2018 Michigan Grape & Wine Conference Sessions (copy) : Michigan Wines
Explore, Experience, Enjoy

2018 Michigan Grape & Wine Conference Agenda

February 28-March 2, 2018

Radisson Plaza Hotel, Kalamazoo

Online registration has ended. Walk-in registration is available at the door. Please review session descriptions below.

2018 Conference Registration Fees

Michigan Certified Alcohol Service Training (Mi-CAST) Fee by January 31 Fee after January 31

All Mi-CAST sessions are full. Check at registration for availability
Mi-CAST Course (Wed-Thur): Includes three Mi-CAST modules, certificate of completion, Wed lunch and Reception
Mi-CAST Modules 1 & 2 (Wed): Customer Service Training & TAM, includes Wed lunch and Reception
Mi-CAST Module 1 (Wed): Customer Service Training
Mi-CAST Module 2 (Wed): TAM Training



Two Day Combination ($55 savings) Fee by January 31 Fee after January 31

All Mi-CAST sessions are full. Check at registration for availability
Three Mi-CAST modules, certification of completion, Wed lunch and Reception; all Thursday sessions and meals, including Celebration



Wednesday A La Carte Sessions Fee by January 31 Fee after January 31

Winemakers' Tasting (includes Reception)
Welcome Reception (if not included with your session)



Thursday Sessions Fee by January 31 Fee after January 31

All Thursday sessions and meals except Wine Fluency (includes Celebration)
Wine Fluency (Mi-CAST Module 3) *This session is FULL. Check at Registration for possible ticket*
Closing Celebration (if not included with your session)



Friday Tour Fee by January 31 Fee after January 31

Bus Tour of Southwest MI Wineries (includes continental breakfast)




Printable PDF of Conference Agenda At-a-Glance

Wednesday, February 28 & Thursday, March 1

Time Session Description

Wednesday, Feb 28 - Thursday, March 1

All Mi-CAST sessions are full. Check at registration for availability.

Michigan Certified Alcohol Service Training (Mi-CAST)
Sponsored by: Michigan Wine Collaborative
Are you a brand new winery with a tasting room? Or … did your tasting room strike gold with a hire but have no time to develop them into the employee that you need to start on day one? Or … are you a manager or business owner interested in teaching your team basics in making the sale in your tasting room with memorable customer service? This training is for you!

The Mi-CAST program is comprised of three modules. Take the one that catches your eye or sign up for all three at one great price! Those who complete all three modules will receive a credential from the MSU Institute of Ag Technology.

The Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council is underwriting the cost of this training, to keep the price affordable and provide an unbeatable value for the industry.

Module 1: Customer Service Training - 8am-1pm Wednesday
Speaker: Cristin Hosmer, Alchemae Craft Beverage Consulting

The customer service training module explores hospitality in the wine tasting room, guest expectations and the sales process. Participants will learn how to maximize the total guest experience through real world winery examples. Anyone looking to enhance rapport with guests and increase sales will benefit from this day long interactive server training.

Module 2: TAM® (Techniques in Alcohol Management) - 2pm-5pm Wednesday
Speaker: Meridith Lauzon, Left Foot Charley

Nationally recognized as the leading program for responsible server training, Techniques of Alcohol Management (TAM)® provides risk management tools that should be used by all licensees to control the day-to-day operations of their business. TAM® training covers a wide variety of information including: False Identification; Laws, Rules, and Regulations; Clinical Effects of Alcohol; Customer Disturbances; Alcohol Management. It is required that one person on staff must be server trained by an MLCC accredited alcohol management class during open business hours.

Module 3: Wine Fluency/Sensory Evaluation - 1:30pm-4:30pm Thursday
Speaker: Michael Schafer, The Wine Counselor
Limited attendance; advance registration required.
Wine fluency and the server's ability to discuss the sensory aspects, winemaking process and grape varietals are important in today's Tasting Room setting. Participants will be guided through terminology, sensory awareness, and cellar processes. Expect to walk away from this half day module with a heightened interest in all sensory aspects of making and tasting wine.

