Michigan Grape & Wine Conference Sneak Peek
Midwest Wine Press spoke recently with Linda Jones, executive director of The Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, about the upcoming Michigan Grape and Wine Conference in East Lansing from February 13th to 15th.
One of the sessions this year is titled “Michigan vs. the World: Can Our Wine Compete?” That’s a bold title for a wine conference session. How did it come about?
Ron Edwards, the master sommelier from Charlevoix (in Northern Michigan), is going to lead a tasting session that will match well-respected wines from Michigan against the same cultivar from highly respected wine regions around the world.
Michigan’s Lake Michigan Shore wineries have had wine tastings led by experts for some time. Nancie Corum-Oxley, the winemaker at St. Julian Winery in Paw Paw, who is on the conference planning committee suggested we do something similar for the Michigan Conference. This will be a very popular session and it’s sure to fill up. If you want to attend, please make reservations now.
Is there any part of the Conference this year that is specifically for people thinking about starting a winery?
People ask us all the time about starting a winery. So the Pre Conference Workshop on Wednesday is a six-hour session for people who have recently started a winery or who are thinking about starting one. The more tools we can give people to help them get started, the more they will realize their dream of having a winery.
I would also like to add that the information at the Conference and the Pre Conference Workshop was created to be useful for everyone We welcome attendees from other states.
Bill Oliver from Oliver Winery in Bloomington, Indiana will be the keynote speaker on Thursday night. Bill is arguably the biggest star in Midwest Winemaking. How did you get him to speak at the Conference?
That was a suggestion from another member of our committee, Joe Herman at Karma Vista Winery. Joe has attended enology workshops at Oliver. It will be interesting to learn how the winery grew and developed over a period of decades to become the Midwest’s largest wine producer.
The Conference this year is on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing.