With coronavirus closures Michigan’s only degree earning wine and viticulture program is facing the challenges of colleges and wineries.
Wineries across Michigan are closed as part of the restaurant and bar closure instituted by the Governor to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Lake Michigan College has a Wine and Viticulture program where students also work in a college owned vineyard, winery and tasting room.
Director Michael Moyer said the tasting room is closed, classes involving tasting have been cancelled and other courses have to move online.
“We aren’t able to hold face to face classes and so any work that we would do together in the winery or in the vineyard we’re gonna have to postpone.”
Some of that work can’t be postponed. Moyer says pruning is coming up. Students usually would learn in the vineyard. Since they can’t be there he says it’ll likely be a video lecture of some kind.
Moyer said the closure will impact the state’s small wineries most.
“The direct-to-consumer sales in the tasting room constitute pretty much most of their revenue and so it’s going to be challenging for a lot of wineries this summer to try to get through and preserve some cash so they can have money buy grapes and raw materials for next year.”
Moyer said LMC and wineries understand that the measures are for general health and safety. He said they hope outbreaks can be controlled and bans can be lifted before the summer busy season of tourism and tasting begins