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Environment & Climate Change

Why are so many of Michigan’s vineyards located on the coast?

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Vineyards in coastal areas like the Leelanau Peninsula have prime grape growing real estate.

Driving along the Michigan shoreline often means passing vineyard after vineyard.

That made listener Blake Trombley wonder, so he submitted this question to our MI Curious project:

"Why are so many of Michigan's vineyards located on the coast?"

To answer that question, Stateside brought in expert Brad Baughman, a horticulture educator at Michigan State University Extension and an adjunct professor at Southwestern Michigan College.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, Baughman said there's actually a warming effect from the water that's helpful to Michigan's grape-growing environment — even when the shoreline is covered in ice.

"In the wintertime, the water is warmer than the land, which means that as the wind is coming out of the west over Lake Michigan, it's actually warmer ... versus if it was coming off the land," he said.

That warming effect is beneficial, he said, because grapes are "a little wimpy" in the cold.

Listen above for more.

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