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Michigan wineries see boost in business despite pandemic

Wineries credit large outdoor spaces for the rise in visitors

LEELANAU COUNTY, Mich – While many businesses took a hit this summer due to the ongoing pandemic. that wasn’t the case for several Northern Michigan wineries.

Some claim they had their best summer yet.

“We’ve had the best June, July and August in the tasting room that we’ve ever had here," said Mike Laing, Director of MAWBYness in Suttons Bay.

Laing credits the record numbers to the space they have.

“I think people were excited to get out, get outside and see vineyards and wide-open spaces and up north -- we have that," Laing said. “The whole property is licensed for wine consumption and that’s 30 acres. Most people stick to this envelope near the building that’s three to four, but folks can wander if they choose.”

“Our summer season has been fantastic," said Patrick Brys, President and CEO of Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery in Traverse City. “We have definitely seen an increase financially, as well as with our number of visitors compared to other years -- one of the benefits of being in a winery business is we do have a lot of space.”

Brys said the winery sits on 111 acres and recently added 200 seats outside.

“I think some of the success for this season is that people are maybe not visiting as many wineries, maybe they’re only choosing to go to one for the day or maybe two because they don’t want to take risks in visiting too many establishments," Brys said. "Maybe they’re lingering longer, so we’re seeing customers who are here are spending more, staying longer.”

MORE: Reopening Michigan


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