Ideas For Bringing Midwest Wine Together

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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9 Responses

  1. Mark: I think you are a bit off base here. It is not one big deal in the midwest. The trade shows are in connection wth the state annual get together. Wines differ by AVA and not the state or the reageon. The more wine trails the better. The big problem is the federal laws. Unless you are a big winery you cqn not afford to ship to different states. The requirements to pay taxes in each state subbmit 50 page aplications and post bonds in each state not to mention the dreded monthly report. The other big deal in my mind is the inability to sell to the tourist that comes in from another state unless he is driving Yes you can still take wine in bottles if you check bagage. But you have the way they handle baggage you might have wine stained bags that iss if you dont happen to lose some of the wine during the bag inspections.

    We do need to promote the reageon but we need to do that by changing the laws so that all sizes of businesses can participate and small businesses can grow not just the big boys. Thats my two cents worth. have a good day.

    • Mark Ganchiff says:

      Thanks for your comments. Changing federal law seems like a hard way to go, the big distributors are to liquor what Wall Street is to finance: They pay to get their way. Your tourism ideas make sense to me. There should be a Midwest Wine Store in every regional airport. I heard Charlotte airport has a store for NC wines.

  2. Jeremy Haese says:

    Great article Mark. The Midwest could benefit from some common ground thinking.
    You touched on a point of interest to me. That is the way the local wines look all piled up together in a supermarket, it is confusing and off putting.
    I would like to hear more about your traveling event idea.

    • Mark Ganchiff says:

      Glad you like the column. The Midwest Wine Travel Shows would probably work better as a traveling road show that visits larger midwestern cities. The various states could all participate. Kind of like a consumer skiing or fishing travel exhibition, but for Midwest wine. IF such an event were held during March or April it would get tourists out on the wine trails during a slow period.

  3. Jon says:

    I think hammering out what is special about each region is an important thing, and I agree there is not that terribly much unification. To some extent, I think the varieties are similar, but that is only because weather’s hand has been forced on us to unify. I agree with the sentiment that MN and WI have a lot in common and could cross borders on a lot of things, but if you’re going to cross borders on some stuff, the legal issues become ever more important for each state. For example, in WI, you can bring in shiners. In MN, you cannot. For me, personally, I think if a winery brings in shiners, it erodes that entire concept of expressing terrior and regional identity that you’re trying to build. How can you educate your customers on your terrior if you’re simply bringing in Califnoria Cab, not grown locally, not made by your wine maker or anything? I would not care to see shiners come to MN and it would be a hurdle to linking our industries closer together.

    • Mark Ganchiff says:

      Good point about bringing in finished bottles of outside wine. “Shiners” do nothing to grow the Midwest wine industry.
      Cooperating across state lines on marketing efforts would help to grow demand, but navigating the patchwork of state regs will be a challenge. As we have reported in MWP, Wisconsin is one the worst states for wine producers in the Midwest.

  4. James says:

    Honestly I think one of the best solutions for the market as a whole would be to establish and adopt a ranking system like Parker’s. Ranking/ scoring wines has been shown to increase consumer confidence and increased consumer confidence leads to increased consumer enjoyment. Only ranking wines that were produced east of the Rockies and only from appellations east of the Rockies would eliminate the influence of grapes shipped in from California or elsewhere and help promote native (American, New world, hybrid ect.) cultivars. Of course there are quite a few viniferas east of the Rockies, but still not as many as there are American cultivars that are made into outstanding wines in their own right.

    • Mark Ganchiff says:


      Good idea to rank wines from Eastern producers. To take the subjectivity out of the rankings, using a panel of tasters and averaging the results would be ideal. The logistics to this approach are daunting however. As for Parker, I mainly don’t like the wines he likes. His “ratings” promote a primarily California style of winemaking. Midwest wine ratings would need to be for everyone.

  1. September 15, 2013

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