History

Company Overview

Ohio’s history in winemaking took root along the Ohio River near Cincinnati more than 100 years ago. Meier’s Wine Cellars, Inc. began in the late 1800’s as a small grape juice business. John Michael Meier once grew his grapes on land now known as the Kenwood Towne Center north of Cincinnati. His son, John Conrad Meier, discovered in 1895 a method of bottling fresh grape juice and formed the John C. Meier Grape Juice Company, Inc.

Around the turn of the century, land was purchased in Silverton, Ohio along the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad line. During prohibition, the company prospered making sparkling Catawba grape juice. The company returned to making wine after prohibition’s repeal in 1933. In 1938, the company’s articles of incorporation were formally amended and the company was renamed Meier’s Wine Cellars, Inc.

Jug in the 1950sIn 1941, land was purchased on North Bass Island (Isle St. George) in Lake Erie and most the company’s grape needs were met from those vineyards. Over the next 35 years, the company continued to prosper extending their winemaking skills by producing table wines, sparkling wines, dessert wines, vermouths, and carbonated grape juice. In 1976, the company was purchased by Paramount Distillers, Inc. Cleveland, Ohio and continues today as Ohio’s oldest and largest winery producing wines and juices from Native American grape varieties. Grapes are no longer grown on North Bass Island but are purchased from independent growers in Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania.

The company is best known for its #44 Cream Sherry and produces over 45 kinds of wines and a premium line of sparkling non-alcoholic grape juices. Meier’s is located 1.5 miles south of the Kenwood Mall on Plainfield Road, Silverton, Ohio.

Some additional history can be found here:

Ohio Wine Producers Association Presents: The Ohio Wine Hall of Fame, Listing for Robert G. Gottesman
http://www.ohiowines.org/hall_of_fame.shtml

Meier’s Wine Cellars’ History and a great bottle lable collection, curated by the Sonneman Family:
http://meierswineohio.com