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Middle Bass Island, Middle Bass

1.3
#61 of 61 in Nature in Ohio
Middle Bass Island is an island of the U.S. state of Ohio, located in Lake Erie. A small town, Middle Bass, lies on the island. The 805-acre (3.258 kmĀ²) island is shaped like the Big Dipper and is one of three Bass Islands located at the center of a group of 23 smaller islands. It is located in Put-in-Bay Township, Ottawa County, Ohio.Some of its more famous neighbors are South Bass Island, with the town of Put-in-Bay, Kelleys Island, and Pelee Island.HistoryThe island was landed upon by French explorer, Robert La Salle, in 1679. The abundance of wildflowers on the island impressed La Salle and his crew so much that they appropriately named it Isle des Fleures, the Island of Flowers. It would retain this name for the next 200 years until it was acquired by a German count in 1856. With the aid of immigrant German workers, the island was used for grape cultivation. This proved to be a very successful undertaking. Old aerial photos of the island (and its neighbor, North Bass Island) show the majority of the island covered with neat rows of grapevines.By 1875, Middle Bass Island's Golden Eagle Winery was reputed to be the largest wine producer in the United States. The Lonz family acquired the business in 1884 and owned and operated it until the death of George Lonz in 1968. Lonz Winery has often been compared with the wineries of the German Rhineland. The old castle-like structure has been visited by countless dignitaries including five American Presidents. The winery is now part of a corporation bearing the Lonz name. Since 1979, the wines have been made by Italian enologist Claudio Salvador.
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  • Lonz Winery was once ( a long time ago) USA's largest producer of wine, but today it is the focal point of a spectacular State Park. It was shut down in 2000 after a terrace collapsed, one person died...  more »
  • A fairly quiet island compared to most tourist islands, but with enough attractions on the island or nearby to please all ages. My wife calls it the "island of happy men", and all the women I've met t...  more »
  • 40 minute Miller Ferry Ride from Port Clinton OH is very relaxing. Can take your car over but it requires car reservation up to 2 weeks prior. Take your bikes for a day trip or stay longer as there ar...  more »

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