Wine grape acreage increased in Michigan for old-world style vinifera grapes as well as for cold-hardy hybrid varieties since 2016, according to a new report: The 2020 Michigan Grape and Hop Inventory.
There are 3,375 wine grape acres in Michigan maintained by 257 farms, and 670 hop acres maintained by 68 farms. The report shows an increase of 325 acres for grape inventory from the previous survey, which was released in 2016; this is the first year that hops have been included in the report.
Michigan grape and hop farmers were surveyed over several months to obtain acreage and variety data. The statistics are part of the Small Fruit and Hops Inventory conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service for the Michigan State Horticultural Society. The results are a subset of the complete report, which is expected to be released later this spring.
“The incredible growth of Michigan’s craft beverage industry has a lot to do with our talented, creative, and driven entrepreneurs, but it’s also the result of producing unique, high-quality ingredients,” says Gary McDowell, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “Fresh water, rich soils, and diverse microclimates create an ideal environment for growing robust, sophisticated inputs for every variation of craft beverage.”
Riesling continues to be the most planted wine grape in Michigan; there are 670 Riesling acres in the state. Other grapes with notable acreage include Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc. In general terms, Michigan’s somewhat mild summers are more conducive to growing white grapes.
On the hops front, there are more than 35 varieties planted in Michigan, but Centennial, Cascade, Chinook, and Cashmere have the most acreage per variety, accounting for 325 acres of 670 total acres.
The Small Fruit and Hops Inventory project was funded by a Specialty Crop Block Grant administered by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service.
The Michigan Craft Beverage Council is a 10-member, governor-appointed board that is advisory to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. It was established to provide for research, marketing, and promotion of the Michigan agricultural products that are used in the production of Michigan craft beverages.