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Michigan’s Wine Grape Industry Grows At Rapid Pace

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LANSING (WWJ) – For those who love the rich, smoky, fruity taste of Michigan wines, the following facts will not disappoint.

Michigan’s wine grape acreage doubled over the past decade, according to a report recently released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service.

While acreage of Concord and Niagara grape varieties – used primarily for juice, jams and jelly – have remained steady at approximately 12,000 acres over the past 10 years,  wine grape acreage increased from 1,300 to 2,650 in Michigan.

“This data confirms the steady growth of the wine industry,” said Gordon Wenk, deputy director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, who also chairs the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council. “Michigan’s wineries are committed to the concept of regional identity by utilizing a high percentage of Michigan-grown fruit in their wines.”

The USDA report is based on the 2011 Michigan Fruit Survey, which collected data from grape growers throughout the state. The complete results of the survey are available online and can be accessed by visiting here.

Riesling is the most widely planted wine grape, with acreage nearly tripling in the past decade. Cabernet Franc acreage also tripled in the past decade. Pinot Gris increased nearly 300 percent. And Pinot Noir has replaced Chardonnay as the state’s second most planted variety, with acreage increasing 150 percent in the last 10 years.

Michigan ranked fourth in total grape production in the United States in 2011, behind California, Washington and New York, and ranked fifth in wine grape production. Michigan hovers between fifth and eighth place for wine grape production from year to year, depending on weather events that can severely influence regional production volumes in any given year.

According to the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, there are 101 commercial wineries producing more than 1.3 million gallons of Michigan wine annually. That number has increased from 32 wineries in 2002 producing 400,000 gallons.

For more information about the Michigan wine grape industry, visit this link.

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