It’s one thing to be a wine connoisseur. But to be a winery connoisseur, that’s on a whole different playing field. Christy Eckstein has been the Executive Director of the Ohio Grape Industries Committee (OGIC) since September 2007. The OGIC is a quasi-state agency created in 1981 whose primary responsibility is to create viable, income-producing grape enterprises in the state of Ohio. Through marketing and promotional work they are able to spread knowledge and interest in the grape market and grape products and encourage improvements in the quality of grapes and the profitability of grape growing as an agribusiness in Ohio.
It’s easy to see that Eckstein and OGIC are doing their job well. “The number of wineries in Ohio has more than doubled since 1999. There are 121 Ohio wineries today, and in the last year we have seen an influx of 1-3 wineries per month. It’s to the point now where you are within 45 minutes of a winery anywhere in Ohio!”
The majority of Ohio wine comes from 15 – 20 wineries, but the 121 wineries in Ohio altogether add up to 2,200 acres of grapes which produce around 850,000 gallons of wine each year. Wine made with Ohio grown grapes has been described as “pink, sweet and fruity.”
Thanks to Eckstein and OGIC we can find all kinds of wine, from sparkling to ice, in every region of the Buckeye state, from Sandusky to Cincinatti. Encouraged by both OGIC and the success of Ohio wines, growers are relying more and more on Ohio grown vinifera hybrid grapes.
With all the wineries and the world-class class vinifera wines in Ohio, one may think that Eckstein’s job would be a piece of cake; but she’s not finished. Eckstein is now taking on her biggest hurdle: promoting diversity in the industry.
For more info on OGIC, go to www.tasteohiowines.com