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      Wine industry becoming toast of the town

      The wine industry continues to fuel tourism and agricultural growth in northern Michigan.

      According to Michigan Wines, the official website of the Michigan Wine Industry, sales of Michigan wine in the state rose more than six percent in 2012, while total wine sales increased just one percent.

      Furthermore, Michigan wine sales have outpaced total wine sales over the past 10 years, doubling Michigan wineries' market share to more than six 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 support Michigan agriculture by using primarily Michigan grapes and other fruit for their wines.

      The growing industry is translating into higher tourism number.

      According to Michigan Wines, Michigan's wineries welcome more than one million visitors to their tasting rooms each year, and Michigan's wine and grape industries contribute more than $800 million to the state's economy annually.

      Michigan's wine grape acreage doubled over the past decade from 1,300 acres to 2,650 acres, according to a report released last summer by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service.

      The USDA report is based on the 2011 Michigan Fruit Survey, which collected data from grape growers throughout the state.