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    Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council Minutes of January 22, 2009 Meeting

    MINUTES
    Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council
    Thursday, January 22, 2009
    1:00 p.m.
    Constitution Hall
    Lansing, Michigan
    Approved May 7, 2009

    Members Present:
    Donald Koivisto, Director, Michigan Department of Agriculture
    Doug Buhler, Michigan State University
    Julie Wendt, Michigan Liquor Control Commission
    Amanda Danielson, Trattoria Stella (via teleconference)
    Dan Matthies, Chateau Fontaine
    Charles Edson, Bel Lago Winery

    Members Absent:
    Heather Price, Sandhill Crane Vineyards
    Bob Jacobson, Leelanau Wine Cellars
    Dave Anthony, Hannahville Indian Community
    Steve Arbaugh, Bayside Beverage
    Melinda Remer, Travel Michigan

    Others Present:
    Linda Jones, Michigan Department of Agriculture
    Karel Bush, Michigan Department of Agriculture
    Robert Craig, Michigan Department of Agriculture
    Mike DiBernardo, Michigan Department of Agriculture
    William Harrison, Lawton Ridge Vineyards
    Mike Kovacic, Michigan State University
    Dr. Sasha Kravchenko, Michigan State University
    David Monoz, Michigan State University
    Representative Dan Scripps

    WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
    Chair Koivisto called the meeting to order at 1:10 p.m. and welcomed members of the Council.

    ADOPTION OF AGENDA

    THE CHAIR ASKED FOR ANY REVISIONS TO THE AGENDA. CHARLES EDSON MOVED THAT THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE AGENDA AS PRESENTED. DAN MATTHIES SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.

    MINUTES OF THE NOVEMBER 13, 2008 MEETING

    THE CHAIR ASKED FOR ANY REVISIONS TO THE MINUTES OF THE NOVEMBER 13, 2008 MEETING. DOUG BUHLER MOVED THAT THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE MINUTES AS REVISED. DAN MATTHIES SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.

    STAFF REPORTS - Linda Jones

    • Linda briefly reviewed the contents of the recent industry e-newsletter, and of a folder to be passed around the table for Council member review.
    • Plans for 2009 Annual Meeting are well underway. Council staff is evaluating new locations for the 2010 meeting.
    • Contract is in place with Sharon Kegerries and Lorri Hathaway to write a "History of Michigan Wines" that will be published electronically on the Council's website. William Harrison asked to comment and added that Michigan State University has published a book about the geography and geology of Michigan, which could be an additional resource for the authors.
    • Linda will attend the WineAmerica meeting in Washington, D.C., in March.
    • Winery Establishment Conference is February 17-19 in Benton Harbor.
    • Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) Funding - Chair Koivisto stated that MDA's intent is to grant these funds out to commodity groups. Doug Buhler clarified that the SCBG program should not be confused with the Specialty Crop Research Initiative. They are two different programs. Charles Edson asked what the SCBGs can be used for. Linda Jones responded that the grants can be used for anything that enhances the competitiveness of specialty crops. Robert Craig commented that the Council is not eligible to receive a grant because it is part of MDA. Linda will keep the industry informed as details unfold.

    COMPETITIVE GRANT RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUNDING - Amanda Danielson

    Four proposals were distributed to Council members in advance of the meeting. Amanda reported that a group of Council members met via conference call on January 16 to discuss the proposals. At the end of the conference call, the group recommended three of the four be approved, and directed staff to request additional budget detail from the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association. A summary of grant proposals was distributed (Attachment A) during the meeting. The committee felt the proposal submitted by Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association needed clarification on two points: amount of funding for which the group is eligible, and the source of matching funds. Supplemental information was provided by the LPVA, but the Council felt additional clarification is needed.

    MOTION: AMANDA DANIELSON MOVED THAT GRANTS BE AWARDED TO SOUTHEAST MICHIGAN PIONEER WINE TRAIL ASSOCIATION ($2,500), LAKE MICHIGAN SHORE WINE TRAIL ($5,000) , AND NORTHERN MICHIGAN WINE ASSOCIATION ($5,000). DOUG BUHLER SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.

