Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council Minutes of August 5, 2010 Meeting
Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center
East Lansing, Michigan
Approved November 30, 2010
Chair Don Koivisto, Michigan Department of Agriculture
Dave Anthony, Grape Grower
Doug Buhler, Michigan State University
Marie-Chantal Dalese, Chateau Chantal Winery
Tim Harding, Harding's Market
Rick Lopus, Great Lakes Wine & Spirits
Sharon Martin, Michigan Liquor Control Commission
Dan Matthies, Chateau Fontaine
Heather Price, Sandhill Crane Vineyards
Melinda Remer, Travel Michigan
Karel Bush, Michigan Department of Agriculture
Sherri Goodreau, Michigan Department of Agriculture
Linda Jones, Michigan Department of Agriculture
Bill Harrison, Lawton Ridge Vineyards
Chris Cook, Superintendent, Michigan Wine & Spirits Competition
Paolo Sabbatini, Michigan State University
Dr. Riccardo Gucci, Professor University of Pisa (Italy)
Tom Smith, VESTA, MSU
Nathan Westphal, VESTA
Michelle Norgren, VESTA, Missouri
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
Chair Koivisto called the meeting to order at 1:35 p.m., and welcomed members of the Council and public. The new members of the Council were welcomed, and the Chair had the group introduce themselves.
ADOPTION OF AGENDA
THE CHAIR ASKED FOR ANY REVISIONS TO THE AGENDA. DAN MATTHIES MOVED THAT THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE AGENDA AS PRESENTED. DAVE ANTHONY SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
MINUTES OF THE MAY 13, 2010 MEETING
THE CHAIR ASKED FOR ANY REVISIONS TO THE MINUTES OF THE MAY 13, 2010 MEETING. HEATHER PRICE MOVED THAT THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE MINUTES. DAN MATTHIES SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
- The Chair gave an update on the election news, noting that there is the possibility of a continuation budget for the State of Michigan until after the election of a new Governor.
- The state received 1.4 million dollars from the Specialty Crop Block Grant-Farm Bill for 2010. The money is granted out through the Department of Agriculture for use by producer groups to enhance the competiveness of specialty crops. A grant was submitted by National Grape and was approved on the state level for a renewal grant (received grant money in 2009).
- Linda Jones reported on and presented signage from the Riesling Rendezvous in Washington last month. The Council used an allocations from the Promotion Budget to obtain a match from Specialty Crop Block Grant funds for Culinary Tourism to cover a $5000 lunch sponsorship during the event. Michigan was one of four sponsors at the international event. Linda Jones attended and assisted in distributing promotional materials at several tasting events. The printed promotional materials was paid for by participating wineries. Five wineries were present at the event: Black Star Farms, Left Foot Charley, Bowers Harbor Vineyards, Chateau Grand Traverse, and Two Lads. Bel Lago, Chateau Chantal and Peninsula Cellars had wine presented at the event. Heather Price voiced her disappointment over the fact that the signage materials read "Northern Michigan."
- The Council decided at the last meeting to forego a Michigan Grape & Wine Conference for 2011. Linda Jones stated the Council will hold a conference at the Amway Grand Plaza for 2012.
- Linda has been in contact with MDOT (Michigan Department of Transportation) about the TOD signs the wineries use for tourist directions. MDOT has reviewed and revised the minimum number of hours a winery must be open to the public to be eligible for a TODS sign. The signage contractor, Michigan Logos will be monitoring businesses' adherence to these hours in the future. The signs are important to the wineries to help consumers get to their locations.
- Lorri Hathaway and Sharon Kegerreis, authors of From the Vine, will be working three additional chapters for a continuation of the history of the Michigan wine industry project.
VITICULTURE AND ENOLOGY RESEARCH AND EDUCATION ADVISORY COMMITTEE (REAC) REPORT
- Bill Harrison reported that the request for research proposals for 2011 has gone out. The budget is between $100,000 and $140,000 per year. Proposal submissions are due next week.
- Research reports for the previous years are on the michiganwines.com website, including the newly completed 2009 reports.
- Members of the research committee are; Lee Lutes, Dave Miller, Bill Harrison, Charlie Edson and Dan Nitz, who is replacing Joe Herman.
