Michigan grape crops produce quality wine

Wine Wednesdays could be better than ever in 2013 as MSU experts say the Michigan wine crop is one of the most excellent they’ve seen in years, and Michigan-made wine is gaining more popularity.

Michigan wine sales have been increasing in the last two decades, according to the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council of Michigan’s Department of Agriculture & Rural Development. But it isn’t just the wineries that are responsible for Michigan-made wine sale increases as local restaurants, stores and customers said they have been making Michigan products a priority because of their quality and origin.

Michigan-made wine sales have been increasing about 10 percent each year for the last 10 to 12 years.

Karel Bush, a promotion specialist for the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, said Michigan is home to 101 commercial wineries, producing more than 1.3 million gallons of Michigan wine annually — an increase from 32 wineries in 2002 producing 400,000 gallons of wine.

C.J. Davis, the general manager at Dusty’s Cellar in Okemos said restaurants play a major role in promoting Michigan-made wine, and Dusty’s Cellar has at least 10 to 20 percent of their wine lists coming from Michigan wineries.

“The biggest problem is if we don’t put it in glasses in front of people, they won’t buy the wine,” Davis said.

Carl Borchgrevink, an associate professor in the School of Hospitality Business, said the quality of Michigan wine has increased dramatically in the last decade.

“They’re not going to be as fruit-popping as some of the wines in California might be,” Borchgrevink said. “They’re a little more restrained, a little bit milder.”

Ron Perry, a professor in the department of horticulture and a wine educator, said the crop for 2012 has been excellent, leading them to predict an even more prime selection of wine for the 2013 year.

“That’s been something everyone has been pretty excited about,” Perry said. “Our wines are usually actually more aromatic, meaning there are more acids and phenolic flavors that go with a cool climate — that’s the reason why we can grow such good-quality white wine.”

Theatre senior Eric Piwowar, who said he is a “white wine kind of guy,” buys mostly white sweet wine made in Michigan.

“There are some great wineries in Michigan to start with, and it keeps the local businesses going,” Piwowar said. “My first choice is definitely Michigan.”

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