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UpNorthLife: Wine industry in northern Michigan continues to grow

May is Michigan wine month (Cortney Brown/WPBN){p}{/p}
May is Michigan wine month (Cortney Brown/WPBN)

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May is Michigan Wine Month and in northern Michigan, we have plenty of wineries.

Traverse City Tourism said not only are people heading to the wineries in our area every year, but they are also staying in town longer to enjoy all of the great things northern Michigan offers.

TC Tourism said the region has more than 40 wineries scattered on the Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsula, which together produce about 60% of Michigan wines.

Traverse City Tourism also reports steady growth in wineries and production every year.

Over the years, the wine industry has noticed some changes in the way of consumers.

“The consumers are very well aware and very savvy," Eddie O’Keefe, owner of Chateau Grand Traverse. "They know their products well and know what they’re looking for and are educated with your phone and with everything you have there you have so much resources on hand.”

Another change, the reason why people head to the wineries.

“Folks used to simply come taste wine, stock up for their shelves at home and now we’re seeing a little bit more like an entertainment venue where you can come and enjoy these views, taste different wines, have a whole day out surrounding wine," said Marie-Chantal Dalese, CEO of Chateau Chantal.

During the coronavirus pandemic, some wineries in our area saw an increase in shipping.

“Shipping has always been a big part of our business, but with people unable to travel and actually visit the tasting rooms for a while directly, last year we certainly shipped a lot more wine than we would have." said Manager Lee Lutes at Black Star Farms.

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All three wineries agree the industry will continue to grow.

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