Two Consecutive Harsh Winters Could Affect Local Wineries

It may be warmer now, but two consecutive harsh winters could affect the production of grapes in Northern Michigan.

“Two years without a crop would be very difficult,” said Mark Johnson, Winemaker at Chateau Chantal.

Two years of subzero temperatures could affect the production of the grapes at wineries like Chateau Chantal on Old Mission Peninsula.

“We’re not certain yet how this year is going to turn out. We’re going to need to wait until fruit set happens in late May early June,” said Marie-Chantal Dalese, President/CEO at Chateau Chantal.

Last year, Dalese says the harsh winter killed about 80-percent of their crop.

“The wines are a little bit more cold hardy, so we do have some hope that the crop will be a little better than it was last year,” said Dalese. 

Dalese says in 2013, they had a bumper crop, so that production carried them over to 2014.

“2015 is the second reduced crop year without that bumper crop– the previous year is going to hurt our supply,” said Dalese. 

If the crop is damaged this year, the winery may have to get grapes from other places.

“So far anything that has had our label on it has been from the Old Mission Peninsula, but if we don’t have more than 25% of crop two years in a row— we’re not going to be able to do that,” said Johnson. “If this happens, we’re going to have to source the fruit from somewhere else.”