EAST LANSING, Mich. — With winery numbers now over 120, the state’s winery industry continues to grow, as do hard cider operations, which are also licensed as wineries in Michigan. To assist potential entrepreneurs in understanding the elements of a successful winery business launch, a one-day winery development pre-conference will be held Feb. 22 in association with the 2017 Michigan Grape & Wine Conference. The session will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme, Michigan.
Pre-conference sponsors, Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council, Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, and Michigan State University Extension, will provide basic information about starting a winery in Michigan. Topics include fruit suitability regions, business planning, marketing, licensing requirements, wastewater management, local zoning considerations, owner experiences, and resources.
A panel of winery owners will share their experiences and answer questions from participants. Resource people on the panel include Michael Wells of Black Fire Winery, Tecumseh, Tracie Roush of Petoskey Farms Vineyard & Winery, Petoskey, and Dean Bender of Lawton Ridge Winery, Kalamazoo.
All participants in a 2015 winery development conference indicated that they would recommend the conference to others. These attendees planned action toward starting 17 wineries or hard cider operations, and investing upward of $5.2 million.
For more information or to the register for the session, go to: www.michiganwines.com/conference. The pre-conference registration fee is $85 per person or $110 per person after Jan. 31, 2017. Participants are invited to apply a $35 discount to attend Thursday conference sessions, Feb. 23, 2017, to further their learning and networking opportunities.