2017-09-21 / Life in Leelanau

Research station to focus on local varieties in 2018

“A good amount” of the grape varietals planted at the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center in 2008 will be replaced sometime this spring.

Duke Elsner, a small fruit and consumer horticulture educator for Michigan State University Extension, said varieties coming to a two-acre area at the research station are some of the more commonly grown varieties in the area. Among them will be riesling, pinot blanc, chardonnay, pinot gris, cabernet franc, and pinot noir.

“That’s what’s projected,” Elsner said of the list. “It depends a bit on what we get from the nursery. Those will be the biggies we use most.”

Areas of emphasis for the new trials will include ways to survive winter.

“We’re done with the variety trials we needed to know about,” Elsner said. “Growers had other issues they’d like to work on, and that’s what we’re addressing.”

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