    MOTION: AMANDA DANIELSON MOVED THAT A GRANT BE AWARDED TO LEELANAU PENINSULA VINTNERS ASSOCIATION, DEPENDENT UPON RECEIVING CLARIFICATION FOR FUNDING AMOUNT ($2,500) AND SOURCE OF MATCHING FUNDS. DAN MATTHIES SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.

    VITICULTURE AND ENOLOGY RESEARCH AND EDUCATION ADVISORY COMMITTEE (REAC) REPORT - Bill Harrison, Chair

    • The committee recommends approval of three additional research grant proposals totaling $50,234. Complete proposals were available for Council review.
    MOTION: DOUG BUHLER MOVED THAT THREE ADDITIONAL GRANTS TOTALING $50,234 BE AWARDED TO RESEARCHERS AT MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY FOR FISCAL 2009. DAN MATTHIES SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
    • Research reports for 2008 are due February 15; reminders have been sent to researchers.
    • Committee will be revising research priorities in anticipation of the Call for Proposals for FY2010 grants, to be sent June 2009. Input from Council and Committee members is due to Bill by the end of February.
    • The Committee will host a webinar in April where MSU researchers will give a brief presentation on each of their 2008 projects and ask for input regarding their future direction in viticulture research.
    • VESTA (Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance) will be exhibiting at the Annual Meeting. Linda will attend, along with MSU representatives, a VESTA meeting in Missouri in February, held in conjunction with the Midwest Grape and Wine Conference.

    Presentation by Dr. Sasha Kravchenko and David Monoz from Michigan State University

    • Dr. Sasha Kravchenko and technician David Monoz from the Department of Crop and Soil Science made a Powerpoint presentation to the group, which describes the work that has been done by them in identifying suitable vinifera vineyard sites in seven counties in Michigan. This is one of the research projects that the Council funded in 2008.
    • Dan Matthies indicated that he spent an hour on campus earlier that day, reviewing the spatial data in more detail and feels that it provides an accurate picture of land suitability for vinifera vineyards.
    • Chair Koivisto commented that this research is extremely valuable, because of the high cost of establishing a vineyard. There was brief discussion of benefits of this research to the industry.
    • Linda noted that the Research and Education Committee is working with Dr. Kravchenko and the Land Policy Institute at MSU to determine "next steps" for this work. She will make a presentation to the Benzie County Economic Development Summit on February 21, showing some of these results.

    NEW BUSINESS

    Great Lakes Leadership Academy - Mike Kovacic distributed information to the Council, presented a brief overview, and encouraged members of the industry to consider participating in this program.

    CONSUMER AND TRADE PROMOTION AND EDUCATION COMMITTEE REPORT - Karel Bush

    Karel reported that publishing of the 2009 Michigan Wine Country magazine is well underway. Charles Edson asked why we are using a new publisher. Karel responded that proposals were received from HOUR Custom Publishing (the previous publisher) and BoothMichigan. BoothMichigan's proposal offered several online and print promotional opportunities in addition to a competitive bid for printing and distribution of the magazine. BoothMichigan's promotion opportunities are more tourism-focused, where HOUR's are more fine food-focused; Council staff and the Promotion Committee felt it would be beneficial to explore some new options.

    ELIGIBILITY REVIEW OF APPLICATIONS FOR PRODUCERS OF MICHIGAN WINE

    Linda Jones stated that she received applications from four wineries to be added to the Council's list of producers of Michigan wine. Two of the applications were tabled at the previous meeting of the Council: Douglas Valley Winery, and Founders Winery. Two are new applications: Cherry Creek Old Schoolhouse Winery, and VanderMill Winery.

    Douglas Valley Winery is currently selling wine produced under another licensee but is attempting to acquire their own small winemaker license. Founders has received their license. Both wineries meet other eligibility requirements set forth by the Council.

