IWGA Annual conference

speakers


Speaker Bios


+ SCOTT FISH, OFFROAD

During the past two decades, Scott has worked with hotels, resorts and tourism organizations around the world to help them drive more business and connect better with their customers. In an evolving tourism industry, Scott works with wineries promoting their club membership and event spaces, driving new customers and connecting with loyal fans. OffRoad drives change through strategic process and marketing strategies for growth phase companies. Learn more about Offroad.

+ MICHAEL L. WHITE, ISU EXTENSION & OUTREACH

Mike White is a Viticulture Specialist for Iowa State University & Extension. Mike has been working with the Iowa and Midwest grape & wine industry for the last 20 years providing grape growing, marketing and general wine industry technical support. His multi-state / multi-country Wine Grower News, bi-weekly newsletter has been published since 2007. Mike has an Associate of Science from Iowa Western Community College, a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Agriculture from Iowa State University. His professional certifications include: Certified Crop Advisor (CCA), Certified Professional Agronomist (CPAg) and Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW). He is also a member of national and eastern section of the American Society of Enology & Viticulture (ASEV). Mike resides in Indianola, Iowa with his wife Deb. Mike White likes to drink WINE!

+ KEVIN FIFO, COVERED BRIDGES WINERY

Kevin Fifo is co-founder and winemaker at Covered Bridges Winery in Winterset, IA. He began making wine in 1999 when his wife Jean got him a winemaking kit for Christmas. In 2002 he saw an ad in the paper for beginning grape growing classes hosted by Summerset Winery and Iowa State University Extension. After the first class, he was hooked.

In 2004 Kevin and Jean partnered with friends Kevin and Rose Boyle to found Covered Bridges Winery in Winterset and planted the first acre of cold hardy hybrid grapes. The vineyard has grown to nearly 5 acres of 7 different varietals.

Covered Bridges Winery is committed to producing the finest quality wines from 100% Iowa grown grapes. An IT Project manager by day, Mr. Fifo’s winemaking style has developed over the years through extensive self-instruction, classes sponsored by the Iowa Grape and Wine Industry Institute, other winemaker’s feedback, and many, many lessons learned.

With 10 commercial vintages in the bottle Covered Bridges Winery has been awarded nearly 100 medals in local, regional, and national winemaking competitions. In 2015 their Rattlesnake Red was awarded Best of Show Red at the Iowa State Fair and in 2017 it was award double gold. Their 2016 Marechal Foch was awarded a Gold Medal at the Mid-American Wine Competition, the first awarded to a Foch in 3 years. Most recently their 2017 Marquette and 2017 Marechal Foch were the top rated varietals in the state of Iowa in their respective categories at the Mid-American Wine Competition.

Kevin and Jean reside in Winterset with wine dog Lakota and two cats, Max and Simba.

+ KIM WALTMAN, FULLCIRCLE CREATIVE + COACHING, LLC

fullCIRCLE creative + coaching, LLC founder Kim Waltman combines her lifelong obsession with horses and passion for communications into a business with two areas of specialty. On the creative side, Kim provides marketing communications consulting based on more than 20 years of experience in industries from health care to commercial construction. She guides clients in developing annual marketing + communications plans to reach strategic objectives and creates marketing content. In the coaching arena, Kim encourages highly motivated, growth-oriented humans within small businesses to pause + reflect on how they "show up" in their personal + business lives. Oftentimes, the permission to pause in safe, non-judgmental space leads to impactful discoveries about the essential softer side of business that’s often overlooked. In the spirit of learning from failing, Kim will talk about her attempt to launch a business on her family’s southern Iowa agriculture operation in 2012. She’ll share what she learned, the value of 20 | 20 hindsight + things to consider. Currently, Kim is a member of the International Coaches Federation (ICF) | National Association for Women Business Owners (NAWBO) + the Iowa Center for Economic Success Strategic Advisory Committee (SAC). She’s part of a ministry team with Right Turn Cowboy Church where God connects humans + horses to learn the gospel. Her peaceful place is outdoors on the farm with her husband, their five children, friends, horses, cattle, sheep + dogs.

+ ANDREW FARMER, NORTHEAST VINE SUPPLY

Andy Farmer has been operating Northeastern Vine Supply, Inc. since 2002. Cold hardy grapevines are propagated, grown, processed and shipped from our VT farm all around the country. Varieties from the U of Minnesota, Tom Plocher, Elmer Swenson, and select french hybrids are produced.

+ BRENT BAKER, OLD WOOLAM CUSTOM BOTTLING, LLC

Brent Baker is a long standing fan of the mid-west wine industry having worked closely with the industry for over 15 years. The last 7 years, Brent has owned and operated Old Woolam Custom Bottling LLC, bringing the best in mechanized as well as sterile bottling to the mid-west wine industry. Through years of experience, research and continued education he continues to be a leader in the field of mobile bottling. He is currently responsible for bottling over a quarter million gallons of wine annually.

+ SARAH THOMPSON, RURAL REVITALIZATION, LLC

With a B.A. in English from the University of Iowa, Sarah, is just as ready to write a grant as she is to roll up her sleeves to help renovate a building. She is a committed economic developer and enthusiastic preservationist. She has also owned her own bookstore and helped many small business with marketing. Sarah knows how to help rural communities and businesses who want to work. Most recently she worked with four communities; the largest having only 1,200 people, known as Hamilton Hometowns. In her last year there, they had had 19 ribbon cuttings over four communities. Sarah also has experience training others to run meetings, as well as how to work the Main Street 4 Point Approach ®. Learn more.