- The next meeting of the research committee will be September 9, 2010 in Paw Paw. The committee will bring their recommendations for grants to the November Council meeting.
- USDA conducts a rotational fruit survey for determining crop acreage. The last survey was completed in 2006 with the next one not be scheduled until the fall of 2011.
- In 2009, the Council funded a mapping survey of existing vineyards conducted by MSU's Land Policy Institute for seven counties in the southwest and northwest parts of Michigan. This survey complements the previously completed research by Dr. Sasha Kravchenko to determine where the most suitable areas are for growing grapes in the state. The Land Policy Institute converted files from both projects to a format that can be displayed in Google Earth. Copies of the files on CD will be distributed to REAC members in September.
- Tom Zabadal held a Winery Establishment Conference in 2009, where capacity was sold out at 140 participants, and a Vineyard Establishment Conference was held in 2008. A future conference is in the planning stages.
WINE & SPIRITS COMPETITION
- Chris Cook, the superintendent of the competition, presented the Council with a report on the competition that took place on Tuesday, August 3, 2010. Chris stated that the 2010 competition was a benchmark year, not only in the increasing quality of the wines that are being produced in Michigan, but also in the fact that ten out-of-state judges participated in the judging. The judges are "knocked out" by Michigan wines.
- Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio wines were amazing this year.
- The organization of the Michigan Wine & Spirits competition is at a national level.
- The competition had 399 wines entered this year. The competition staff needs to look at the possibility of next year's entries being over 400, which will be hard to judge in one day. A solution could be to add another panel of judges.
CONSUMER AND TRADE PROMOTION AND EDUCATION COMMITTEE
- Heather Price distributed her report (Attachment A) for the promotion committee. She also welcomed new members to join, of which Rick Lopus and Marie Chantal Dalese expressed interest.
- Karel Bush also commented on the Council sending wines to wine writer Tom Stevenson of England. Tom is updating his Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia and the Council agreed to send Michigan wines for him to evaluate and write about.
ELIGIBILITY REVIEW OF NEW WINERIES: Old Shore Vineyards and Sleeping Bear Winery
Linda Jones stated that she has received two applications from wineries to be added to the Council's list for producers of Michigan wine. Linda confirmed that the wineries meet the eligibility requirements set forth by the Council and recommended to the Council that the wineries be approved.
MOTION: DAVE ANTHONY MOVED THAT THE COUNCIL ACCEPT THE RECOMMENDATION AND THAT THE COUNCIL APPROVES OLD SHORE VINEYARDS AND SLEEPING BEAR WINERY AS "PRODUCERS OF MICHIGAN WINE" FOR PROMOTIONAL PURPOSES OF THE COUNCIL. RICK LOPUS SECONDED. THE COUNCIL VOTE WAS AS FOLLOWS: TIM HARDING, AYE; DAN MATTHIES, NAY; DAVE ANTHONY, AYE; HEATHER PRICE, AYE; RICK LOPUS, AYE; DOUG BUHLER, AYE; MARIE CHANTAL-DALESE, AYE; MELINDA REMER, AYE; SHARON MARTIN, NON VOTING; CHAIR KOIVISTO, AYE
Linda Jones noted to the Council that two wineries in the Upper Peninsula feel it is unfair of the Council to disqualify them as "producers of Michigan wine" because they use Wisconsin grapes. Dave Anthony stated that vineyards in the U.P. are growing fruit for Michigan. Further discussion on this topic will occur at Council meetings over the next year, particularly during Strategic Planning activities.
VESTA (Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance)
Tom Smith from VESTA MSU campus and Michelle Norgren of VESTA Missouri gave reports (Attachments B, C, D) to the Council. VESTA is a certificate program requiring 48-55 credits and an internship.
VESTA is funded by the National Science Foundation. The program is in its 4th year. There are currently 11 states from the Midwest participating in the program with a total of 412 active students.
Linda Jones reported on the following items:
- Cold Climate Grapes-Linda reported on a multi-state research proposal to support new cold-tolerant grape varieties. This is a five-year, multi-state grant proposal to the Specialty Crops Research Initiative. The needs looking to be met by funding of this proposal would be: viticulture, enology, marketing/economics and extension. There were two planning workshops, the first being held November 12-13, 2009 in Burlington, VT and the second, February 11-12, 2010 in Bloomington, MN.
