Cleveland: Inner city vineyard now a reality

12:07 PM, Jun 1, 2010   |    comments
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He, his wife Brenda, and other urban farm supporters are planting more than 300 grapevines for two hearty white wines at the corner of East 66th Street and Hough Avenue.

Chateau d'Hough, they call it.

"We have 3,000 vacant lots in the city of Cleveland," said Frazier. His vineyard plan was one of 58 ideas accepted by the ReImagine Cleveland project.

The city keeps  the three-quarter acre parcel that once had an apartment building on it. Frazier gets $15,000 for his project.

What did he know about winemaking?

"I was an expert, taking the cork off the bottle. I still am," Frazier joked.

His wife says, "I figured we'd have a garden in our backyard, not a vineyard."

She's proud of his initiative.

It takes about three or four years for a vineyard to produce its first crop of wine-worthy grapes.

Frazier's working on the second part of his dream -- a winemaking facility and restaurant near University Circle. He's already talking with foreign investors.

Hough was once a struggling, crime-ridden community. Under the late Councilwoman Fannie Lewis' leadership, it gave rise to many magnificent homes.

Frazier hopes his project creates jobs. He's involved with helping ex-offenders and hopes to employ them.

He and his wife also hope to have schoolchildren visit the vineyard. 

They hope hands-on exposure to a green project may influence them to have healthier diets.

Residents are eager for the neighborhood upgrade.

Dionka Wynn said, "That's going to be really pretty. I can't wait to see it.

Frazier believes, "You shouldn't have to move to live in a better neighborhood."


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