Nonprofit Michigan Wine Organization Formed to Propel Vintner Industry


Leaders in the Michigan wine industry have come together to form the Michigan Wine Collaborative, a new nonprofit organization in Traverse City that aims to enhance the sustainability and profitability of the state’s wine industry.

“Our goal is to support the interests of our industry from vineyard to bottle and onto the consumers’ table,” says David Miller, president of the Michigan Wine Collaborative. “The Michigan wine industry is growing rapidly and is at a point where an organization of industry representatives is required to guide and support research, education, marketing, and legislative action.”

The nonprofit, which has an open membership structure, will focus on research, marketing, and sustainability initiatives, and will work in partnership with the statewide Grape and Wine Industry Council in Lansing and northwest Michigan-based Parallel 45 Vines and Wines.

The MWC’s board of directors includes Miller from White Pine Winery; Matthew Moersch with Round Barn Winery (Vice President); Brian Lesperance with Fenn Valley Vineyards (Secretary); Lee Lutes of Black Star Farms (Treasurer); along with Robert Brengman of Brengman Brothers; Tom Petzold of Bowers Harbor Vineyards; Liz Berger with Chateau Chantal; Jon Treloar of J. Trees Cellars; Dave Anthony of Northern Sun Winery; and Shannon Casey with Michigan By The Bottle. There are five remaining open board positions.

The board was formed after receiving feedback from an advisory board and public meetings, including the Michigan Grape and Wine Conference in Kalamazoo last February.

While working to acquire both private and public funds, the nonprofit will improve its existing website, which will serve as a central source of information for relevant viticulture and enology information.

“At this stage of the game we really want to broaden our membership and get our committees staffed,” Lutes says. “If we can get more growers and wineries actively involved, there is every reason to believe we can aid in the continual development of a profitable and sustainable industry for the long haul.”

According to the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, there are 120 wineries in Michigan.

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