- The Midwest Grape and Wine Conference will be held in February, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council has been asked to be a sponsor and attend the conference. Linda will bring this to the attention of the research committee at the September meeting.
- The Northeast Variety Trials (NE-10-20) meeting (Attachment E) will be held November 10-11, 2010 in Traverse City, MI. Dr Paolo Sabbatini addressed the Council about help in sponsoring the meeting and gaining interest from the industry regarding a post-meeting industry workshop. Karel Bush offered to help publicize the conference. Doug Buhler also stated that MSU could use their media relations contacts to help publicize.
- Michigan may be the site for the American Society of Enology and Viticulture 2011 Conference to be held in July.
- Michigan Liquor Control Commission has 2009 year end reports online for review.
- The Food Law is under review. Wineries are low risk so are not an area of high concern. If wineries have concerns about these laws, they should contact Linda to provide input to the review process.
- Federal Legislation on State's Authority over Liquor Distribution- The Care Act (HB5034) is complex and controversial.
- Discussions have commenced on the 2012 Farm Bill. Linda and Director Koivisto will stay "in the loop" and look for opportunities to encourage programs to support the wine industry.
- The Council is due for some Strategic Planning in 2011 and plans will be proposed at an upcoming Council meeting.
- Budget 2011-Linda distributed a proposed budget to the Council (Attachment F) for review and approval.
MOTION: HEATHER PRICE MOVED THAT THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE BUDGET FOR 2011. DAN MATTHIES SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
- Tim Harding - Tim commented that MDA is doing well with their store inspections. Tim also passed out invitations to the Harding's Cup Invitational Cab Franc Challenge being held Thursday, August 19, 2010
- Dave Anthony - Too much rain in the Upper Peninsula. He has had to watch for powdery mildew and downy mildew in his vineyard. The good news is that his young vines of LaCrescent grapes are over 1" in diameter.
- Rick Lopus - Great Lakes Wine & Spirits represents 12 Michigan wineries.
- Marie Chantal Dalese - Chateau Chantal has a new web store and website. The winery is under expansion with the cellar and tasting room. The tasting room has been extremely busy.
- Sharon Martin - Sharon commented that the wine industry seem to be a very exciting area of economic activity for the state and she is pleased to haved the opportunity to learn more about the industry.
- Dan Matthies - The tourism is amazing this season. Chateau Fontaine was at the Tawas Wine Festival last weekend which turned out to be bigger than last year. Great event. Dan has had to add additional staff to the tasting room this year. The vineyards are ahead of the growing season. Powdery mildew is running rampant, don't skip the fungicide.
French Road Cellars is at full capacity. They have had to purchase another half million dollars in equipment from Toronto.
There is a lot of interest in vineyard property and wineries in the north.
- Heather Price - Sandhill Crane Vineyards was also at the Tawas event, thanks to Dan Matthies. The winery is under expansion as well, with pictures up in facebook. They had their FDA inspection and were written up for lack of storage, which is why they are expanding. Expansion should be complete sometime next spring.
- Doug Buhler - The Farm Bill in 2012 will be important in addressing the university's budget issues. The Viticulture Field Day at the Southwest Michigan Research and Education Center was a success. Dave Miller from St. Julian Winery will be working at MSU with Kris Berglund on winemaking classes and research projects. Doug along with a group from MSU went to Giessenheim, Germany recently.
- Melinda Remer - Travel Michigan decided to go with national cable instead of regional and put $9 million into that campaign. The industry has given great feedback. There has been a lot of agriculture promotion with the "Fresh" campaign on the food network and on the golf channel. There is no money for fall advertising so the focus will be on PR and social media. Detroit bloggers want to celebrate Michigan wines so it is important to get the wineries to participate.
No public comment.
The next meeting of the Grape and Wine Council is scheduled for November 30, 2010 in Southwest Michigan.
MOTION: RICK LOPUS MOVED THAT THE MEETING BE ADJOURNED. DAN MATTHIES SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:40 p.m.
The following documents are on file in the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council office and can be obtained upon request:
A. Promotion Committee Report
B. VESTA-MSU IAT Partnership
C. MSU-VESTA Viticulture Certificate
D. VESTA Brochure
E. NE 1020 Meetings and Industry Workshop
F. Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council Budget