Wine Industry Delivers $5.4B Economic Impact to Michigan

Matthew Moersch has known it for a long time. So have people like Dr. Dave Miller, Lauren Kniebes, Rocky Rick, Wally Maurer, Joe & Sue Herman, and dozens of their colleagues. Thanks to the foresight of industry pioneers like Rick and Chris Moersch, Dave Upton, Paul Landeck, Len Olson, David Braganini, the Lemon family and others and the ongoing dedication to quality wine making along the Michigan Wine Trail, the economic impact of the wine industry on the state’s economy is skyrocketing.

As the fall harvest season wraps up and Southwest Michigan wineries build their seasonal wine portfolios across the state and region, the Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council has published the results of an economic impact study confirming what those members and others in the industry have long suspected – the growing industry is a substantial contributor to the state’s economy.

A statewide impact study and survey conducted by John Dunham & Associates revealed that Michigan’s wine industry is responsible for more than $5.4 billion in economic impact, including more than $426 million paid in state and local taxes. The Michigan wine industry directly creates nearly 28,000 jobs and pays $773 million in direct wages.

Karel Bush is Executive Director of the Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council. She tells us, “Michigan’s wine industry has experienced remarkable growth over the past decade.” She says, “In 2007, there were 49 wineries in the state. Since then, we have seen a 169-percent increase, with 83 new producers of Michigan wine having opened for business in the past 10 years.” Further growth is expected, as 82-percent of survey respondents indicate they plan to increase production in 2018.

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There are 132 wineries that are currently recognized by the Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council as producers of Michigan wine – meaning they use primarily Michigan fruit in their total production. These qualifying wineries and producers of hard cider make up the majority of businesses operating with a small winemaker license in the state.

Wine grape acreage has also increased, with 3,050 acres currently devoted to wine grapes statewide.

Most of Michigan’s wine grapes are grown within 25 miles of Lake Michigan, though vineyards are located in every region of the state, including a handful of wineries operating in the Upper Peninsula.

Significant growth has also made an impact on regional tourism. Ninety four percent of wineries receive tourists at their businesses, totaling more than 1.6 million visits each year and $252 million in tourism spending.

Bush points out that, “Wine tourism affects many other nearby businesses, including restaurants, retailers, transportation services and other attractions.” She adds, “The industry also creates jobs and benefits other local sectors, including construction, manufacturing and business-related services.”

The full economic impact report, executive summary documents and supporting infographics can be downloaded at

Here’s a direct link to the full report: