Tony Ciccone: Michigan Wine Industry thriving in the ‘Tuscany of Michigan’

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Tony Ciccone, co-owner ofCiccone Vineyard and Winery, talks with Greening of the Great Lakes host,Kirk Heinze, about the challenges faced by the wine industry and its impact on Michigan’s economy.

Michigan apple growers may have benefited from the low temperatures during the winter of 2014, but grape growers and wine producers did not. The constant low temperatures and frost did significant damage to the grape crops in the state.

“We were only able to harvest about 25 to 30 percent of our tonnage this year,” Ciccone explains. “It was too cold too long.”

The 14 acre winery planted its first crop in 1996, but it generally takes about three years to produce a grape crop that can be harvested for wine making purposes, according to Ciccone.

“You could get something in two years, but we usually go with the third year. Sometimes, if you’re lucky and in a good area you can get some second year fruits.

The Ciccone Vineyard and Winery is the only winery in Michigan to grow the Dolcetto grape variety which hails from Italy and is known for its bold, dry texture and fruity undertones.

“Most of our grapes are from Europe originally,” he says. “Dolcetto is an excellent grape, but it’s sensitive.We got wiped out of Dolcetto this winter, but it makes an excellent, well balanced wine.”

Tony Ciccone, co-owner ofCiccone Vineyard and Winery, talks with Greening of the Great Lakes host,Kirk Heinze, about the challenges faced by the wine industry and its impact on Michigan’s economy.

Michigan apple growers may have benefited from the low temperatures during the winter of 2014, but grape growers and wine producers did not. The constant low temperatures and frost did significant damage to the grape crops in the state.

“We were only able to harvest about 25 to 30 percent of our tonnage this year,” Ciccone explains. “It was too cold too long.”

The 14 acre winery planted its first crop in 1996, but it generally takes about three years to produce a grape crop that can be harvested for wine making purposes, according to Ciccone.

“You could get something in two years, but we usually go with the third year. Sometimes, if you’re lucky and in a good area you can get some second year fruits.

The Ciccone Vineyard and Winery is the only winery in Michigan to grow the Dolcetto grape variety which hails from Italy and is known for its bold, dry texture and fruity undertones.

“Most of our grapes are from Europe originally,” he says. “Dolcetto is an excellent grape, but it’s sensitive.We got wiped out of Dolcetto this winter, but it makes an excellent, well balanced wine.”

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