Wednesday, Feb 28
10:00 am -12:00 pm

Grape and Wine Research for Michigan
Speakers: Paolo Sabbatini, MSU; Keith Mason, MSU; Ilse Medina Meza, MSU; Michael Moyer, Lake Michigan College
There is no charge to attend this session.
Research funded by the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council has provided essential information for grape growers and wine producers for more than 20 years. In this session, researchers will present brief reports for projects funded in 2017, including major accomplishments and their primary focus for the future. Research topics include: Control and Management of Sour Rot in Vinifera Grapes; Viticulture Research at the MSU Northwest Horticulture Research Center; Biology and management of grape mealybug; Vineyard IPM; and Microvinification of wine grape varieties with potential for Michigan.

Wednesday, Feb 28
1:00 pm –
5:00 pm

Winemakers’ Tasting: Rosé
Wine Glasses Donated by Custom Stems
Facilitators: Robin Usborne, East of Eden Vineyard and Cristin Hosmer, 1855 Project
Limited attendance; advance registration required
Each year during the Michigan Grape and Wine Conference, eligible Michigan commercial winery representatives are invited to submit wines and technical data and participate in a peer evaluation tasting. Please note: Do not register for this session until your participation is confirmed by Robin Usborne, robin0140@gmail.com. There is space for two representatives per Michigan commercial winery. For those registrants who are eligible, Robin will follow up with instructions for submitting your wines and technical data.

Wednesday, Feb 28
6:00 pm -
8:00 pm

Welcome Reception
Sponsored by Lake Michigan College
Ticket required
Mingle with industry colleagues from around the state while enjoying a variety of Michigan wines and light hors d'oeuvres. This networking opportunity takes place in the center of the action -- the trade show.

Thursday, March 1
6:00 pm -
8:00 pm

Closing Celebration
Sponsored by Brick Packaging - A Saxco Company
Ticket required
Wineries across the state are producing high-quality beers and ciders in addition to award-winning wines. Enjoy samples of Michigan beer and cider, along with light hors d'oeuvres, as you celebrate the close of the Conference with colleagues and friends.

Thursday, March 1


Time Session Description

8:30 am –
10:00 am

What Story Does Your Label Tell?
Sponsored by: Graphic Solid Inks
Speaker: Adam Sullivan, Creative Director, Balzac Communications
Presentation is often the key to making the sale, so what does your label say about you? Learn branding and wine labelling insights that will help define the style of your winery, your product, and ultimately, Michigan’s wine industry. Adam Sullivan has more than 20 years of experience as Creative Director, specializing in winery branding.

Sign up for one-on-one consultations with Adam, taking place after the presentation. Be sure to bring your label examples!

10:30 am –
12:00 pm

Rethinking the Wine Consumer
Speaker: Tim Hanni, MW
With a hyper-focus on the product and virtually no focus on consumers, the wine and hospitality industries are missing the greatest opportunity of all: how to understand, engage, and communicate with consumers. Our speaker, Tim Hanni, MW, of myVinotype, spends his time researching and explaining just this.

12:30 pm -
4:30 pm

Labels & Branding One-on-One Appointments
Speaker: Adam Sullivan, Creative Director, Balzac Communications
Pick Adam's brain! Use this unique opportunity to discuss the story of your winery, the image you are looking for, your branding message, and your labels. Bring examples of your labels and branded materials for feedback.
(30-minute moderated appointments; sign up at the registration desk.)

In the Vineyard

Time Session Description

8:30 am –
10:00 am

Current Viticultural Challenges - a German Perspective
Sponsored by: Truly Michigan Vines
Speaker: Dr. Manfred Stoll, Geisenheim University, Germany
This virtual presentation by Dr. Stoll will provide a historical perspective on mechanization, the impact on vineyard performance and fruit quality to precision viticulture. He will cover various aspects of viticultural challenges on moderate climate. Compared to other viticultural countries within Europe, Germany can be considered as quite small. However, that small industry impacts other countries in terms of mechanization and work on various scientific topics that are common in other regions. Dr. Stoll's experience and expertise will provide valuable information for Michigan's grape growers.

