Monday, July 18, 2011

The History of Erie, Pennsylvania

As I'm on my way to travel to Erie, PA for the first time ever (so excited!), I thought I'd spend the day highlighting some important wine/juice industry history for the Erie area.  Many people don't know that the largest grape juice manufacturing plant is located in Erie, PA:

Welch's Grape Juice Factory, North East (Erie), Pennsylvania

In 1869, Thomas Brawell Welch harvested 40 lbs. of Concord grapes in New York and cooked them.  This pasteurization step led to what Thomas coined as "unfermented wine."  When he bottled it, no microbes grew, and this "unfermented wine" was stable.  Thomas's son, Charles Welch, left the family dentist business to open a juice business in Watkins Glen, NY in 1896.  In 1911, Charles purchased a bankrupt Grape Products Company of North East, PA and sold it to his own Welch's Grape Company.  By 1923, Welch's introduced their infamous Concord Grape Jelly onto the market.  Today, Welch's is the largest grape juice producing plant in the U.S., producing over 20,000,000 gallons of juice per year.

However, the Erie region has slowly regenerated it's original winemaking routes.  Today, the Lake Erie Wine Trail consists of about 21 wineries in the Lake Erie region.  Home to some of our best native wine grape varieties to the ever exquisite French hybrids, there's something in Lake Erie Wine Country that everyone could enjoy to sip on!

You can find more information for a romantic (wine-oriented) getaway to the Lake Erie region at the Lake Erie Wine Country website.  Including spas, craft shows, and classy bed-and-breakfasts, this area is a place to get away.  The following images depict that:

A Growing Grapevine

Vineyards in the Fall

A Sunset over Lake Erie Vineyards

Lake Erie Vineyards = Love
(All photos from Google Images)

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