Last week I was speaking at the Midwest Grape and Wine Conference in St. Charles, Missouri, that also included craft beer and cider. It was interesting to meet brewers and would-be brewers, as well as to discover how many wineries are thinking about adding beer to the mix.
On the first evening of the conference, Vineyard & Winery Management, who produces the show, put on a fun wine tasting reception called the Tour de Vin. It was nice to catch up with old friends and make new ones, as well as taste some delicious Midwest wines.
This year, Vineyard & Winery Management had added other craft beverages, such as beer, to the mix of classes available. There were production, marketing and finance sessions, for both wine and beer makers, as well as viticulture, presented by a host of speakers from all over the United States.
Following a full day of sessions on Wednesday, Vineyard & Winery Management hosted the Tour de Brew and beer and cider tasting. There were all types of delicious beers. I must admit I am a beer fan (being British I come by it naturally) and tasted some lovely pale ales among other things. There were also ciders to taste and lots of munchies, as well as the opportunity to talk about beer and meet more new people.
Friday, Gary Finnan from GFC and I presented an eight hour session that covered a full range of topics connected with branding, product development, sales, marketing, experience mapping, customer relationship management and more. We had a great group of people in the session and were able to relate the topics directly to individual businesses from large wineries to very small ones.
I always enjoy my time in the Midwest, although I have to say it was a mite cold in Missouri this last week. The warmth of the people more than made for the cold weather. Now we are off to Texas for the TWGGA show and looking forward to tasting some Texas wines and visiting with the passionate Texas winegrowers. I do love this time of year!
A tip of the glass from me to you!