The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

December 8, 2012

WineAmerica to hold 2013 gathering at lodge

Star Beacon

GENEVA-ON-THE-LAKE — WineAmerica, a trade association that represents the nation’s wineries, has selected the Lodge and Conference Center at Geneva-on-the-Lake for a 2013 gathering.

Donniella Winchell, executive director of the Ohio Wine Producers Association, told members of the county’s Convention Facilities Authority on Friday that the meeting will be held Nov. 4, 5 and 6 and bring to the county between 75 and 100 of the most influential wine producers in the nation. The purpose of the gathering is a policy meeting.

“It’s a really big deal,” Winchell said.

Winchell, lodge general manager Jeannette Petrolia and area wine producers are working on events that will showcase the region’s wines and vineyards to the professionals. Additionally, Winchell is working to connect the Geneva event with a large consumer-oriented wine event taking place in Sandusky about the same time.

“It will be very positive and put Geneva and the Grand River Valley Appellation in the eyes of the whole world,” Winchell said.

She told the group that businesses in the county’s wine belt really need to focus on the region’s wine identity, even if they are not in the wine business. For example, she’d like to see all areas bars offer a “purple cow” instead of the Shirley Temple. She recently visited a wine producing region where even the dry cleaner’s name, “Vintage,” reflects the area’s wine theme.

“There is so much we can do to drive high-end economic development to this community,” she said.