The Napatization of Northern Michigan: Wineries in the Context of Regional Gentrification
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This paper examines the role of Northern Michigan's developing wine industry in the cultural and economic transformations of the greater Traverse City region. Since the area's original winery opened in the middle 1960's, over twenty more have followed, contributing to significant changes in the region's character. To research these characteristics, fieldwork for this thesis was independently gathered during summer 2007, in conjunction with employment in the tasting room of one of the area's wineries. Information was collected through observations, conversations, interviews, Internet research and local publications (including newspapers, magazine articles and books). The data suggest that issues concerning tourism, wine and winery presentation, successes and challenges of the local industry, and regional loyalty are among some of the more prominent issues affecting the characteristics of the area. In addition to this qualitative and quantitative data, field-based research was complemented by library research. Exploring literature on concepts of consumption, identity, and class aided in the analyzing of themes found in the data. Tying together this theoretical framework with the results of the fieldwork, characteristics of the region are presented, followed by a discussion of the region's trend towards high status culture and the implications of this regional gentrification.