Homage to an Ohio Wine Pioneer: Tony Debevc, Sr.





debonne

Chalet Debonne's estate vineyards in Ohio's Grand River Valley





Northern Ohio isn’t the easiest place in the world to grow wine grapes. It takes determination, energy and a good measure of stubbornness to create a winery in the shadow of the Great Lakes. But after years of hard work, Chalet Debonne is a thriving business and the Grand River Valley District has become a popular leisure destination. This is in no small part thanks to Tony Debevc Sr, who passed away recently at the age of 94.

Tony Sr. was one of the pioneers in the Ohio wine industry. The land he lived on near Madison had been planted to grapes by his father as early as 1916, but Tony got serious about wine when he created Chalet Debonne Vineyards in 1971. With his wife Rose and son Anthony, Tony Sr. used innovative new techniques in his vineyards: before wind machines were common to prevent frost damage, Tony brought in World War II airplane engines to protect his vines. His energy, commitment, and smart ideas steered the winery through the early years and helped make it the largest estate winery in Ohio.

Tony Sr’s family made this statement: “Tony will be remembered by many as a respected, innovative winegrower whose legacy includes a strong and dynamic family, great friends and fine wines with which to celebrate life.”

It doesn’t get much better than that. Cheers.



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