Moving Beyond A Tourism Based Wine Industry

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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6 Responses

  1. Jeremy says:

    Great point of perspective Mark! Crossing that threshold may be a challenge for many reasons. I would imagine on the largest portion of wines sales is the under $12 wines. I’m not sure how the smaller Midwest wineries can compete with the huge marketing house wines, but hey I will defiantly be rooting for the underdog!

  2. Mark,

    Good article. A few thoughts since I am trying to come up with my business model for being a Garagiste and just got back from CA where I toured and talked with several small, artisanal vignerons.

    I think that there has to be some sort of Judgement of Paris type event with Midwest wines against other world class producers that really proves to the sophisticated wine consumers that the Midwest does have some very good wine makers working with both vinifera and hybrids.

    There has to be better marketing around the blends that are possible so that consumers do not focus on the varietals (allowing Midwest wine makers to use hybrids with no consumer repercussions).

    There has to be a more focused and coordinated effort to penetrate the metropolitan markets where the sophisticated consumers live. Having only one annual event a year will not raise the ongoing awareness necessary to create consumer demand.

    It is still puzzling to me that while consumers are fine buying local beer and spirits, they shy away from really embracing local wines. There is a disconnect that doesn’t make sense to me since there are many fine wines being made in our backyard.


    • Jeremy says:

      I think part of the problem with accessing the sophisticated consumers is the limited exposure to local wines and most likely an encounter with overly sweet products when compared to wines of other regions.

  3. Patrick says:

    Good article, Mark. I agree with these comments. Other obstacles are (a)new cold hardy hybrids may have unusual, unfamiliar aroma and flavors, so there is a learning curve for consumers, and (b)too many flawed wines are being sold. Just my observations.

  4. Hi Mark,

    You have great insight and I’m also optimistic for growth. I’ve found that much of the stunted growth is related to the distributors who don’t actively promote local wines. The distributors will promote what is available, what has a higher profit margin, what is “hot” right now, and many local wine makers would benefit from a distribution company that focused on local products. There just aren’t enough of those.

  1. June 29, 2014

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