Save the Date!

2016 Michigan Grape & Wine Conference

February 24-26, 2016

Radisson Plaza Hotel, Kalamazoo

Make your hotel reservations today!
Online:; enter promotional code MGWI
By phone: 800-967-9033; reference the Michigan Grape and Wine Conference
Conference rate: $110 per night, plus tax

2013 Michigan Grape & Wine Conference logo

2015 Michigan Grape & Wine Conference

March 4-6, 2015
Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, East Lansing

More than 200 members of Michigan's wine industry came together for this annual conference, featuring educational sessions on grape and wine production, business management, sales and marketing.

2015 Preconference Presentations
Michigan's Grape-Growing Regions and Grower Relations (PDF)
A Timeline and Strategies for Investment in a Winery (PDF)
Targeting the Wine Consumer (PDF)
Getting Your Wines to Your Customers (PDF)
Licensing Requirements for Michigan Wineries (PDF)
Local Zoning Requirements for Prospective Wineries (PDF)
Winery Owner Panel: 12 Corners Vineyards (PDF)

2015 Conference Presentations
Keynote Presentation by G. Stanley Howell: Perspectives on the Michigan Wine Industry (PDF)
Hard Cider Production - A Technical Insider's View (PDF)
Fruit Wine Production - Production, Marketing and Promotion (PDF)
Fruit Wine Production - Advanced (PDF)
Viticulture and Fruit Quality in Cabernet Franc (PDF)
What to Expect When Your Food Inspector Calls (PDF)
From Bubbles to Appassimento: Grape and Wine Production in Ontario (PDF)
Sustainability Issues and Solutions for the Michigan Wine Industry: 5 Lakes Energy (PDF)
Sustainability Issues and Solutions for the Michigan Wine Industry: Lakeshore Environmental (PDF)
Newcomer's Industry Overview (PDF)
Newcomer's Industry Overview: Travel Michigan (PDF)
Education Programs for the Michigan Wine Industry: VESTA (PDF)
Education Programs for the Michigan Wine Industry: Lake Michigan College (PDF)
USDA Risk Management Tools (PDF)
NAP Decision-Making Tools (PDF)
Estate Planning and Farm Succession (PDF)
Key Messages from the 2014 Wine Tourism Conference (PDF)
Maximizing the Success of Your Wine Trail (PDF)
Media Relations In A New Era: How to make friends and influence writers (PDF)
Choosing Events to Propel Your Brand (PDF)
Convert Social Media Contacts to Wine Sales - contact Karel Bush ( to receive this presentation

Banquet Menu(PDF)

2015 Winery Development Pre-Conference Agenda (PDF)

2015 Michigan Grape & Wine Conference Agenda (PDF)

2015 Sponsor & Exhibitor Opportunities (PDF)
2015 Sponsors

Key Speakers

G. Stanley Howell

Dr. G. Stanley Howell
Professor emeritus of viticulture and enology, Michigan State University

After arriving at MSU in 1969, Dr. Howell focused on cool-climate viticulture with the goal of assessing which cultivars were compatible with Michigan's climate and evaluating the wines from those cultivars. Since he retired, he has been working with the VESTA (Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance) program to develop viticulture and enology courses.

David Steel

David Steel
Chief Viral Officer,

As the Chief Viral Officer of marketing agency Sneeze It, David Steel educates companies on how to Attract prospects, Build a lead pipeline, and Convert those leads into customers. Steel is a best-selling author and online marketing expert who has given speaking engagements in the United States and abroad on how to create successful -- and lucrative -- digital and social marketing campaigns.

Sought after for his marketing expertise, David Steel helps organizations understand their customers, the online sales process, and increase their customer conversions, which has established him as a trusted social media and marketing resource around the world.

David founded his first company at the age of 20. After successfully growing and selling it to a Fortune 150 firm, David founded The Steel Method. Shortly thereafter he created, a division of The Steel Method.

Dominic Rivard

Dominic Rivard
Owner and Winemaker, Muwin Estate Wines; Wine Production Consultant, WinePlanet Consulting

With over 20 years experience in the wine industry, Dominic Rivard has been passionately interested in wine since the age of 17 when he started making wine from local fruits and grapes. After becoming a qualified sommelier, he studied advanced winemaking and oenology and undertook and passed the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Diploma with distinctions. He is now studying towards the prestigious Master of Wine accreditation. He is a founding director of the Fruit Wines of Canada Association.

Dominic has been engaged in R&D projects in the industry and has perfected numerous dessert wine production techniques including ice fruit wine cryo-extraction. He specializes in cider, fruit wine, dessert wine and ice wine production and is known in wine industry circles as an authority in fruit wine making.

Presently, Dominic is based out of Nova Scotia, Canada and has taken up sustainable and organic fruit growing and continuing to assist many wineries around the world in their wine production on a consultant basis. He operates his own winery and wine trading company and loves to help other wineries develop award winning wines and ciders.

Jim Willwerth

Jim Willwerth
Senior Staff Scientist, Cool Climate Oenology & Viticulture Institute

Jim Willwerth is a Senior Staff Scientist in Viticulture at the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI). His responsibilities are to perform research and outreach services in the field of viticulture with emphasis on grapevine winter hardiness and the priorities of the Canadian grape and wine industry. He has his Doctorate from Brock University where his research focused on elucidation of Riesling terroirs that impact wine varietal character in vineyards throughout the Niagara Peninsula and validation of sub-appellations in terms of Riesling fruit composition and wine sensory profiles. His expertise includes vine physiology, cold hardiness, viticulture practices, soil/irrigation management, and water relations in grapevines.

Mike Wangbickler

Michael Wangbickler
Partner and CEO, Balzac Communications & Marketing

Michael Wangbickler has more than 15 years of experience teaching about wine and the wine business. He is a partner and CEO at Balzac Communications & Marketing, the industry leading wine public relations and marketing agency. He has worked with a diverse range of wine industry clients; from small, family owned wineries to large wine companies and regions.

Wangbickler has spoken on the topic of wine and wine marketing throughout the country and beyond. In addition to his activities at Balzac, he is President of the Board of Directors for the non-profit advocacy group, Drink Local Wine Inc. In addition, he is Lead Educator for Discover Wine & Spirits Academy in San Francisco and Napa, and an Adjunct Instructor for The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.

Kate Cardinali

Kate Cardinali
Owner, Innovative Media & Design

Kate is passionate about business endeavors -- Kick Ass ones, anyway! She is avid about propelling companies, creating success stories through engaging design and marketing solutions. As the owner of Innovative Media & Design, she is the leader of a strong team of professionals - writers, designers, programmers - that actually like each other, and absolutely love what they do!

Join Cardinali to learn ways to refresh what you are currently doing, and to help drive your business to the next level.

Thank You to our Generous Sponsors...

Dinner and Keynote Speaker Sponsor

Maxi Container logo


Reserve Sponsors

Brick Packaging logo


The Grapevine Magazine logo


Vintage Sponsors

5 Lakes Energy logo


Carlin Edwards Brown PLLC


GreenStone Farm Credit Services logo


Separators Inc


UPS logo

Conference Planning Committee:

Nancie Corum-Oxley, St. Julian Winery
Joanne Davidhizar, Michigan State University
Diane Drago, Diversified Management Services
Joe Herman, Karma Vista Vineyards
Brian Lillie, Chateau Chantal
Dr. Paolo Sabbatini, Michigan State University

Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council Staff:
Linda Jones, Karel Bush, Sherri Goodreau