchell, who said the program is modeled after the one in Missouri that encourages “fruit in the floor”.

“It’s designed primarily for small production, but some of the larger wineries have taken advantage of (VEAP) to add vineyards or introduce new varieties,” she said.

The program also has a residual macro effect.

“Once you plant a condominium or a subdivision in an area that grows grapes, you’ll never get it back grape-growing,” she said. “It nurtures the authenticity of the industry because we grow grapes and make wine from those of the land of Ohio, and second, it preserves relatively unique areas for agriculture rather than housing estates. .”

Larger wineries like Ferrante Winery in Geneva are applying, but it also encourages smaller ones, she said.

Ohio is the sixth largest wine producer in the country, with nearly 1,200 acres of vineyards producing and selling 1.2 million gallons, or 500,000 cases, of wine annually. Ohio has 370 licensed winemakers, creating more than 8,000 full-time jobs for residents, according to the OGIC.

Each producer can apply for up to $1,500 per half acre with a maximum of three acres, or $9,000. Planting is to take place in the spring of 2023. Applications must be received by OGIC by Friday November 4th. For more details, contact Christy Eckstein at

Related coverage: Concord Grapes are in Season: Here are 3 Greater Cleveland Farms to Pick Yours

Do you like wine? Options vary for purchasing wine. Online retailers provide the ability to choose what you want, manage cases, and find discounts. Here is a selection to consider: The monthly club offers you wines after taking a “palate quiz”. Allows you to choose the number of bottles you want. offers subscription wine boxes from wineries located in less accessible markets. choose a curated case or create your own. Four wines tailored to your tastes are shipped monthly. Has a review component. Large online sellers often offer discounts to new customers. Organized shipments of three and six bottles. Complete site for accessories – shelves, glasses, openers, storage, gifts. Allows you to select by grape variety or by region. Includes a variety of ways to search/buy, as well as auction information.

I am on cleveland.comfrom the Life and Culture team and covers topics related to food, beer, wine and sport. If you want to see my stories, here is a directory on Bill Wills of WTAM-1100 and I usually talk food and drink at 8:20 a.m. Thursday morning. Twitter: @mbona30.

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