Winemakers toast to a red wine banner season

If you like northern Michigan red wines, we have some great news for you. Vineyards say the hot dry summer has led to a banner season for their red grapes.

Crews at Black Star Farms are busy on week two of harvesting on Tuesday.

Right now, they've already picked two early varieties of hybrid red grapes and today, they started their "Pinot Noir" grape harvest.

Wine Maker Lee Lutes says the dry conditions lead to smaller red berries on the vine, which translates to more concentrated, bolder flavors.

"We're certainly looking forward to a very good red wine year - the pinot noir varieties the cabernet franc varieties, the merlot types of wines. They benefit so much from a long, sunny, warm growing season such that we had this year. We're looking forward to making some really spectacular red wine," said Lutes.

Winemaker at 45 North Jay Briggs tells 7&4 that historically, the worst soils create the best grape harvests. He says, "Having the soils which are typically sandy coupled with the drought summer, its really showing itself on the fruit. The flavor profiles are on spot right now."

A common problem winemakers in northern Michigan run into is a high level of acid in the grape. But the lack of rain, and long stretches of heat, dramatically dropped the amount of acid, which means a smoother red wine.

"It's a pleasure to be making wine in a climate like this... in a beautiful state like this," Lutes said. "Its great to see so many people coming up and really looking into what were doing. I say this a lot, you don't have to go to California to visit wine country!"

To hear even more details on this year's harvest, click on the video above.