Defining the Midwest Wine Tourist

Mark Ganchiff

Mark Ganchiff is the publisher of Midwest Wine Press, the leading source of news on the growing wine industry in the central United States. Mark has been a wine judge at the 2012 and 2014 INDY International Wine Competition, the 2014 Cold Climate Wine Competition, the 2013 Mid-American Wine Competition, the 2012 Illinois State Fair Wine Competition and the 2013 Michigan Wine Competition. He also enjoys speaking at wine events including the Cold Climate Wine Conference, the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association Annual Meeting, the Midwest Grape and Wine Conference and the Wisconsin Fruit and Vegetable Conference. Mark's articles about regional wine have appeared in Vineyard & Winery Management, WineMaker and several regional magazines. Mark is a Level One Sommelier in the Court of Master Sommeliers. He lives in Louisville, but also has a residence in Chicago.

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8 Responses

  1. OK let’s call the next grape out of University of MN, “Snow Bird”!

  2. Frank Malley says:

    Very good article! It brings a smile to my face to see effort being put into research on the tourism aspects of regional wine. With the first-ever, Wine Tourism Day in North America, fast approaching on May 11th, it’s nice to see momentum building in the “other wine regions” of our country. I think that, in many ways, Americans are accustomed to getting their wine information from California. With the concept of locavore continuing to gain popularity, folks are beginning to realize that they might just have a knowledgeable authority on wine in their own back yard, at one of their local wineries. They can enjoy some great wines and experience the people and places who produced them, all while supporting their local economy!

    Frank Malley
    Northcoast Grapevine Tours
    Lorain, Ohio

  3. This is exactly what I’m seeing in my Lake Geneva tasting room. We thought we would have younger visitors, but they are for the most part 45 -65 just out to have some fun. What a great job, waiting on people that want to have fun and pouring it for them : )

    Kathy Jackson
    Studio Winery
    Lake Geneva, WI

    • Mark Ganchiff says:

      Thanks for dispelling some baby boomer myths. There’s a lot of middle aged folks who are looking for new experiences and are willing to try new wines.

  4. richabuck says:

    My wife and I along with another married couple have been doing winery tours since 2004. We visit a wine growing region in various states one week each year. We have visited Missouri (along the Missouri river, Missouri (Southeast), Door county Wisconsin, Southern Illinois, Southern Indiana, Traverse City Michigan, Southwest Michigan, and Cincinnati Ohio. We usually visit around 20-25 wineries per trip. All of us are in our early 60’s and do our wine trips more or less as a hobby. We are all wine lovers and are very well educated in regards to varietals. Our main purpose in tasting is to buy and transport back home to Northern Illinois for future consumption .I would say that we purchase at least on bottle per couple (2) at least 95% of the time. Unfortunately, the tasting fees are beginning to price us out of the market. It’s getting to the point where we may only visit wineries with no or smaller fees. We fully appreciate the fact that wineries give out a lot of samples to people who have no intention of buying and have to recoup the cost. We don’t mind the fee if it is waved with purchase. I don’t want to see local wineries priced out of the market. I can buy a good bottle of Riesling from California or Germany at the local store for $12. If I go to a local winery, the cost is $15 plus say a $7 tasting fee for a total of $22. Where’s my incentive to visit and buy local???

    • Mark Ganchiff says:

      Thanks for your support of Midwest wine! Wineries should apply tasting fees to purchases. Some states now require tasting fees. However, some people think that not charging a tasting fee results in more sales for the winery because customers feel an obligation to reciprocate for the “free” wine.

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