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Michigan Wine Shortage Expected After Severe Weather Does Damage

LANSING (WWJ) - A walloping of severe weather has caused Michigan's 2015 wine crop to shrivel.

Linda Jones with the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council says parts of the state were hit with a weather trifecta of a cold winter: frost, wind and hail — devastating over half the crop in some parts of the state.

Jones said wild weather ruined up to 90 percent of the grape yield at certain vineyards.

"In one particular part of the state — the northwest lower peninsula  — they had a spring frost after bud break, and they did receive some damage to the crop that was already reduced. They took another hit in the spring," Jones said.

"Late summer there was a very severe storm that created a lot of wind damage to the vines," she said.

Jones told WWJ Newsradio 950 that hardy vineyards can handle a frozen night here or there, but: "When we have multiple days when it's that cold, they start to suffer," she said. "They lose their productivity for that particular growing season and then the vintners have to coach them back into good health for subsequent years."

Jones said the good news is that they're currently still able to stock shelves with wine from 2013, which was a banner year for Michigan vineyards.

Some wineries might switch to hard cider production to offset this year's poor grape yield.

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