The state of Michigan is now ranked as the fourth biggest grape-growing state due to its 14,600 acres of vineyards.
The vast majority of these acres are used for cultivating juice grapes like Concord and Niagara.
Wine grapes are grown on around 2,000 acres in Michigan, making it the eighth most productive state in the US for wine grape production.
Over the last decade, the total area planted with grapes has expanded by more than sixty percent.
The state of Michigan ranks 13th in the nation for wine production thanks to its 73 commercial wineries, which together produce more than 1 million gallons of wine yearly. Grapes cultivated in the state of Michigan account for the great bulk of total output.
Wineries are very popular places for tourists to visit, and each year they welcome more than 800,000 of these guests.
The state of Michigan receives an annual contribution of $300 million from the wine industry.
In Michigan, the following varieties of grapes are utilized to make wine:
- Vinifera varieties – About 65 percent of Michigan’s wine grapes are vinifera, which are the traditional European grape types. Some examples of vinifera varieties are Chardonnay, Riesling (the most generally planted white), Pinot Noir (the most widely planted red), Pinot Grigio/Gris, and Cabernet Franc. Since 1997, vinifera cultivars have accounted for ninety percent of all new plantings in the state of Michigan.
- Hybrid varietals – are the offspring of botanical crosses between vinifera kinds and grapes indigenous to North America. They are also referred to as French/American hybrids at times. The most common names for these hybrids are Vidal, Chambourcin, Marechal Foch, and Vignoles. Hybrids make up around 35 percent of Michigan’s wine grapes.
- Local varieties – which are essentially near cousins of types that are genuinely native to the area. Concord and Niagara are two examples of common names. These varietals provide around three percent of Michigan’s total wine production.
The majority of the state’s high-quality wine grapes are cultivated within around 25 miles of Lake Michigan. The “lake effect” here delays the bud break in the spring, which helps minimize frost damage, and extends the growing season by up to four weeks. In the winter, the snow covers the vines and protects them from the elements.
There are four viticultural regions in Michigan that have been authorized by the federal government (AVAs). Both the Leelanau Peninsula and the Old Mission Peninsula may be found in the northwestern section of the state, close to the city of Traverse City. This region has an average growing season of 145 days and an average heat buildup of 2,350 growth degree days; as a result, 51% of the state of Michigan’s wine grapes are cultivated here. The Lake Michigan Shore and Fennville appellations are located in the southwestern region of the state, and they are responsible for the cultivation of 45 percent of the state’s wine grapes. The growing season in this region typically lasts for around 160 days, and the area receives an average of 2,750 growth degree days worth of heat. On the chart of USDA plant hardiness zones, both locations correspond to Region 6.
The harvest starts at the end of August for early hybrid types in the southwest, and it may continue into November for late-ripening vinifera kinds in the northwest. Both regions are located in the United States.
At a growing number of regional, national, and even worldwide contests, wines from Michigan are taking home top accolades. In addition, the Michigan Wine and Spirits Competition allows participants to compare and contrast the state’s top-tier products in a head-to-head setting. Following each year’s tournament, the results are published on the internet.
Ice Wine, sparkling wine, fortified wine, fruit wine, and eau-de-vie are just some of the varieties of wine that may be found in the state of Michigan’s numerous wineries (fruit brandy).
Wines produced in Michigan are known for their “cool climate” characteristics, which include being fresh, balanced, and displaying the true varietal character.
Famous Michigan Wineries
- Karma Vista Vineyards and winery
One of the newest wineries in the state of Michigan, founded by one of the state’s oldest agricultural families. The winery is located on a stunning hillside vineyard high above the quaint town of Coloma, which is only a few miles inland from Lake Michigan.
- Contessa Wine Cellars
Tony Peterson is a third-generation winemaker who honed his skill while serving as an apprentice at his father’s winery for a significant number of years. Throughout this time, he daydreamed of designing an experience that would combine the time-honored craft of winemaking, the allure of bygone eras, and the most cutting-edge facilities available in today’s globe. That ambition is now a reality thanks to the establishment of Contessa Wine Cellars, which can be found tucked away in the rolling hills of Coloma, Michigan.
- Domaine Berrien Cellars
Since its founding in 2001, Domaine Berrien Cellars has been dedicated to producing hand-crafted estate wines of the highest possible quality from the grapes that are cultivated in vineyards. The vineyard is where great wines are born, and the cellar is where they are brought to full maturity. Although the business may be new to the general public, it has been producing wines for over three decades for the enjoyment of family and close friends.
- Lemon Creek Fruit Farm
Grapes of exceptional quality have been produced at Lemon Creek Fruit Farm thanks to the favorable growing conditions provided by the rolling clay loam hills and the moderating influence of Lake Michigan. The winery continues to set itself apart from the competition with its most recent triumph, the creation of a Cabernet Sauvignon Ice Wine to complement its extensive collection of other wines. The tradition of creating wine is being carried on with the assistance of the younger generation.
- The Round Barn Winery
Spending time at the Round Barn Winery, which also has a distillery and a microbrewery, is sure to be an enjoyable experience for you. The name gives away the fact that it doesn’t only make excellent Lake Michigan Shore wines; in addition to that, it also offers an impressive selection of distilled spirits and unique beers on tap. There is always something going on to keep you amused, including wine-making lessons, festivals, and live music performances on the weekends throughout the year.
- Tabor Hill Winery
“Drink Wine, Laugh Often, Live Long!”
The objective is to create wines that are worthy of awards and that can hold their own in the national competition. Since the early 1970s, it has been the standard practice ever since it was established. Enjoy some of the mouthwatering Norman Love chocolates, go for a visit and join a guided cellar tour to discover all about the art of creating wine, maybe even stay for dinner in the lovely dining room that overlooks the vineyards, and don’t forget the wine!
- Founders Wine Cellar
The winery’s operations are overseen by Wine Master Leonard R. Olson, who has a lengthy and illustrious background in the sector. Founders Wine Cellar is named after him. In 1968, Mr. Olson got the ball rolling on grape cultivation in Southwest Michigan.
The wines made by Mr. Olson have been recognized with a number of prestigious honors and medals. Three out of the first four times that the competition was conducted at the Michigan State Fair, his wines were awarded the title of Best in Show each time. Mr. Olson’s wines from Washington State, including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer, took home medals in an international competition. In 1983, the 1982 vintage of his Select Berry Sweet Harvest Vidal was given the most points out of any other wine in this competition that had been going on for 25 years at the time. When Mr. Olson’s first vintage dated wine made from Michigan-grown grapes was served at State banquets by President Ford in the White House, it was both the most impressive and the most memorable kind of appreciation that could have been bestowed upon him for his labor.
- The South Haven vineyard
On the original parcel of property that had been held by Jack’s grandpa, Harry Cogdal, the South Haven vineyard was developed in 2008 by Jack and Deb Murdoch. In the past, the land on which the vineyard is situated was used for the cultivation of fruit trees, vegetable crops, Christmas trees, asparagus, and a nursery. Lake Michigan is less than a half mile away from where the Cogdal Vineyards are located. The proximity to the lake helps to moderate temperatures, which in turn encourages the growth of robust vines that produce high-quality grapes. They are now harvesting grapes from seven acres’ worth of vines, all of which are of different sorts and are intended for use in the making of wine. We want to eventually have grapes covering 18 acres of land. Because of this, they will be able to sell the bulk of their wines as being produced and bottled on the estate.