Agriculture includes grapes and wine


WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE – In Fayette County, when someone says “agriculture” they immediately think of corn, soybeans, and livestock. However, Ohio agriculture includes so many more types of products. One of the oldest, but rapidly expanding sections of agriculture in Ohio is the Ohio Wine and Grape Industry. The chances of seeing vineyards starting to pop up in Fayette County are probably slim in the near future but for someone to start a winery in Fayette County that would not be so far-fetched. From an economic impact study conducted by John Dunham and Associates in November of 2022, the Wine and Grape industry has a $6.6 billion impact on Ohio’s economy.

The study conducted by Dunham and Associates defines the Ohio wine and grape industries as wine grape growing, grape jam, jelly, and juice production. These areas are broken into wine production, Ohio wine wholesaling, Ohio wine retailing (on and off-premises), wine tourism, wine research and education, wine advertising and marketing, and wine and wine grape growing associations in the state of Ohio. This study divided the grape and wine industries into three tiers to determine the different aspects the industries have on the economy. The first tier is the vineyards, wineries, and grape juice, jelly, and jam producers. This tier is responsible for roughly 1.9 billion of the $6.6-billion impact.

Ohio vineyards cultivate and grow grapes in five designated areas of the state. These growing areas are the Grand River Valley, which is in Ashtabula County, Northeast Ohio, Isle St. George located at Put-In-Bay, Lake Erie which includes the south shores of Lake Erie, Loramie Creek which is the Shelby County area, and Ohio River Valley which is along the southern border of the state. The Ohio River Valley is claimed to be the birthplace of American viticulture (growing grapes) in the early 19th century with the grape variety called Catawba. The wineries use grapes and other fruits from Ohio, other states, and countries to produce wine. Other grapes are used to produce grape juice, jelly, and jam. Wineries can sell their wine through retail outlets such as tasting rooms or winery-owned restaurants or it moves to the second industry tier which is the wine wholesalers.

Wine wholesalers must be licensed and authorized to purchase Ohio wines from wineries or importers for resale. This tier includes warehousing, storing, and transporting wines, grape juices, jams, and jellies to the third tier which is the retailer. The retailer tier covers wine sales from on-premises sales in places such as restaurants, bars, sports stadiums, etc. and off-premise sales are in locations such as liquor stores and wine shops. The remaining economic impact of the wine and grape industry comes from tourism, advertising and marketing, research/education, and commodity associations.

As we break down the overall economic activity of the grape and wine industries in Ohio the total direct impact is $3.8 billion and employs 25,133 employees. The total supplier impact is $1.6 billion and employs 7,641 employees while the total induced impact is $1.2 billion and employs 7,625 employees. The full economic impact extends beyond the direct impact of the wine and grape industries into the total supplier impact sector. This happens when the wine and grape industries purchase goods and services from other industries to conduct their business. The next step to the overall breakdown is the total induced impact which is when the people employed in the direct and supplier sectors spend their wages.

From the agricultural perspective wine and grapes are agricultural products that are processed into value-added products for our consumers in Ohio and around the world. This is a very fascinating industry that includes over 400 registered wineries in just Ohio. There are many options available to enjoy these locations from visiting the individual wineries, wine trails (group advertising of nearby wineries), restaurants, and tasting rooms, to participating in weekend events and numerous festivals. Winemaking is a highly skilled craft that relies on good grapes, sanitary facilities, and a combination of flavors and chemistry to make a wine to fit almost anyone’s tastes. If you are interested in the wine and grape industries in Ohio, feel free to search Ohio Wines at or contact your local Ohio State University Extension Educator for more details.

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