Vacant land fosters the full cycle of wine production.
Demonstrating their commitment to sustainability and to assimilating those reentering society from a period of incarceration, Mansfield and Brenda Frazier developed this vacant land reuse project in Cleveland to promote the three E's of sustainability: Equity, Economy, and Environment.
Formed on three city-owned parcels in May 2010, their vineyard is a three-quarter acre lot growing 294 vies of wine-making Traminette and Frontenac grapes. The vineyard site is occupies a highly visible location, on an intersection heavily trafficked by both cars and pedestrians. The project itself marks an confluence of social empowerment and environmental stewardship goals, more than just growing grapes.
In addition to establishing a small local business, the project is also educationally focused, serving as a learning lab for participants in a local reentry program. Participants not only become versed in horticulture-best practices from existing urban and rural vineyards-but also develop in skills related to entrepreneurship. Currently neighborhood youth, along with residents of nearby half-way houses and transitional homes, have volunteered the work and labor necessary for the vineyards.
To prepare the land for grapes, existing trees were trimmed and top soil was layered and leveled. Grapevines were planted with support stakes and wires installed for erective support. A decorative fence was built to border the vineyard. Ultimately, the grapes will be harvested and stored in a newly built Chateau Hough, where the actual process of winemaking will commence under the guidance of vineyard expert Giancarlo Callicchia.
Mansfield Frazier envisions the project growing to supply a local winery under the same ownership as the vineyard, tapping clientele from nearby Cleveland Clinic hospital and other institutions.
Erika E. Meschkat, ReImagining Cleveland