Terroir and Land Suitability in the Grand River Valley American Viticultural Area in Ohio

Authors: Mark Guizlo*, Lakeland Community College
Topics: Wine, Agricultural Geography, Land Use
Keywords: viticulture, terroir, wine, land suitability, modeling, Ohio, Lake Erie, Great Lakes
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: 8226, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In this presentation, I will summarize the methods and findings of a high resolution (10m) suitability model of grape production in the Grand River Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA). First, I will explore terrain and soil characteristics through a high resolution point extraction method. Second, I will reflect on the viability of using terrain and soil variables as proxies for missing microclimate data in a suitability model. Third, I will assess the suitability of nearby land for potential wine grape cultivation.

The Grand River Valley AVA consists of approximately 33,000 hectares of land, of which approximately 400 hectares is engaged in commercial wine grape production. The industry is highly concentrated in fragmented small plots on moraine formations on gentle slopes in the Grand River Valley in northeast Ohio. The AVA is situated approximately 12 kilometers and 120 meters elevation above the Lake Erie shoreline. The region is vulnerable to extreme weather events, late and early frosts, and crop diseases, but the wine industry has grown significantly in recent years, in part in response to consumer and tourism demand from the nearby Cleveland area. Grape growers specialize in cool-intermediate climate vinifera varietals, including Cabernet Franc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir, although some vineyards produce warm climate varietals, such as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. In addition to modeling results, this research suggests the use of high-resolution terrain and soil data to better understand terroir within the context of vernacular knowledge.

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