Local winery owner, journalist inducted into Ohio Wine Hall of Fame

Kenneth Joseph Schuchter, second-generation owner of Valley Vineyards in Morrow in Warren County, has been inducted into the Ohio Wine Hall of Fame.

“I love this industry, and I love my family,” Schuchter said while accepting the honor at the Ohio Grape & Wine Conference held Feb. 20 in Dublin, Ohio.

This year’s only other inductee was Cox Media Group Ohio’s Mark Fisher, the first journalist to be named to the Ohio Wine Hall of Fame.

The hall of fame was established in 2002 by the Ohio Wine Producers Association (OWPA) to recognize and share the stories of those who have made significant contributions to the growth of the grape and wine industry in the Buckeye State.

Schuchter worked alongside his father, Kenneth G. Schuchter, as Valley Vineyards was founded in 1970, a year after the family planted grapevines on 20 acres of land near Morrow. By 1981, he was working full-time at the family-owned winery.

Today, Valley Vineyards is Ohio’s second-largest estate-grown winery, and its weekend steak cookouts and its annual festival draw thousands from Ohio and beyond. And a third generation of Schuchters is involved in operating the winery.

Schuchter served as a board member and as president of the OWPA, and on the Ohio Grape Industries Committee and its research committee.

His father, who passed away in October 2016, was inducted into the Ohio Wine Hall of Fame 14 years ago.

“He was my best friend,” Schuchter said of his father. “He was the best man I’ve ever known.”

Fisher has been writing about wine professionally since launching the Taste of Wine column in the Dayton Daily News in 1989. In 2005, he became one of the first daily newspaper wine columnists in the country to launch a wine blog.

Fisher’s work has appeared in national and regional publications and web sites, including Market Watch, WineEnthusiast.com, Ohio Magazine, and Love At First Sip/Exploring Ohio Wine Country. He has served as a judge for the Indy International Wine Competition, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Wine Competition, and the Ohio Wine Competition.

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