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Canfield winemaker recognized for vineyard's first estate-grown wine

January 23, 2019
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

The Vineyards at Pine Lake in Columbiana has received recognition from the Ohio Quality Wine (OQW) program for the first-ever estate-grown wine for the vineyard and winery called Vineyards White. It has been a big achievement for the Glista family of Canfield, who owns The Vineyards at Pine Lake.

"It's really humbling and rewarding to see our hard work pay off," said Head Winemaker and Vice President of The Vineyards at Pine Lake Joseph Glista III, "and it's an honor to have one of our wines listed among such a revered selection of Ohio-grown wines."

The Vineyards at Pine Lake is a family-owned 42-acre winery located on scenic Pine Lake in Columbiana. It was established in 2016, and the property includes sprawling vineyards, a Tasting Room, serving more than 15 wines and a variety of handcrafted bites, and an event center. The Vineyards at Pine Lake regularly hosts wine tastings, property tours, dinners, live music, special classes and events and weddings.

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Joe Glista III, head winemaker and president of The Vineyards at Pine Lake, proudly holds a bottle of Vineyards White, recognized by the Ohio Quality Wine program as the vineyards first estate grown wine.

"The property was developed and the vines were planted in 2015," Glista said. "The property was not a vineyard prior [to that]. We cleared the land and prepared the soil to plant grapes in the spring of 2015. This means that our vines have completed four seasons of growth."

Regarding the OQW program, Glista explained that Ohio wineries recognized with estate grown products must have over 75 percent of the fruit grown on that estate. He said there are only 20 wineries in Ohio that are designated entirely estate grown, meaning every wine produced by the winery uses fruit grown on site.

The Vineyards at Pine Lake is only six acres at present and therefore does not have the acreage to provide all the wines consumers want by using its own estate grown fruit. Some of the wines are produced using fruits it buys from other growers. However, the OQW program does declare a specific wine, from smaller vineyards like the one Glista's own, as estate wines when it uses fruit grown on the estate to make it. To make the OQW list, the specific wine must have been produced using 90 percent Ohio grown grapes and it must pass a meticulous sensory and chemical analysis to prove it. That is what happened with Vineyards White.

"Receiving a spot on the Ohio Quality Wines list is a great achievement, especially for any Ohio winery dedicated to producing quality Ohio-grown fruit," Glista said. "With the limited number of vineyards in the state, wineries achieving OQW status with their own fruit becomes even more special. I think that any winery in the state with the goal of helping make Ohio wines than can stand up with wines from the rest of the country, is proud to have their wines on the OQW list."

Glista said there are over 285 wineries in Ohio and only 103 have committed to growing grapes on their property.

Vineyards White had its grand release at the property's first annual Harvest Festival held this past October. It was produced entirely from grapes grown on-property, harvested in 2017. The wine is an off-dry blend of four different grape varieties: Cayuga White, Melody, Vignoles and Valvin Muscat. It is a medium-bodied wine, offering notes of apricot, citrus and honey with a smooth and lasting finish, according to Glista.

Vineyards White can be sampled at the upcoming Winter Wine Affair held at Stambaugh Auditorium on Jan. 26. Additional event information and registration can be found at

As for the future of The Vineyards at Pine Lake, Glista said there are already plans to expand the vineyards. To get the vineyard up and running, the entire Glista family hand planted 2,250 vines. Over the past few years, additional plants were added, making the present number of plants at over 4,000 vines. The plan is to add 11 more acres by 2020 to make 17 total acres.

"It wasn't so much a lifelong dream to own the vineyard, but rather the winery," Glista said. "It was something we had discussed for years prior to starting the project. But when the time came to start implementing the plan, the vineyard portion became more and more important. Making great wine from someone else's grapes and juice is a challenge in and of itself, but you really lack the connection to the fruit and you have little control of what you receive other than purely making requests to the grower. Growing your own grapes gives you the ability to harvest when you feel the grapes are at the ripeness that matches the style of wine you are trying to make. So for that reason, it was important to us to have vines of our own. In addition, having our own vines allowed us to become a traditional winery in the sense that we can produce a product from the vine all the way to the bottle, entirely on our own."

The ultimate goal is to produce as much estate-grown wine as possible and to become a true wine destination in Ohio.



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