The newest among CFAES's statewide research sites, the Ashtabula Agricultural Research Station was established in 1985, a year after the Ohio legislature appropriated funds for CFAES to set up a grape research farm. The Ashtabula county commissioners then entered into a long-term lease agreement with The Ohio State University for 25 acres of the former county home farmland. Over the years, CFAES has built trellised vineyards, two operations buildings, a cold storage facility and an automated weather station on the site.
The Ashtabula Agricultural Research Station maintains a comprehensive research program that covers the entire spectrum of grape and wine production, including work on cultivar evaluation and management practices; pest, disease, and weed control; cold tolerance; and evaluation of juice and wine quality. The coordinated work of Ohio State viticulturists, enologists, plant pathologists, entomologists, and weed ecologists has been crucial to the Station's success in meeting growers needs and ensuring the viability of the state's grape and wine industries.
The climate of northeastern Ohio is conductive to numerous grape diseases. Studies at the Station focus on the evaluation of new chemicals and control methods for many of these diseases.
Native and introduced insects are a perennial concern of area growers. OARDC scientists are quick to respond to grower needs with studies at the Ashtabula Station. Additionally, the Station plays a vital role in the establishment of insect thresholds, control methods, food safety and quality, and dissemination of information.
Innovative approaches to weed control are an ongoing focus at the Station. Herbicide-treated mulches, herbicide rates, and problem weed identification help growers establish management practices that lead to prudent use of resources.
New Cultivar Trials and Quality Management
The Station is currently involved in a nationwide cultivar trial, whose results will assist growers in identifying grape varieties suited to the climate of northeastern Ohio. Boosting grape quality is also a state and national priority supported at the Station. OARDC viticulture research has focused on identifying the most sustainable production practices that improve vine health as well as fruit and wine quality.
Freezing temperatures in midwinter and late spring are the most limiting factors for commercial grape production in Ohio. OARDC experts focus their research on studying physiological, biochemical, and molecular mechanisms by which grapevines cope with freezing temperatures and subsequently on developing protection methods.
Enologists at the OARDC Wooster campus play a major role in many studies conducted at the Station. Wines produced from varietal and cultural trials help in determining the qualitative outcome of many studies. In addition, many Station-grown grapes are used in research and Extension projects that help area wineries.
The Ashtabula Agricultural Research Station has a very close relationship with local growers and winery owners, who provide critical input in the planning and development of many research projects. The Station's Advisory Committee brings together producers, OARDC researchers, and OSU Extension personnel, who keep research activities on target with the industry's needs. The Station also hosts various outreach events-including the biennial Ohio Grape and Wine Field Day, the Winter Pruning School, and educational programs for students from kindergarten through college
Social Media Events and Web Resources
- Buckeye Appellation - H&CS Grape and Wine Resource Web Page
- OARDC Ashtabula Agricultural Research Station (Facebook)
- Ashtabula Agricultural Research Station Blog - Buckeye Vineyards
- Online Project Registration Form
- Andrew Kirk - Research Specialist
- Nick Spurlock - Research Assistant 1
- Yvonne Woodworth - Research Assistant 1