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Garrison Hilliard 23-06-2005 07:15 PM

Farmers seek ways to nurture wine industry
Farmers seek ways to nurture wine industry

By Mike Rutledge
Enquirer staff writer

CAMP SPRINGS - As thousands of newly planted grape vines slowly grow in Northern
Kentucky soil, the area's young wine industry is raising the idea of putting a
tax on every bottle of wine sold in the state to help promote Kentucky wines.

"Some of the other wine-producing states actually have a surcharge that's on
every bottle of wine sold" regardless of where the wine was produced, said Larry
Leap of the Northern Kentucky Vintners & Grape Growers Association.

"That goes into the grape council's budget, that's used to promote and market
that state's wines," he said.

"That is certainly being considered as a proposal from the Kentucky Grape & Wine
Council," said Dewayne Ingram, chairman of the University of Kentucky's
horticulture department. "That is exactly the way neighboring states have funded
technical education research and support for their wine and grape industries.

"That's true in Indiana, I know; it's true in Ohio," Ingram said. "Various
states do it different ways."

Gov. Ernie Fletcher's office has no position on the tax proposal, said spokesman
Mike Goins.

"That's not something that anyone has discussed with us," Goins said. "And our
thought is certainly if the legislature wants to take a look at it, we'd be
willing to track it and obviously take a look at it.

"But we just believe that's more of a legislative issue for them," Goins said.

State Rep. Tom McKee, D-Cynthiana, who chaired the Interim Committee on
Agriculture and Natural Resources recently and heard Leap's pitch, declined to
comment on that issue.

"A new tax would probably have to go before Appropriations and Revenue," McKee

But he said he sees promise in grape-growing: "Vineyards offer some possibility
of a farmer diversifying his operation."

Northern Kentuckians this spring planted more than 12,000 grape vines, which
Campbell County agriculture extension agent David Koester said will make grapes
the area's top fruit crop when they start producing in three years.

This week, established vines were benefiting from cool evenings, and so far
grapes the size of peas are hanging from them on area hillsides

Leap offered other recommendations to lawmakers:

"We believe the state should be broken down into grape-growing regions, and each
of these regions should be given representation" on the governor-appointed Grape
& Wine Council, Leap said.

"There's nobody from western Kentucky, there's nobody from Northern Kentucky ...
it's all based out of the Lexington/Louisville region," Leap said.

Leap argues that Kentucky would benefit from legislation allowing creation of
cooperative wineries, like the ones in Oregon and California, which let multiple
companies share facilities and equipment to make wine. "This is done in
California and Oregon all the time," Leap said.

His group proposes a statewide quality seal program, like the one recently
started in Northern Kentucky, that judges wines for quality and taste, to help

"Part of the problem we're going to have is a lot of guys are starting out
wineries, and they don't have a lot of money," he said. "They don't have the
right equipment, and minimal knowledge. They get a wine out there, and it's not
that good, and basically it makes the Kentucky wine industry look bad."

He also requested incentives for wholesalers and retailers to distribute and
carry Kentucky wines.


Lew Bryson 23-06-2005 07:40 PM

"Garrison Hilliard" wrote in message
Farmers seek ways to nurture wine industry

By Mike Rutledge
Enquirer staff writer

CAMP SPRINGS - As thousands of newly planted grape vines slowly grow in
Kentucky soil, the area's young wine industry is raising the idea of
putting a
tax on every bottle of wine sold in the state to help promote Kentucky


Lew Bryson

Their clothes are weird, their music sucks and they drink
malternatives. And now you tell me they probably don't think Sierra
Nevada is cool? This is what the passage of years does to you: It
makes everyone around you more stupid. -- Michael Stewart 6/24/02

Joel 24-06-2005 02:13 PM

Lew Bryson wrote:
"Garrison Hilliard" wrote:
Farmers seek ways to nurture wine industry

By Mike Rutledge, Enquirer staff writer

CAMP SPRINGS - As thousands of newly planted grape vines slowly grow in
Northern Kentucky soil, the area's young wine industry is raising the
idea of putting a tax on every bottle of wine sold in the state to help
promote Kentucky wines.


Exactly. They should be brewing beer.

[Follow-ups set more appropriately.]
Joel Plutchak "The first thing to understand about the truly clueless
is this: they are incapable of comprehending that
they are clueless." - DS

Garrison Hilliard 30-06-2005 07:51 AM

Bill seeks to lower Ohio wine prices

By John Eckberg
Enqurier staff writer

Ohio consumers would see lower wine prices and more competition under a bill
introduced Wednesday in the Ohio General Assembly.

