Hybrids Replacing Vinifera in Michigan
Since inception, Midwest Wine Press has been covering the hybrids versus vinifera race. While we don’t have a horse in this contest, the potential for cold hardy wine grapes in our temperate climate best captures our imaginations.
Imagine vast vineyards planted with Foch and Vignoles stretching over the horizon in Ohio or Michigan. For Michigan, such a change would be a departure from the recent trend toward old world grapes. But two consecutive years of Lake Michigan freezing solid has reversed the trend, as reported in the Intoxreport (see below)
If anyplace in the Midwest can make cold hardy grapes fashionable, it’s the Traverse City area. This Northern Michigan jewel of a city has become a national tourist attraction built around gourmet food, fresh water and local wine. The human talent and physical infrastructure is in place in Traverse City to legitimize cold hardy wines.
Or the next few winters could be exceptionally mild and everyone around the Great Lakes will go back to European grapes. Either way, it’s a darn good story.