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Michigan wine industry is crushing it with more than $5 billion in economic impact

Red wine photo
Wikimedia Commons
Quinn Dombrowski

WGVU's Food, Wine & All That Jazz takes place Friday, October 27th @ 7:30 inside the Grand Rapids Public Museum where you can enjoy samples from over 400 of the finest domestic wines and beers. A number of the wines are Michigan selections.

A new economic impact study reveals Michigan’s wine industry contributes more than $5 billion in economic impact.

WGVU spoke with the head of the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry. “The last time we did a full-on economic impact study was in 2005.”

Karel Bush who’s the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council executive director says that back then the state wine industry was a $300 million industry.

“We’ve kind of been using really old numbers for a long time even as the industry has grown dramatically.” Fast forward 12 years and it delivers a dramatic $5.4 billion worth of impact creating 28,000 jobs that the council says “pays $773 million in direct wages.”

We asked what kind of expansion has been seen over the last 12 years when it comes to the number of wineries and expansion?

“In the last 10 years more than 80 new wineries open in the state. This study includes the cideries in Michigan, too. Even though there are fewer, it also is a growing industry, but they’re also wine, and so they’re included in these figures. So there’s been an increase in hard cider production. There’s been a great increase in the number of wineries. Those are new wineries. The existing wineries also are investing in their businesses and putting more capital, putting more money, back into purchasing additional land, clearing off more land, putting more vines in. They’re expanding their production areas, buying new equipment, adding larger tasting rooms, outside spaces, just trying to respond to the needs of the travelers that are visiting their tasting rooms.”

How do we stack up against other wine producing states?

“Depends on which month you take a look? We get our data from TTB, from the Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau. They collect information from all of the wineries across the country. So using that data we are about sixth or seventh in the country in wine production.”

The survey was conducted by John Dunham & Associates.

Patrick Center, WGVU News.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.