Nicholas Longworth, Sr

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Nicholas Longworth, Sr

Birthplace: Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, United States
Death: February 10, 1863 (80)
Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Longworth; Thomas Longworth; Apphia Davis Vanderpoel and Apphia Longworth
Husband of Susanna Longworth
Father of Nicholas Longworth; Mary Stettinius; Eliza Flagg; Joseph H. Longworth; Sarah Longworth and 1 other
Brother of Archibald Longworth; Elizabeth L. Morris; Joseph Longworth; Mary Longworth; Jabez Longworth and 4 others

Occupation: winemaker
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Nicholas Longworth, Sr

Nicholas Longworth was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1783. In 1804 he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he became a banker and a successful winemaker as well as founder of the Longworth family in Ohio. Longworth was an influential figure in the early history of American wine, producing sparkling Catawba wine from grapes grown in his Ohio River Valley vineyard.

Personal life

He married Susanna Howell, three years his junior, daughter of Silas and Hannah (Vaughan) Howell, on Christmas Eve, 1807. His beautiful Greek Revival villa, then on the eastern edge of Cincinnati, is now the Taft Museum of Art in Cincinnati.

Nicholas pursued the study of law under Jacob Burnet, one of Cincinnati's first millionaires.


Believing Cincinnati to be an ideal location for grape cultivation, he established viticulture as a successful venture on the hills adjoining the city. He planted a vineyard of Catawba on the Mount Adams hillside and began making a sparkling wine from the grapes using the traditional method used in Champagne. From the 1830s through the 1850s, Longworth's still and sparkling Catawba were being distributed from California to Europe where it received numerous press accolades. In the 1850s, a journalist from The Illustrated London News noted that the still white Catawba compared favorably to the hock wines of the Rhine and the sparkling Catawba "transcends the Champagnes of France".

The wines were also well received at home in the United States where Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published a poem dedicated to Nicholas Longworth titled Ode to Catawba Wine. The popularity of Longworth's wine encouraged a flurry of plantings along the Ohio River Valley and up north to Lake Erie and Finger Lakes region of New York.

So successful was he that he has been called the Father of American Grape Culture. The growing tide of German immigrants coming down the Ohio Valley to Cincinnati liked his wine. Longworth had found a lucrative market: the new German immigrants wanted an affordable, drinkable table wine to continue with the traditions of their homeland, and he enjoyed a virtual monopoly. Besides being a pioneer and leading horticultural expert in his section, he was recognized as an authority in national horticultural matters. His writings, though individually short and now out of date, exercised a wide influence in his day.

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Nicholas Longworth, Sr's Timeline

January 16, 1783
Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, United States
Ohio, United States
October 7, 1808
December 9, 1809
Ohio, United States
October 21, 1811
October 22, 1815
February 10, 1863
Age 80
Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, United States