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Michigan Wine Facts

  • Some time ago, it was realized that the land and climate of Michigan were like those found in some of the great wine-grape-growing regions of France and Germany. People began planting European stock on Michigan hills and built wineries, and thus we have the great wines of Michigan.
  • Michigan is the fourth largest grape-growing state with over 14,600 acres of vineyards.
  • Michigan ranks 13th in wine production with 81 commercial wineries that produce more than 1 million gallons of wine annually. The vast majority of production is from Michigan-grown grapes.
  • The wine industry contributes $300 million annually to Michigan’s economy.
  • April is officially “Michigan Wine Month” in Michigan.
  • Most of Michigan’s quality wine grapes grow within 25 miles of Lake Michigan. The lake-effect snow protects the vines in winter, insulating the soil so the roots won’t freeze. The temperate climate protects the buds from breaking in the spring and helps the grapes to ripen in the summer. The yearly rainfall produces juicy clusters of grapes, needed to make fine wines.
  • Grape harvesting in Michigan usually begins for early hybrid varieties at the end of August in the southwest and may extend into November for late-ripening vinifera varieties in the northwest.
  • In Michigan, there are four major wine trails across the state. Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association (LPVA), Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula (WOMP), Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, and Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail.
  • There are four American Viticultural Areas, or AVA’a, located in Michigan, Fennville, Lake Michigan Shore, Leelanau Peninsula, and Old Mission Peninsula. An AVA is a designated wine grape-growing region in the U.S. with boundaries defined by the U.S. Department of the Treasury Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Only 30 states have AVA’s, and as of May of 2007, there were 191 in the U.S.
  • There are three types of grapes that are most commonly used in Michigan Wine: Vinifera varieties (Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio/Gris and Cabernet Franc), Hybrid varieties (Common names are Vidal, Chambourcin, Marechal Foch and Vignoles), and Native varieties (Typical names are Concord and Niagara).

USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Michigan Field Office:

Rotational Fruit Survey 2006*
Annual Survey of Crops 2004*

*These are the most recent surveys available.

Information last updated on 11/2010. Information provided by: Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, Lake Michigan Shore Wine Country
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