With the growth of the wine industry in Michigan and surrounding states, quality wine grapes are in high demand. Evidence of this is the approximately 100 grape producers and winery operators who looked to increase their skills at the Michigan State University (MSU) Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center Viticulture Field Days held July 25 in Benton Harbor, Mich.
The online tool, MarketMarker,can help growers link with winery operators and vice-versa, in Michigan and 20 other states. MarketMaker is a web-based resource that provides links between producers, winery owners, processors, wholesalers, retailers, food service providers and end consumers within the food supply chain. The site is available to all and is free.
The website provides a number of features for those looking to sell products. Users can use the map and distance tool to search for users of particular crops within a geographical area. A search can be broadened further by using the drop down menu to access MarketMaker web sites of other states. For example, front and center on the MarketMaker website, one can enter ZIP code 49079 for Paw Paw, and search wineries making red wine within a 150-mile radius turning up 13 results.
Both sellers and buyers can easily create profiles with location, contact information and grape varieties to market for the current and future growing seasons. Many more wine grape grower profiles are needed on MarketMaker to meet current and future demand.