Lake Erie AVA

Hugging the shores of Lake Erie, this large AVA focuses on table grapes, but also has some great Riesling and Chardonnay.

Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes, which makes it the warmest. The narrow 53-mile (85 km) strip of land that hugs the southern shore of Lake Erie, spanning three states, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, is perfect for growing grapes because of the lake effect.

The lake elongates the growing season, allowing for grapes to ripen fully.

The Allegheny Plateau captures the lake effect and keeps Lake Erie vineyards warmer than they otherwise would be, which is key to ripening white and red grapes. And you can find Ice Wine when the lake freezes over in some years.

However, despite the great growing conditions, most of the land is currently dedicated to growing table grapes, primarily Concord. Most grapes end up as grape juice or jelly, with only a handful (20) wineries producing wine.

The main wine grapes you’ll see are Chardonnay and Riesling, made in various styles.