Governor Rick Snyder has declared April “Michigan Wine Month” to honor the state’s wide selection of quality wines and the wine industry’s significant contribution to the economy. Sales of Michigan wine in the state rose more than 6 percent in 2012, while total wine sales increased just 1 percent. Wine sales have outpaced total wine sales over the past 10 years, doubling Michigan wineries’ market share to 6.5 percent.
The Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council has added 11 new wineries to its roster over the last year – for a total of 101 wineries that use primarily Michigan grapes and other fruit for their wines. Michigan’s wineries welcome more than 1 million visitors each year, and Michigan’s wine and grape industries contribute more than $800 million to the state’s economy annually.
“I am proud to acknowledge the outstanding recent growth of the Michigan wine industry,” noted Gordon Wenk, chief deputy director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, and chair of the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council. “The industry is a shining example of value-added agriculture, contributing to the agricultural and tourism economies of our beautiful state. The quality of our wines, unique local foods, and the scenic beauty of Pure Michigan make Michigan an unparalleled winery touring region in the U.S.”
Michigan wines consistently win high awards at competitions around the country. Increased interest has sparked a doubling of wine grape acreage from 1,300 acres to 2,650 acres over the past decade according to a report released last summer by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
April is a great time to kick off winery touring, with off-season rates at hotels and B&Bs and tasting room staff who delight in providing visitors with extra attention. Michigan wineries will begin to release new white wines from the 2012 vintage in April as part of their Michigan Wine Month promotion. Most of 2012s red wines won’t be released for a year or two, but some reds from the outstanding 2011 vintage will be released this spring.
Many spring events will provide opportunities to meet winemakers and sample a variety of Michigan wines.
- April 15 Michigan Wine Showcase – The Rattlesnake Club, Detroit. This special tasting is a terrific opportunity to get a preview of the wonderful 2012 vintage, and to meet more than 25 winery owners and winemakers and winery owners. RSVP to Karel Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit www.michiganwines.com/showcase.
- April 20-21 Michigan Wine Celebration – Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail. Visit www.pioneerwinetrail.com.
- May 4-5 Spring Sip & Savor – Leelanau Peninsula Vintners. Get more information at www.lpwines.com.
- May 18 Blossom Day – Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula. Visit www.wineriesofoldmission.com.
- June 15 Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival – Lake Michigan Shore Wine Country. For information, visit www.miwinetrail.com.
For details on many more Michigan wine-related events, visit www.michiganwines.com.
April will also see the release of the 2013 Michigan Wine Country magazine, an indispensable guide to the wines and wineries of Michigan, featuring maps and touring information. Michigan Wine Country is available online at www.michiganwines.com. Pick up a free copy at any Michigan winery or Travel Michigan Welcome Center, visit www.michiganwines.com, or contact the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council at (517) 241-1207.