Midwest Adding Grapes to Its Grain

Profit-hungry farmers, vote-hungry politicians nurture unlikely wine industry
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2008 5:40 PM CDT
Chateau Chantal has 65 acres producing wine grapes on Michigan's Old Mission Peninsula.   (KRT Photos)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – As farmers seek higher profits and politicians angle for healthier rural economies, vineyards are cropping up across the Midwest, the Economist reports. Michigan and Ohio now have over 100 wineries each, with vintage monikers handily swiped from French-named Midwestern locales like “Marquette” and “Frontenac”—or, less convincingly, “La Crescent.”

The cold weather can be a challenge, but the University of Minnesota is breeding grapes that can live even at -38°F. “Many people, however, want to show that a grape can grow as well in the Midwest as in Montepulciano,” the Economist writes. In some states, taxpayers even help foot the bill through grants and marketing councils. State-subsidized wine? How French.