Michigan grape growers ‘having a field day’ in Berrien County

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 4:49 PM EDT
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BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (WNDU) - Dozens of grape growers are coming together Wednesday for the annual Viticulture Field Day at Michigan State’s extension located on the outskirts of Benton Harbor.

“It might just be something as simple as learning a new variety of grape or it might be something like a new technology like the sprayers we were looking at today,” explained extension educator Mike Reinke.

Longtime growers like C.J. Hunt, of Lawton, Mich., said the daylong experience featuring several speakers is always helpful.

“Just going out to the field trials to see what new innovations have came around, or different things and techniques that are going on that MSU extension has been doing is really helpful and just getting, just gaining more knowledge year after year,” said Hunt.

Even winemakers remark how important the field day is.

“I may not be a grower personally, but we do have 40 acres of grapes on the farm that I work for [in Berrien Springs]. And we, I’m able to take a lot of the knowledge that comes from knowing what’s happening in the field and integrate it into my winemaking,” said Amy Birk, president of the Michigan Grape Society.

The presenters on Wednesday updated attendees on several topics including re-planting techniques, automated disease detection, and using unmanned drones for spraying.

Viticulture Field Day has been happening for over 30 years now.

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