Harbor Hill Fruit Farms receives Rural Development Grant

Grapes at Good Harbor VineyardsUpNorth Live reports that Harbor Hills Fruit Farms, the parent company to Good Harbor Vineyards and Aurora Cellars, has received a Rural Development Fund grant worth $100,000. Co-owner Sam Simpson said:

“We’ve been going through a really large growth phase in the last 5-7 years. We’re actually putting in 40 more acres of grapes this year.”

Harbor Hills Vineyards in Leelanau County will add a new filtration system for their wines, and Simpson says it’s a big improvement to their current operation. “You would have to handle a wine four different times. And every time you’re handling a wine you have oxygen pickup, have to clean tanks… With this new piece of equipment we only have to touch the wine one time before it goes into the bottle. And so the fewer times you handle that wine the higher quality it’s likely to be. So we think this has potential to be a very large continual step in the right direction for quality. And it’s a huge labor savings as well.”

Simpson says it may ultimately lead to new hires because of faster production. “For us, this grant specifically is going to allow us to pull forward a project that might have been 2-3 years away. Which will give us more time with that equipment to get used to it and integrate it. We’re definitely going to continue to hire. But what those people will be able to handle is exponentially more per person than if we wouldn’t have this technology.”

More at UpNorth Live and congratulations to Harbor Hill Fruit Farms for making farming (and winemaking) better in Leelanau! Visit them at harborhillmi.com.