As we prepare for the start of harvest season, I have received a lot of questions around if or how you make an organic wine? Organic wines have really jumped in popularity now with the “Green” movement and having people become more and more earth friendly or earth conscience. While we do everything possible to be green, unfortunately we are not set up to produce organic wines. However, there are some local wineries that are making great organic wines if you are interested in learning more about the process.

But before I discuss the wineries, let me give you some background on what it means to be an organic winery. In plainest terms, to be organic, the winery does not use chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or fertilizers on the grapes. Also, during the fermentation process, no sulfites are added to the wine and finally the bottles are rinsed with an organic cleaning solution instead of a chemical sanitizer.

As the winery relies mostly on natural fertilizers or beneficial insects to deter other bugs or birds, the manual labor of maintaining the vineyard is quite expensive. While this cost is usually passed onto the consumer, organic wines are well worth the price. I recently had a bottle of Chardonnay from Maple Ridge Vineyard in Madison, Ohio that was excellent. It was very smooth and had a wonderful butter finish. I also had the opportunity to try some of their red wines and while not as good as the Chardonnay, I didn’t have a problem finishing the bottle.

If you are ever out in Madison, I recommend calling Maple Ridge in advance (440.829.8783) or visit their website ( as their hours vary.  It is quite a technique and process that organic wineries go through so I am sure they would be more than willing to sit and chat with you to discuss how unique they are.

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on the winery, please visit

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Amanda Conkol and her husband Chris are the owners of Candlelight Winery in Garrettsville, Ohio. Amanda’s passion for wine is evident in her weekly column “Notes From The Vineyard”, but that’s not all Amanda is passionate about. She maintains a full schedule raising twin daughters, working a day job consulting as an IT Project Manager and is the Girl Troop Leader for her daughters’ troop. When time allows Amanda loves to travel (especially to Disney World) and go for runs throughout Nelson Township.