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Grape and Wine Industry Council members appointed

Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder today announced the appointment of seven new members to the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council.

The Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council is an 11-member panel housed in the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development and works to boost Michigan's wine industry by providing research and education, and promoting the state's wine grape and wine industry.


"I am confident these appointees will work hard to continue growing Michigan's wine status that is key to both a Pure Michigan agritourism experience and an important economic driver and contributor," said Snyder.


Walter Brys, of Traverse City, is the proprietor of Brys Estate Vineyard and Winery. The winery produces between 5,000 and 6,500 cases of premium wine each year. Brys will represent winemakers and replaces Marie Chantal Dalese.


Mark Esterman, of Grand Rapids, is the wine buyer and category manager for Meijer.  He earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Arizona State University and a law degree from Lewis and Clark College School of Law in Oregon. Esterman will represent operations of a retail food establishment that holds specially designated merchant license and sells Michigan wines. He replaces Timothy Harding.


Claes Fornell, of Ann Arbor, is the founder and chairman of CRI Group USA, LLC. He is also the Donald C. Cook Professor of Business Administration at the University of Michigan's business school. Fornell earned an MBA and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Lund in Sweden. He will represent grape growers and replaces M. David Anthony.


Martin Lagina, of Traverse City, is the president of Rock Management Group as well as the founder and CEO of Hertiage Sustainable Energy, LLC. He is also the owner of Villa Mari, a winery that grows grapes for other winemakers and makes and bottles its own wine. Lagina earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technological University and a law degree from the University of Michigan. He will represent wine makers and replaces Danny Matthies.


Jeffrey Lemon, of Berrien Springs, is the winemaker, treasurer, manager and partner of Lemon Creek Winery, Ltd., and Lemon Creek Fruit Farms. He has 37 years of experience growing wine grapes and 27 years of winemaking and wine industry participation. Lemon is also chairman of the Oronoko Charter Township Planning Committee. He will represent winemakers and replaces Heather Moffa Price.


Michael Marsh, of Ann Arbor, is the co-founder, owner and vice president of Flatout Inc., a bakery that sells breads in all 50 states, Canada and Mexico and produces approximately 500,000 breads each day. He was the co-founder of Y & S Sandwich Café with four locations and a flight kitchen for Northwest Airlines. Marsh earned a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University. He is appointed as an additional member as allowed by statute.  


Gregory O'Neil, of South Haven, is the president of O.K. Distributors, a company that markets and distributes more than 200 brands of beer and wine in southwest Michigan. He previously served as owner and CEO of Shirl/Joy Homes and as building superintendent for Crescendo Homes. He serves as a member of the board of directors and as chairman of the public affairs committee for both the National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association. He will represent beer and wine wholesalers and replaces Richard Lopus.


Appointees will serve two-year terms expiring Oct. 9, 2013, and are not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.