The Traverse City Record-Eagle has a pair of excellent stories on the northern Michigan wine industry. The grape harvest is just under way in Leelanau & Old Mission vineyards and it looks to be a very good harvest. In addition to growing grapes, the wine industry is also increasing the amount of acreage in Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties that are planted with as vineyards – over 1000 acres.
According to Linda Jones, head of the Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council, the state expects the new census will find as much as a 20% increase of vineyard acreage in the state. Most vineyards are in Grand Traverse & Leelanau counties in the northwest (with new ones popping up in Benzie and Emmet) and Berrien and Van Buren counties in southwest Michigan.
Based on current trends, the council estimates Michigan could get to 10,000 acres of grapes by 2020.
Sales of Michigan wines are on the upswing, too. Data from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission said sales of Michigan-made wine within the state grew to 282,000 cases in 2004, an increase of more than 80 percent over the previous eight years. Michigan-made wines account for four percent of all wine sales in the state.