Meier’s Wine Cellars, Inc., owns and operates two wineries and its own vineyards. It’s Southern Ohio winery is located in the Ohio Valley at Silverton, ten miles from Cincinnati, and it’s northern winery is at Sandusky in the center of the great northern Ohio grape district. Both wineries are modern in every way that the economical production of fine wines demands, yet steeped in the time-honored traditions of the wine makers art that will permit no short-cuts or mass-production methods that may impair the quality of the good wines on which this organization has built its reputation. The vineyards are located on historic Isle St. George, the northernmost of the “Grape Islands” of Lake Erie, famous for their fine Catawbas and other native grapes.

An Introduction to

Winery Press Release - 1950?

    Meier’s Wine Cellars came into being in 1895 as the outgrowth of the wine and grape juice business conducted by John C. Meier at his farm near Silverton, Ohio. The name of Meier had been closely associated with Silverton and with vineyards long before that date, for John Michael Meier, the father of the company’s founder, was one of Ohio’s pioneer vintners and among the first to grow the Catawba grape. John C. Meier, in establishing the winery, was going forward along a trail blazed by his father.


    The first building of the winery on its present site on Plainfield Pike was built in 1906. Its location in the heart of the Ohio Valley gave it ready access to the vineyards and to the abundant fruit crops of that district. At that time very few good American wines were available on a commercial basis, and sales of bottled wines in the United States were confined largely to European imports. The fame of Meier’s fine native wines spread rapidly, and the capacity of the cellars was greatly increased.


    During the prohibition era the company continued to operate as The J. C. Meier Grape Juice Co. The wonderful golden Catawba Grape Juice, developed during that period, continues in great demand, and is still being produced by Meier’s Wine Cellars. Wine, in limited quantities, was made for sacramental purposes. Connections with growers and distributors were kept intact, and repeal found the company in good position to continue its growth, fortunately with a stock of ages wines in its cellars.


    Today the winery at Silverton has one of the largest wine storage vaults in America. In it’s great old casks of white oak, varying in capacity from 150 gallons to 12,000 gallons each, it can store a total of 500,000 gallons of wine. Here the wines are aged under the watchful eyes of experienced cellarmen, and samples are drawn periodically from every cask for laboratory analysis and tasting. The Winemaster thus keeps a constant check on all the wines in the cellars.


    A bonded fruit brandy distillery in conjunction with the winery to assure a supply of jus the right type and quality of brandy for fortifying and blending in the sweet wines.


    All blending, finishing and bottling of Meier’s wines takes place in the winery at Silverton. Grapes from the Ohio Valley region, as well as fruits from Ohio orchards and luscious wild mountain blackberries from Kentucky are brought to Silverton for crushing, cellaring, and bottling. Wines from northern grapes are finished and bottled here after cellaring in the Sandusky winery.

Meier’s northern winery is located on Campbell Street in Sandusky. This Lake Erie port city is in the very heart of the great wine grape district of northern Ohio, and during the harvest season grapes arrive at the winery by boat, by rail, and by truck. The Sandusky winery is used only for pressing, cellaring and aging, and when the wines are ready for finishing they are shipped in casks and tank truck to Silverton. Like the Silverton winery, the Sandusky cellars are very old and are equopped with fine oak cooperage. The two wineries afford Meier’s Wine Cellars an annual capacity of about 1,000,000 gallons.


At the Sandusky winery are pressed the northern Ohio grapes, rich Concords and Ives Seedlings as well as the fine Catawbas from Meier’s own vineyards on Isle St. George.

Famous in American history are the Lake Erie islands which lie northwest of Sandusky. On Put-In-Bay stands the great granite shaft commemorating Perry’s victory in the Battle of Lake Erie, fought in September of 1813. The battle actually took place off the shore of the northernmost of these islands, Isle St. George. The islands are also famous for the rich-flavored grapes that their vineyards abundantly produce. The climate and soil conditions of these islands is ideally suited to viticulture, particularly on Isle St. George, which lies farthese from the mainland. Catawba grapes have been cultivated continuously on Isle St. George for more than 100 years.


A long growing season, averaging six weeks longer than on the mainland, is largely responsible for the richness of the grapes. the lake waters arond the island freeze solidly during the winter and retain their chill well into spring, cooling the air over the island and retarding the opening of the grape buds until all danger fro the frost and unseasonable cold spells has passed. In autumn the effect is exactly opposite and the waters, which retain their summer warmth, keep the cold air away from the island, thus lengthening the growing period during which the vines send out their sugar-roots and the grapes swell almost to bursting with rich juice.

The entire personnel at Meier’s is pledged to the continuation of the policy laid down by the founder: “Spare no effort to make Meier’s wines the very finest obtainable.” The present executives of the company are all native Silvertonians and have always been closely associated with the winery, which is Silverton’s principal industry.


The key workers in the cellars are vintners of long experience, with many years of service with the company. Consciousness of the fine quality of the wines they purvey is evident among all the employees, in the vineyards, in the wineries, and in the Tavern.

In connection with the Silverton winery Meier’s Wine Cellars operates a beautiful Wine Tavern, rich in old world charm, and surrounded by lovely gardens. In the restful atmosphere of it’s large guest hall Meier’s wines are serviced by the glass or by the bottle. No trip to Cincinnati is complete without a trip to this famous rendezvous.

MAP OF ISLE ST. GEORGE


From this tiny island, only a mile and a half wide and slightly less in length, come the world’s rarest wine grapes. All vineyards are owned by Meier’s Wine Cellars.


Grapes have been cultivated on Isle St. George for more than a hundred years, and between 1844 and 1871 twenty families settled there and set out vineyards. the Hollinshead Vineyard is the oldest on the island having been set out by one Roswell Nichols of Massachusetts in 1844. The direct descendants of some of the early pioneers are still engaged in viticulture on the original family tracts.