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July 24, 2020

Supporting Michigan’s wine industry in challenging climatic conditions

According to the Michigan Craft Beverage Council, the wine industry generates more than 27,000 jobs and $2 billion of annual economic activity throughout the state. Wine grapes occupy more than 3,000 acres of Michigan farmland, with nearly 150 commercial wineries producing 3 million gallons each year.

Despite the industry’s blossoming popularity, several factors can limit the success of wine grapes in Michigan’s climate. Paolo Sabbatini, an associate professor in the MSU Department of Horticulture, studies ways to mitigate damage.

Cool temperatures necessitate a shorter growing season, and wet weather creates ideal conditions for diseases such as powdery mildew and sour rot to infiltrate vineyards. During the winter months, freezing temperatures may severely damage vines and spring frost events can be devastating.

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By: Eileen Gianiodis