9 am Holiday Inn I-80 York NE
Call to Order: President Al Vybiral called the meeting to order at 9:25 am. Members present Al Vybiral, Stefan Negley, Connie Brittan, Eric Nelson, Seth McFarland. Max McFarland from NGWB was present and was given Nick Ryan’s
proxy via phone.
Minutes: The minutes from the September meeting were distributed via email. There were no additions or corrections. Seth moved to accept the minutes. Eric 2nd and the motion carried
Jennifer was unable to attend the meeting and Al reported on her activities. He noted that her time has been spent working with SCORR and with Blur on the State Wine Festival. The details of these activities have been shared with Board members via email. Al also noted that she has been doing extensive networking.
Max reported that the board met on Nov12th in Kearney. They received update reports from each of the stakeholders. Paul Read reported on conference planning. Karen Kollars reported on upcoming conferences. Jennifer Montgomery was in attendance reported on the progress of the QA program. The sensory training component of this program will be taking place at the Food Science Building at UNL in December. Wine makers from 11 wineries will be in attendance. Another round of wine evaluation will take place in February and Stephen Mehnke is working with Vinquiry on securing a contract for chemical analysis. Max made note of the fact the NGWB is pleased with Jennifer’s level of involvement and competence.
Max attended the Wine America Fall conference as the Nebraska representative to the State Association Advisory Council (SAAC). After a strategic planning process Wine America has reorganized this council to the State and Regional Association Advisory Council. Max recommended that the NWGGA appoint Jennifer to be the Nebraska representative to that council and take part in the monthly conference calls. Eric motioned that Jennifer be appointed as the Nebraska representative to this advisory council. Stefan 2nd and the motion carried. Max reported that the NGWB has allocated funds for Jennifer to attend the spring meeting in Washington DC. Max further noted that he has been asked to serve as a Midwest Representative for the Board of Directors for Wine America. He also stressed the importance of this grass roots organization in representing the industry’s interests with the legislative issues of the Farm Bill, excise tax, and immigration reform on the horizon.
Max also reported that NGWB is preparing to send out the Grower’s survey. Jennifer stressed to the NGWB the importance of information from this study for funding and insurance. Max concluded his report by noting that the NGWB will not know about the effects of the current level of permit fees, among the highest in the country, and its impact on funding until next year.
Wende submitted the Treasurer’s report via email. As of November 29th, 2013 the NWGGA checking account balance was $ 69,172.15. Since the first of the year the organization has realized income in the amount of $114,392.43 consisting of membership income, grant funding, silent auction, and amateur wine competition income. Distributions have consisted of administrative expenses, ED salary, Passport coupon reimbursements, conference expenses and professional services expenses totaling $112,288.74. Her complete report, including a copy of the 10.31.13 and bank statements and statement reconciliations is attached to these minutes. Eric Nelson moved to approve the report, Stefan Kegley 2nd and the motion carried.
State Wine Festival
Al shared an email sent to Jennifer regarding Wine Festival SDL update from Stacy Leners of BLUR. Cass County approved the applications of 15 wineries with an extended deadline of January 10th for Superior Estates. Stacy reported that one of the commission board members has discussed the event with the state and event is good to go on their part. Once the state processes the applications they will send the licenses to Cass County for pick up.
2-4 D Drift Committee
Al shared a statement that he had read at the Nebraska Agricultural Department Interim Study planning meeting. He noted that this meeting appeared less confrontational than previous meetings possibly as a result of hearing about the incidents that have occurred with use of the herbicide. He reported that a pilot program to educate and promote the safe use of 2-4D by applicators and vendors is being initiated in Lancaster County. Some of the NWGGA members will be involved in this.
The board shared responses to the logo/tag line proposals submitted by SCORR. Eric suggested that the bottle logo be modified to be multicolored and include an outline of the state with grape vines and leaves. Stefan suggested that the wine bottle be laid on its side with the wine coming out along the distinctive eastern border of the state. Seth motioned to advance the bottle logo with the tagline “ Taste of the Good Life” and the “Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association” to SCORR with modifications to be made to the logo as suggested by Eric and Stefan. Stefan is designated as the point person to work with SCORR. Connie 2nd the motion and the motion passed.
Open board seats Al reported that the board seats of Nick Ryan and Mick McDowell will be open. The positions of treasurer, president, president elect and winery council rep are also open. Al will be making contact with members regarding filling these positions.
Al reported that he and Jennifer met with Paul Read and Steve Gamet on Nov 20th. The structure of the conference has been set. Speakers for the concurrent workshops on Thursday include Dr. Keith Streigler for viticulture, Dr Murli Dharmadhikari, Iowa State Enologist, for Enology and Danene Beedle, Marketing Director for the Missouri Wine and Grape Board, and Karen Kollars from Nebraska Tourism for Promotion. Jan Beran and Bart Holmquist will talk about the on line discussion forum at the Growers Council meeting. Stacy Leners from Blur will be at the Winery Council Meeting to talk about the State Wine Festival. Trade Show “save the date”notices have gone out to the vendors. Paul noted that this is the last year the Annual Forum will be held in Kearney and that he has contacted interested venues in the metro Omaha area that have the date open.
Proposed By-Law Changes
Al noted that the rules for removal of Board members is non functional. Following a discussion the consensus was the By-Laws need to be reviewed and possibility updated for functionality and compatibility with the new Strategic plan. Seth, Eric and Kay will serve on a committee to survey and solicit feedback from individual board members for specific items that need to be addressed and compile this information to bring to the membership at the annual meeting.
Internal Audit Discussion
In the interim between EDs, Wende had made the suggestion to then President Seth that an internal audit be done. Discussions on this have continued since Jennifer has come on board. Following a conversation with (??name and firm of woman) Seth believes that a third party financial review may be more cost effective and appropriate for the Association’s needs. It was suggested that a 3-5 year cycle of financial review be incorporated into the By-Laws. In discussion it was also noted that this review process would be facilitated by the use of a book keeping service/ Quick Books on line to assist the treasurer in financial record keeping.
Economic Impact Study
This topic has been approached at previous BOD meetings with Jennifer Montgomery, Jim Ballard and Seth stressing the importance of information provided by such a study for strategic planning, marketing and addressing legislative issues, such as maintaining the right to self-distribute. Seth has been in contact with Barbara Insel about conducting the study and estimates that the cost would be in the range of $25,000. Al and Jennifer are going to put together a proposal for the next NGWB meeting to request funding for this project. This request will include the possibility of shifting unspent funds from this fiscal year to cover all or parts of the study.
Max McFarland presented the Board with information on the International Association for Northern Viticulture and its plan to hold the VitiNord conference at the Lied Lodge in Nebraska City in November of 2015. Max has secured a 3 year Specialty Crop grant for $15,000 to cover expenses for International Speakers and the Conference Planning Committee. After considerable discussion the consensus of the Board was that this Conference presents a tremendous opportunity for NWGGA to promote our industry both within the state and on a national and international scale. Eric motioned that the NWGGA sponsor the 2015 VitiNord conference at a cost of $5,000 per year for the next 3 years. The allocation of $5,000 for this year will be done pending a review by the treasurer. The motion was 2nd by Stefan and the motion passed. A copy of the information presented by Max is included in these minutes.
There being no new business Connie motioned to adjourn. Stefan 2nd, the motion passed and the meeting adjourned at 12:34. The tentative date for the next BOD meeting is Feb 2nd 2014.
Connie Brittan, Secretary