For nearly 50 years, Michigan State University has played a key role in growing Michigan’s grape and wine industry.
MSU’s viticulture and enology program was established in the 1970s by the late G. Stanley Howell, professor emeritus of horticulture. His leadership was vital as Michigan grew to become a wine destination, expanding from seven wineries to more than 150 today, with $5.4 billion in total economic impact.
Michigan is now the fourth-largest grape-producing state in the nation, with more than 13,000 acres of vineyards. Each year, nearly 3 million gallons of wine are produced in the state.
MSU researchers continue Howell’s legacy through their work in vineyards. They research how to improve grape productivity and quality in Michigan’s cool climate, as well as learn how to protect grapes from pests.
This research is conducted with MSU students, who also help shape the grape and wine industry. In the Grand Traverse region, where more than half of Michigan wine grapes are grown, a number of winemakers are MSU graduates.
This harmonious blend of expertise from MSU researchers and winemakers is critical for improving grape and wine quality, continuing growth of the industry and making a positive impact on Michigan’s economy.