Members Present: President Eric nelson, Theresa McFarland, Connie Brittan, Nick Ryan, Jim Ballard, Ted Shekirke, Jennifer Reeder, Josh Rockerman, Clay Shutz, John Siebert, Richard HIlske. Others in attendance included Executive Director Lori Paulsen, guests max, McFarland, Heidi Schutz, and Mick McDowell.
President Eric Nelson called the meeting to order at 1:59pm
Eric Nelson requested that the financials be pulled from the consent agenda so that Lori could go over the new format. Three corrections were made to the minutes of the July meeting. Jim Ballard motioned to approve the consent agenda. Theresa Mc Farland 2nd and the motion carried.
Lori reported a balance of $14,693 with appending payment from the Department of Ag of $9,031 to cover monthly operating expenses (including ED salary and marketing). There are no pending liabilities. A PDF of the financial report will be included as an attachment to these minutes. Lori noted, after a question from Richard Hilske, that lobbying expenses and corkage fees can not be covered by grant funds. Jin Ballard motioned to approve the financial report. Connie Brittan 2nd and the motion carried.
New Viticulture Programs
Lori reported that SCC- Beatrice will start a new viticulture program in July. The program will require internships that can be met in Nebraska vineyards. Lori is on the advisory board for this program. Wayne State is in the process of developing a 4 year fermentation degree through the Chemistry Department for the fall 2017 semester. This program will also have interns. Wayne is also looking at a 2 by 2 program with SCC-Beatrice. (Lori I have a question mark here…please confirm if this is accurate). NCTA in Curtis is also considering a viticulture program. Lori addressed questions from the board by reporting that the colleges have not requested funds from the NWGGA but that she had shared with them that funding could be available through the grape board if projects involved educational outreach to our members. She also noted that the instructors for the SCC program have worked with Paul Read and community extensions on viticulture research/programs.
It was reported that the committee has discussed the agenda for the Fall meeting with the ultimate goal being to develop a protocol for those affected by herbicide drift to be shared at the Spring conference. As a legislative note on this topic Lori noted that the chairman of the Ag Committee is up for reelection so there may be a vacancy for this position.
2017 Conference Update
The NWGGA 2017 Educational Conference has been scheduled for October 22nd – 24th at the Lied Center in Nebraska City. Lori assisted in securing a tourism grant in the amount of (@17,000) for marketing and promotion of this event that is well positioned to draw attendees from surrounding states.
The planning committee will meet in November to develop the agenda. The planning meeting and the deposit to hold the venue have been paid for by a Grape Board grant. After questions and a discussion it was determined that the 2017 annual membership meeting will take place at the 2017 Forum and at that time the membership can vote to move the annual meeting to the NWGGA Educational Conference in 2018. Lori noted that per agreement with Paul Read, she waited until Sept 15th to send out vendor/exhibitor information. At this point there are about 15 secured ( Tourism, NLCC, and the Department of Ag will be free of charge ). Lori will share the exhibitor master list seeking updated contacts.
2017 Passport Program
Lori presented the proposal for the 2017 Passport program. Input from membership indicated that the passport program be retained and the wine bucks rewards structure reinstated. Discussion ensued as to the sustainability of the program with a question as to better allocation of the funds. Lori pointed that the program does function as designed in that it drives customers to the tasting rooms. The cost of the program and allocation of wine bucks does suggest that it may not be the most cost effective way of soliciting new customers ( about 60% of wine bucks recipients are repeats ). There was also discussion on how to classify tasting rooms and the consensus was to define a qualifying tasting room as an entity that has 75% of its wine menu be Nebraska Wines (instead of 75% of the revenue). Connie Brittan motioned to retain the 2016 prize structure for the 2017 Passport program and to define a qualifying Tasting Room as having 75% of its wine offerings be Nebraska wines. Theresa McFarland 2nd. With 4 ayes and 6 nays the motion did not pass. Jim Ballard motioned to approve the 2017 Passport Program with the proposed prize structure for visiting wineries but eliminating the requirement for a tasting room stamp( $50 in wine bucks for a complete passport, $25 in wine bucks from 15 wineries, and $10 in wine bucks for visiting a winery in each region). Qualifying Tasting Rooms ( 75% of wine offerings be Nebraska wines ) would be listed/located on the passport for promotional/advertising purposes. Nick Ryan 2nd. Clay Shutz amended the motion to set the fee at $300 for participating wineries and a $200 promotional/advertising cost for qualifying Tasting Rooms. Ted Schekirke 2nd and the motion passed with a single nay. John Siebert made a motion to allow Tasting Rooms that do not meet the 75% qualification to apply for NWGGA Board approval to be in the passport program. Jim Ballard 2nd. The motion received 2 ayes and 8 nays so did not pass. Richard Hilske motioned that the grand prize drawing be $250 for 1st, $100 for second and $50 for third. Clay Shutz 2nd and the motioned passed. Final approval of the rules for the 2017 Passports was made via an email response on October 27th.
2017 Membership Form
Lori received input on some changes in the membership structure. She will remove the voting status from student membership category ( Lori were there others?)
Toast Name Update
Lori reported that the requisite time has passed since public notification of the legal action to take ownership of the name and that NWGGA holds the legal right to exclusively use the TOAST Nebraska name for a wine event. Lori anticipates that she hear from BLUR once football season has ended. Cly Shutz motioned that the Board direct Lori to notify BLUR Parties within 10 days that NWGGA has the legal rights for the name negotiations for the 2017 event by December 1st in order to use the name. Jennifer Reeder 2nd and the motion carried.
Les and Trish requested a Vote of Confidence that the Board retain them as lobbyists since they have entered into a contract to purchase Wunderosa Vineyards and Winery. Richard HIlske motioned to do so and retain them until the end of the contract with renewal pending a review. John Siebert 2nd and the motion carried.
Lori updated the Board on the situation involving the NLCC and Glacial Till’s use of SDLs. Lori is trying to set a meeting Mr. Rupe to discuss this in the context of 2017 legislation requests on the part of the NLCC. There is a desire on clarification on the change in how SDLs are administered. Lori asked the Board on directions of how to proceed. The consensus following discussion was to wait for the recommendations from Les and Trish after they are in attendance at the November 1st hearing.
Lori reported that the Quality Control Program is on hold pending a return contact from Steve Mehnke. Lori asked the Board for suggestions on how to request the Grape Board for a redirection of these funds. Following discussions of possible options Richard motioned that $2500 be allocated to send Lori to the spring Wine America meeting with the remainder to ???. Clay Shutz 2nd and the motion passed.
The next meeting will be January 22nd at 2pm. There being no further business Richard Hilske motioned to adjourn. Theresa McFarland 2nd and the meeting was adjourned at 5:43