Todd Steiner recently received the 2022 American Society for Enology & Viticulture, Eastern Section (ASEV-ES) Distinguished Service Award! This award represents a lifetime of dedication to improving Enology & Viticulture. We have been fortunate enough that Todd has spent the past 33 years with us here at THE Ohio State University; he currently is our Enology Program Manager & Outreach Specialist.
In Todd's own words his interest in Enology & Viticulture was first sparked "when I started as the enology lab manager back in 1996, I really enjoyed the chemistry background of winemaking. I further increased my knowledge in this area by training under Dr. Jim Gallander and eventually taking over the research and extension component as the Enology Program Manager starting in 2001".
Learn a bit more about the vibrant Vineyard & Winery Community first hand from Todd - who sat down to give us the inside scoop:
What does receiving this honor mean to you?
The American Society of Enology and Viticulture is the professional society for Viticulture and Enology research and extension across the United States. It is split into the National (West Coast and Eastern Section, ES). The ASEV-ES section covers the geographical area encompassed by the Section includes all U.S. states and Canadian provinces with territory east of the Continental Divide. Since this is the professional society which represents the best viticulture and enology professional colleagues across the U.S., it is an honor to be associated with this group and represent The Ohio State University viticulture and enology program through this award.
When did you first become involved with ASEV-ES & why did you initially join?
I first became involved in ASEV-ES in the late 90’s with the intent to learn more about viticulture and enology from the excellent work that peers across the country and Canada were performing and presenting.
What's Your favorite memory from ASEV-ES events over the years?
I have enjoyed the many years that I have been involved with ASEV-ES. I have been on the board of directors several times and routinely helped each year in solicitating wines from across the country for special events and educational tastings at the annual meetings. One of the fondest memories came when we (Ohio) hosted this event in 2009. It provided an excellent opportunity to showcase what we were doing in Ohio in terms of research and extension at The Ohio State University in addition to recognizing the quality wine potential we were becoming known for in our commercial industry.
What has brought you back year after year to continue to be involved with ASEV-ES?
The people which make up the Eastern Section are truly wonderful individuals and represent some of the best research and extension contacts in the U.S. and throughout the world. Besides keeping up to date on “best grape growing and wine making practices”, it is also amazing to visit other wine regions across the country to see what is being done in both research and commercially within each state.
Could you tell us a bit more about your role here AT OSU?
I am currently the state outreach specialist for the Ohio commercial wine industry. Initially, I was involved with both research and extension for quality wine production but have recently moved to all extension due to the growing commercial wine industry in Ohio. I also work in collaboration with the Ohio Grape Industries Committee which is housed in the Ohio Department of Agriculture. My extension responsibilities include co-organizing the annual Ohio Grape and Wine Conference, the annual Ohio Wine Competition, organizing industry workshops and being a featured presenter at both in-state and out-of-state meetings. Winery consultation is an especially important aspect of my responsibilities that I enjoy. Recently, I have developed several large programmatic efforts in addition to writing a Wine Production Guide to help assist the growing wine industry which is currently in press. I have also been honored in being asked to judge in numerous regional, national, and international wine competitions as part of my role at The Ohio State University.
What’s your favorite part of working at OSU?
Being involved and meeting so many wonderful people over the years and being a part of “Buckeye Nation”.
What 1 piece of advice would you offer someone considering pursuing a vineyard or winery related career?
It takes a tremendous amount of effort and a good amount of money to do things correctly in producing quality grapes and wine. You must really enjoy (love) this lifestyle first, then it can be quite rewarding to see your efforts come to fruition.
The Ohio commercial wine industry continues to expand every year – do you have a few favorite resources for a new winery owner?
There is a lot of good literature from enologists across the country on key winemaking practices, but hopefully the Wine Production Guide that I just published through OSU Extension Publications will provide a valuable resource to winemakers in Ohio and across the country.
You can learn more about the ASEV-ES Distinguished Service Award here at the notice provided by the ASEV-ES Board. Additionally, you can check out the Wine Business Monthly Article that featured highlights from the 2022 ASEV-ES Conference.