10:30am -
12:00 pm

Vinegar, Nail Polish and Fruit Flies: Keeping Sour Rot at Bay
Speaker: Dr. Wendy McFadden-Smith, Brock University, Ontario
Feeling the wrath of grapes preseason as sour rot sets in yet again? Learn about the different approaches that have been explored to manage this devastating disease (and what hasn't worked!) in Dr. McFadden-Smith's research program in Ontario.


Time Session Description

8:30am -

Lab Analyses for Beginning to Intermediate Level Winemaking Operations
Speaker: Barry Gump, Ph.D., Professor of Beverage Management, Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, Florida International University
Dr. Gump's 30 years of experience in chemistry and wine analysis provides the background for this session. Dr. Gump will discuss which analyses are important at various stages of the winemaking process, and will go into deeper detail on how various methods are actually performed.

10:30am -

Flash Détente - Observations and Expectations
Speakers: Rick Jones, Consulting Winemaker, Della Toffola USA; Lee Lutes, Winemaker, Black Star Farms
This session is full. Check at registration desk for availability.
Flash Détente, or ThermoFlash, is a novel method of grape processing that increases color and tannin, removes off-aromas (e.g., pyrazine and foxiness), and eliminates the effects of mold and rot. Black Star Farms installed this innovative technology in 2017 just in time for harvest, and they’re excited about what they’re seeing so far. Lee and Rick will discuss which grape varieties were processed, results they observed, lessons they learned, and the potential for Michigan wines in the future. See, smell and taste the difference yourself with a comparison tasting of the same wine “Flashed” and “non-Flashed”.

Business Development

Time Session Description

8:30 am –
10:00 am

What's it like to Start and Own a Winery?
Panelists: Dave and Jess Youngblood, Youngblood Vineyard; Jim Granzotto, Great Legs Winery, Distillery & Brewery; Rockie Rick, Gravity, and Red Top Winery
Moderator: Joanne Davidhizar, Michigan State University

Find out what's involved in starting and sustaining a Michigan winery business from those who are doing it. A moderated panel discussion of experiences of individuals from business start-up through growth phases.

10:30 am –
12:00 pm

Economic Impact Study – What It Means For You
Speakers: John Dunham, Managing Partner, John Dunham & Associates; Peter Anastor, Division Director, Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.
In 2017, a comprehensive economic impact study was completed for the Michigan wine industry. Results indicate a thriving industry with more than $5.4 billion in economic impact and other important data. What does this information mean and how can you utilize it for media, marketing, and funding strategies? John Dunham, president of John Dunham & Associates will present on the report, its uses, how it compares to trends nationally, and answer questions.

Also learn about resources available through Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Economic Development Team, including grant and supply chain information.

4:30 pm -
5:30 pm

Michigan Wine Collaborative Annual Meeting
Collaborative members have been busy over the past year, building membership and setting up a solid foundation for the future. Join us for a brief update on the progress this industry-led association has made, followed by the Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors and members.

Friday, March 2

Time Session Description

8:00 am –
10:00 am

Council Meeting – Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council
Meetings are always open to the public and the members invite you to attend to engage with the Council and learn more about how it supports the industry. Copies of the meeting agenda will be available at the Conference registration desk.

10:30 am -
2:00 pm

Tour of Southwest Michigan Wineries
Facilitator: Sherri Goodreau, Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council
Limited seating; advance purchase required
Get a behind-the-scenes look at Southwest Michigan wineries. Starting with breakfast at the Radisson Plaza Hotel, tour participants will travel by bus to three wineries to hear from winery owners and staff about their business practices and experience in the industry. Complimentary tastings included.