Aug 7, 2015
Storm damage: Northern Michigan winemakers may have no crop

For the past few days, we’ve been reporting on northern Michigan crop damage after a storm swept through the region on Aug. 2.

As of now, winemakers are preparing for the possibility that they will have no crop at all.

Here’s more from MLive:

A Sunday, Aug. 2, storm lashed the vineyard’s 95 acres of grapes with hail, further damaging a crop already withered from two harsh winters.

“We’ve had hail before, but it’s been spotty. This is just so widespread. Nobody dodged the bullet,”said Mark Johnson, vintner at Chateau Chantal.

Chateau Chantal is among many vineyards in Northwest Michigan, particularly in Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties, to have crop damage from the Sunday storm that brought strong winds and hail.

Most already were expecting diminished yields because of damage caused by last winter’s frigid temperatures and a hard freeze May 22.

The hail made everything worse.

“We kind of felt that after the winter, we might have 50 percent of a crop,”Johnson said. “Then, we had the hard freeze that put us down to maybe 25 percent.”

Now, he said, the company is operating on the assumption there might be no crop.

Because of the way the hail came down in the strong wind, some of the grapes are all right. But there might not be enough to justify a harvest, Johnson said.

According to MLive, the business has crop insurance, but “it’s not expected to cover the anticipated $400,000-$500,000 cost of buying grapes from another producer.”

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