Rosé turnover – DBusiness Magazine
The 2021 summer tourist season got off to a good start last winter at Mawby Vineyard and Winery in Suttons Bay on the Leelanau Peninsula. Mike Laing, who runs the 48-year-old sparkling wine cellar with his brother Peter, said weekend customers showed up to their tasting room in record numbers from February.
“People were eager to get out,” Laing says. “Four Saturdays in a row, 250 people visited the tasting room – the largest number we have ever had. More and more people are visiting this region, and I think the wine has a lot to do with it. The Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore is a major draw, Traverse City is a beach town and a major draw, but wine has to be among the top three reasons people visit this area.
Over the past two decades, the state’s wine industry has grown tremendously, growing from around 20 wineries in 2000 to over 140 today. Statewide, vineyards span 3,050 acres; Riesling is the No. 1 grape variety planted.
With the wine industry complementing the tourism sector, cross promotions like Michigan Wine Month each May go a long way in spreading economic activity. In Traverse City, this means a month-long campaign called “Traverse City Uncorked”.
“This is a fun piece about a month-long celebration of the fruits of our labor here in the State – (there are) wine tastings in the cellars, while some restaurants will be hosting events to raise awareness at the level of Michigan wineries deliver quality and excellence, and Traverse City is one example, ”said Trevor Tkach, President and CEO of Traverse City Tourism.
A recent Michigan Farm Bureau impact study showed that Michigan’s wine industry generates $ 5.4 billion annually, including $ 253 million in tourism spending for 1.7 million vineyard visitors. The state ranks in the top 10 in the United States for wine growing and is # 6 as a wine region, just behind Texas.
The state’s northernmost wine region straddles the 45th parallel, the same latitude as the French region of Bordeaux. The cooler climate is ideal for grape varieties such as Riesling, Pinot Grigio and Gewürztraminer.
Enjoying excellent weather last year – no frost last spring and a hot, sunny summer that lasted until fall – industry insiders say 2020 vintages were the best of recent years.
In the Traverse City area, 30 wineries on the Leelanau Peninsula and 10 wineries on the Old Mission Peninsula collaborate under the name Traverse Wine Coast. From Black Star Farms to Chateau Grand Traverse Winery to Chateau Chantal Winery and Inn, numerous tasting rooms are complemented by vineyard tours, stunning scenery, resort-style accommodations and fine dining.
In turn, the 21 wineries and vineyards on the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail stretch from New Buffalo to Holland – often referred to as the birthplace of the industry, with commercial wineries dating back to 1867. One of the best known is St. Julian Winery in Paw Paw, the state’s largest winery, which turns 100 this summer.
“I have high hopes for this summer,” said Tkach. “It has to do with the quality golf, quality wine and quality food that the region is known for. It hasn’t changed. Everything is still there, like before the pandemic, and people want to come back afterwards. “