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New partnership to support Michigan wine industry

Beginning this year, Michigan State University’s Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center and School of Hospitality Business will partner with Michigan Wine Collaborative, or MWC, and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, or MDARD, to jointly plan and execute the annual Michigan Wine Competition.

This year hails the 42nd annual wine competition, of which the last 18 years were hosted at the Kellogg Center. Unlike earlier years, when wines were judged in an area near the livestock barns during the Michigan State Fair, the competition has evolved into a highly competitive and professional event held in ideal testing conditions at the Kellogg Center. The results are shared with the public at the annual Gold Medal Reception, also held at the Kellogg Center.

The partners, as well as Hospitality Business students, will oversee and manage the competition and reception. In doing so, the students will work alongside the Kellogg Center’s staff to ensure that established standards are maintained. 

“This cooperative approach will provide our students with a fabulous opportunity to apply and hone their skills and education through ‘learning while doing,’” said Carl Borchgrevink, director of the School of Hospitality Business. “We look forward to this opportunity and are delighted our students are able to participate in delivering this fabulous and important competition.” 

“I am delighted that we are able to continue hosting the Michigan Wine Competition at Kellogg Center while supporting MSU students and the Michigan wine and agricultural community at large,” said Joel Heberlein, director of the Spartan Hospitality Group. We are proud to play a role in MSU’s Land Grant Mission.”

The four partners will use this opportunity to expand the scope of what this competition represents; while the competition has always served as an important event for Michigan wineries to gauge the quality of their wines among their peers, it will now be an educational opportunity for future hospitality professionals.

“The MWC is enthusiastic in its support of MSU and its new program for the Michigan Wine Competition,” said Dave Miller, MWC president. “This new program will introduce young adults to the Michigan wine industry. The wine industry is more than just production of wine and as the industry continues to grow, we will need people with strong backgrounds in many different fields of study. We are proud to assist in cultivating the next generation of Michigan wine enthusiasts, while hoping to retain these prospective employees in the state.”

The competition and judging will take place Tuesday, July 30 and the public event at which the winning wines can be tasted is will take place Thursday, Aug. 8. 

By: Carl Borchgrevink