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Heat Helps West Michigan Wine

6:52 PM, Oct 8, 2007   |    comments
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West Michigan is known for the apples grown on the ridge but another industry is growing and thriving, and even getting an additional boost from this summer-like weather. The record heat the last few days has one grower anticipating a great crop. "We're going to take advantage of what we've got going,” says Doug Welsch - Owner, Fenn Valley Vineyards. It's not just the heat now. Doug Welsch's grapes got off to an early start in the Spring. "It got very warm in March and the plants actually began to grow and when that happens it's sort of like winding up a clock and so many ticks later were going to harvest," says Doug. "The Summer continued to be warm and dry which is exactly what grapes like so it kept everything on track so as Fall came on we began harvesting three weeks ahead of normal." With all the heat, the white grapes are under more stress and are getting picked now, but the red grapes love the heat and will hang on the vine for a couple more weeks to enhance the flavor. Doug explains, “What we intend to do is allow the red grapes to hang out there and enjoy the extra days of ripening that the early spring gave us this year." It was a different story last year. “It was just the opposite it was wet and cool,” says Doug. "The white wine did great and the red wines were lacking because it wasn't a good year for red grapes so we're making up for it this year." The grapes picked now will be pressed, packed and ready for purchase this Winter.

Linda Paige

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