- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 6, 2016

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Central Michigan University students and faculty have installed a weather station at a Traverse City winery in an effort to better forecast cold weather on Old Mission Peninsula.

The weather station was installed in the vineyard at Bonobo Winery in October, the Traverse City Record-Eagle (https://bit.ly/1MTS6wK ) reported.

“I always thought about how impressive it was for vineyards in the area to produce the product they do in this weather,” said Marty Baxter, the meteorology professor leading the study.

The data collected is sent in real time to Weather Underground. Baxter’s students will analyze it to make predictions about forecast patterns on the peninsula.

Data will be most useful to the winery in the winter and spring, when grapes are most susceptible to damage. Baxter said wineries want to know how long to keep grapes out in the winter, and when the last frost or freeze will be in the spring.

“The biggest gain that we can get out of this will be when the CMU team goes through the data and starts to figure out how to forecast freeze events,” said Josh Rhem, the winery’s vineyard manager. “Having that information will help us with the next step of implementing a strategy to dodge the bullet.”

Bonobo Winery is owned by Central Michigan alumni Todd and Carter Oosterhouse. Baxter said he hopes to install a weather station at another winery soon.

“We hope that we’ll have a better understanding of the microclimate there between the peninsula and surrounding bay,” he said. “There has not been a lot of research on that growing climate because the wine industry in Michigan is still new. This is really just a test.”

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Information from: Traverse City Record-Eagle, https://www.record-eagle.com

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