A stones throw from Sandy Ridge sits the amazingly vast Lake Erie.
Interestingly only a few miles off our shoreline in this Great Lake sit an array of tiny islands, The Bass Islands. One in particular is North Bass Island which encompasses a designated American Viticultural Area.
Isle St. George has a long history of viticulture. Settlers from Europe began to settle in northern Ohio in the mid-1800s. During this time some settlers made their way to North Bass Island and because of the high quality of wild grapes they discovered, began to plant vineyards. Prohibition brought about an inevitable halt to Isle St. George’s wine industry during the first half of the 20th Century.
However, in 1982 it became one of the first wine regions to be officially recognized as an American Viticultural Area (AVA). The tiny island, roughly one square mile in size is approximately half under vine. The climate here is heavily moderated by Lake Erie allowing for the production of grape varieties such as Riesling, Chardonnay, Delaware and Catawba.
North Bass island enjoys a maritime climate that is moderated by lake breezes. Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes, and therefore the warmest. During the summer and fall, the vines benefit from breezes that have been warmed by the lake’s waters. The impact of these breezes allow a longer growing season opposed to mainland Ohio, which harvests sometime come as much as six weeks earlier.
We are glad to be in an area of great wine making. Ohio is not just for lovers, but lovers of wine. If you are visiting the Sandusky, Ohio area, please stop by for an evening of history, great wine and friends. And if your taking an RV tour, check out our blog post “Are you an RVer planning a trip near or through Sandusky or Norwalk Ohio areas?”