The proposal by Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Green Township, would revamp 70 year-old laws
dating to Prohibition.

Yet House Bill 306, faces an uphill battle despite having 11 co-sponsors, Seitz
admitted. If passed, the bill would:

End a minimum mark-up of 33.3 percent at the wholesale level on wine sales.

Exclusive territories would end, as suppliers would have to respond to any
retailer who asks for product.

Offer wine retailers the opportunity to buy wine through a 30-day credit
structure. Today, retailers must pay cash for wine.

Create a commission of suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, consumers and
legislators to study and offer alternatives that would modernize Ohio’s wine
sale laws.

“Ohio is one of only two states that have a double layer of mark-up by state
law,” Seitz said. “And the wholesale minimum mark-up is a form of state price

“This legislation will encourage consumers to purchase wine in Ohio, instead of
visiting a retail location across the border that may offer the same bottle at a
cheaper price.”

Distributors have been discussing the measure with legislators for over a year,
said Lee Oberlag, vice president of corporate communications for Heidelberg
Distributing Co., a Queensgate wine and beer distributor that employs 200 and
was founded in 1938.

“Certainly it turns upside down the three-tier system as we know it in Ohio,”
Oberlag said.

“It goes against what is an orderly way of doing business. We are against it and
will be fighting it.”


Garrison Hilliard 14-07-2005 05:49 PM

Hot, dry weather very sweet for wine makers
Mix makes grapes burst with flavor so growers anticipate great vintage

The Associated Press

Cleveland Plain Dealer (Thomas Ondrey) via Associa

Wine makers in Ohio expect a great year from high heat and dry conditions this
summer. David Stanisa, foreman at Chalet Debonne Vineyards, irrigates grape
vines Thursday in Madison, Ohio.


CLEVELAND - Hot temperatures and dry weather have been good to Ohio grapes,
giving winemakers reason to celebrate.

"Right now, the indicators are saying great vintage," said Wes Gerlosky,
winemaker at Harpersfield Vineyard near Geneva. "Our vines are booming here.
They look better than I've seen them look in five years."

Dry, hot weather makes grapes smaller, but sweeter.

"The flavor should be substantially intensified this year," said Donniella
Winchell, executive director of the Ohio Wine Producers Association in Ashtabula

But there could be too much of a good thing.

The vineyards need a decent rain in the next week or so or next year's crops
could be threatened because of stressed vines, said Gene Sigel, vineyard manager
at Chalet Debonne Vineyards near Madison.

Sigel rented irrigation equipment and began dousing Debonne's 80 acres and his
own 30-acre South River Vineyards last week.

It is the first time since 1998 that he has had to water.

The state has 101 wineries, many known for Ohio's signature ice wine.

That wine is largely limited to northern climates and less than 1 percent of
Ohio's production.

It's made from grapes left on the vine until they freeze.

Of the nation's wine-producing states, Ohio ranks sixth, according to the Ohio
Division of Liquor Control.

Seven new wineries, on average, have opened each year since 2000.

"It's like an explosion," Winchell said.

Still, most of the grapes grown in Ohio - Concord and Niagara varieties - end up
as juice, not wine.

Imed Dami, a wine grape expert at the Ohio Agricultural Research & Development
Center in Wooster said many juice grape growers are switching to the more
lucrative wine version of the fruit.

Juice grapes typically sell for $300 a ton these days, he said. Pinot Gris, also
known as Pinot Grigio, goes for $1,500 a ton.

Part of Dami's job is to test wine grape varieties for their suitability to
Ohio's climates and soils.

Among white grapes, Riesling, Pinot Gris/Grigio and Chardonnay grow best here,
he said.

Chambourcin and Cabernet Franc do best among the reds.

The reds stand to benefit most from a sunny, dry summer and fall because they
like a warmer climate and a longer growing season, Winchell said. Reds are grown
mainly in southern Ohio.

The white grapes on Dami's list do well in a narrow strip along Lake Erie.

They are sensitive to cold, and the lake keeps them a little warmer in winter
because frigid air from Canada is warmed by the water, and hills along the lake
help block the cold air from the vines.

The wines they yield have begun winning awards at competitions around the
country, attracting attention to Ohio.

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