February 09, 2004

Grape growers-vintners conference set for Feb. 27-29

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Organizers expect more than 200 people to attend the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association annual conference Friday through Sunday, Feb. 27-29, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield.

The three-day event features a seminar on special event planning taught by Doniella Winchell of the Ohio Wine Producers Association and a review of cold-hardy grapes for Midwest vineyards by Michigan State University viticulturist Stanley Howell. Other sessions will focus on federal regulations for new wineries, winery startup, new wine technology, pruning and thinning, migrant worker employment, wine faults and disease management. Wine tastings, a trade show, the association's business meeting, a banquet and silent auction also will take place.

Registration rates vary. Association members pay $110 for the entire conference; non-members pay $135. Those wishing to attend Friday only pay $20. Those who want to go to the Saturday sessions (including lunch) pay $55, while those who prefer to attend only the banquet and wine tasting pay $55.

A full agenda and registration information appear on the association's Web site, http://www.IllinoisWine.org, at the Festivals and Events link. Contact the group's executive secretary, Bill McCartney, at 217/285-6305 orbillmc@kcds.net for more information.

Illinois has 45 wineries throughout the state, with another 10 expected to open this year. Roughly 275 grape growers have established vineyards ranging from Galena in the north, Nauvoo in the west, Greenup to the east and Cobden in the south.