    After brief discussion, it was decided that voting on Douglas Valley's application would be tabled pending Douglas Valley receiving their small winemaker license; if license is granted, a vote could take place by conference call, which may enable Douglas Valley to be listed in the 2009 Michigan Wine Country magazine.

    MOTION: CHARLES EDSON MOVED THAT THE COUNCIL APPROVE FOUNDERS WINERY AS A "PRODUCER OF MICHIGAN WINE" FOR PROMOTIONAL PURPOSES OF THE COUNCIL. DOUG BUHLER SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
    Cherry Creek Old Schoolhouse Winery meets all eligibility requirements set forth by the Council.

    MOTION: CHARLES EDSON MOVED THAT THE COUNCIL APPROVE CHERRY CREEK OLD SCHOOLHOUSE WINERY AS A "PRODUCER OF MICHIGAN WINE" FOR PROMOTIONAL PURPOSES OF THE COUNCIL. DOUG BUHLER SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
    VanderMill Winery is a hard cider producer that is expanding their product line to include wine. They use Michigan fruit and hold a small winemaker license. There was brief discussion about the possibility of inclusion of hard cider producers in the Council's materials. It was decided that the Council will encourage hard cider producers to use resources more closely aligned with their product line, but inclusion in the Council's materials is not in line with the mission of the Council as set forth by founding legislation.

    MOTION: CHARLES EDSON MOVED THAT THE REQUEST BY VANDERMILL WINERY TO BE APPROVED AS A "PRODUCER OF MICHIGAN WINE" FOR PROMOTIONAL PURPOSES OF THE COUNCIL BE DENIED, BECAUSE THE PERCENTAGE OF PRODUCT CURRENTLY LABELED AS "WINE" IS TOO LOW. DAN MATTHIES SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.

    WINEMICHIGAN REPORT

    No report.

    COUNCIL MEMBER REPORTS

    Dan Matthies - Dan met with Dr. Kravchenko and Mr. Monoz at Michigan State University prior to today's meeting - the mapping they're working on will be of great value to the industry. Chateau Fontaine broke ground on a tasting room expansion on November 17.

    Charles Edson - Over the last two weeks, he has been evaluating 2008 Leelanau Peninsula wines and is really pleased with the quality coming from the region. They were blessed with good weather that contributed to pretty, aromatic whites.

    Julie Wendt - There is a new law that prohibits retailers from shipping wine direct to consumers using a third party; however, they can deliver direct to consumers if their employees deliver the wine and confirm that the recipient is age 21 or older. Four small distiller licenses have been issued: Michigan Brewing Company, Entente Spirits, New Holland Brewing, and St. Julian. Direct Shipping permits have been issued to 622 applicants. There are 94 pending applications for a variety of alcohol licenses.

    Doug Buhler - He is pleased to hear the positive feedback regarding the mapping presentation. They are on the cusp of hiring a new Chair of the Horticulture Department at MSU.

    Amanda Danielson - They had a good January at the restaurant. She's done some barrel tasting of the 2008 wines and they're delicious. The restaurant will be working with the City Opera House to feature local food and wine. Their catering business is up - directly related to a focus on local foods.

    Chair Koivisto - There will be data available in February to show the value of agriculture to the Michigan economy. Input from the industry is vital to presenting accurate data and to help spread the good word.

    PUBLIC COMMENT

    No public comment.

    OTHER BUSINESS

    Next meeting is May 7 in Traverse City. Other meeting dates and locations for 2009 are: August 6 in East Lansing, and November 19 in Southwest Michigan.

    ADJOURNMENT

    MOTION: DOUG BUHLER MOVED THAT THE MEETING BE ADJOURNED. CHARLES EDSON SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.

    The meeting was adjourned at 4:15 p.m.

    The following document is on file in the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council office and can be obtained upon request:

    A. Competitive Grant Recommendations for Funding

     

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