+ CAIN HICKEY, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA

Cain Hickey is an assistant professor and Viticulture Extension Specialist in the Horticulture Department at the University of Georgia. He has presented at state, regional, national, and international academic and industry conferences, and developed and coordinated numerous extension workshop and field days. He has authored several peer-reviewed journal articles and extension publications. Cain works with the Georgia grape and wine industry to solve regional vineyard management issues through his extension and research appointment. His applied viticulture research program evaluates hybrid cultivar suitability as well as pruning, trellising, and canopy management effects on crop yield, quality potential, and spring frost mitigation.

+ JORENE KING, WINES OF IOWA

Jorene King is co-owner of Wines of Iowa. She and her sister have been a retailers of Iowa wines for 9 years. Their current business, Wines of Iowa, has been located in Historic Valley Junction for 6 years. Wines of Iowa sells wines from over 40 Iowa wineries and also offers bus & van trips to wineries to further support the industry. Wines of Iowa has been IWGA Retail Partner of the Year twice. Jorene is a panel member of IQWC and has served on the IWGA board. Jorene lives in northeast Polk County with her husband Stephen, a family farmer, and their greyhounds.

+ MIKE VINCENT, WOODEN WHEEL VINEYARDS

+ JEREMY & TARA KOHLHAAS, THE WIJN HOUSE

+ MIKE FIERY, MILLER CHEMICAL

Michael D. Fiery, is the Vice President of Marketing and Product Development for Miller Chemical & Fertilizer, LLC. Mike is responsible for technical and sales support of Miller products globally, is actively involved in all facets of new product development, exclusive marketing partnerships and product acquisitions. He presents product technologies to domestic and global distributors including but not limited to Europe, South America and the South Pacific. Mike has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Minor in Resource Management from West Virginia University, Morgantown, W. VA.

+ MICHAEL JONES, SCOTT LABS

Michael Jones is the Fermentation Specialist at Scott Labs. Working in wineries since 1971, he made his first wine in the family celler in 1974. He has made wine every year since, including two vintages in Burgandy and one in the Hunter Valley, Australia. Suffering from a degree in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis, he found solace among the vines of NovaVine Nursery and the barrels of Hanzell in Sonoma, plus 19 years at Domaine, Chandon.

+ MARK HERMANN, ADVANCE IOWA

Mark Hermann has been helping companies manage business risks for over 30 years. His experience managing and owning businesses helped prepare him to deliver services to Iowa companies with the support of the University of Northern Iowa.
Professional Background: • Business Development Associate for Advance Iowa • Facilitator for Advance Iowa peer group meetings. • 27 years as a risk manager • 15 years running several businesses, working in every position in the company. Learn more about Advance Iowa.

+ JOE LUTOMSKE, ENOTOOLS

"Born in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, Joe had no choice but to be aware of the beauty and the draw of the U.S. Wine Industry. In the summer of 1987, Joe was pouring wine for visitors at a local winery when he got to meet a Mr. Ferrari from Modena, Italy, as well as three Jazz greats that summer; Chuck Mangione, Herbie Mann, and Dave Brubeck. That was an exciting summer for a kid from Watkins Glen. Needless to say, the experience left an impression. After a quick term in the U.S. Air Force and seven years in money management, Joe went to work in the wine industry full time and started ENOTOOLS in 2004. Learn more.

+ AMY DE BRUIN, TASSEL RIDGE WINERY

Amy De Bruin is the Executive Vice President and Human Resources Manager for Interpower Corporation. She is responsible for oversight of Customer Service, Purchasing, and Quality Assurance as well as Employee Development/Training and Human Resources. She also oversees the Human Resources activities at Tassel Ridge Winery. She is currently a member of the Senior Management Team.

Amy has been employed by Interpower Corporation since May of 1994. She began employment as a Customer Service Representative. She then became the Company's first Buyer, first Human Resources Assistant, second Human Resources Coordinator, Human Resources Administrator and was named the Executive Vice President and Human Resources Manager in July of 2006.

After growing up in Pella, Iowa, she attended Denver Business College where she received her degree in Accounting. She has further her knowledge by earning her PHR (Professional in Human Resources) as well as her SHRM-CP (Society for Human Resources Management Certified Professional) Certifications. She has served as the President of the SE Iowa SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) Chapter and was an elected council member and Chairperson for Mahaska County (ISU) Extension and served as a School Board Member and Finance Chair for the Oskaloosa Christian School systems. In 2007, she was selected to represent ABI as a member of the Legislative Commission on Affordable Healthcare for Small Business and Families.

She lives on a farm northeast of Oskaloosa with her husband, Steve, and has two sons Tyler and Nathan.

+ BRADLEY BEAM, ILLINOIS ROSE PROJECT

Bradley Beam served as the Illinois Enology Specialist from 2006-2017. He worked with the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association to fulfill the educational needs of the Illinois Grape and Wine Industry. He was the primary education coordinator for the IGGVA Annual Conference, ran the Illinois State Fair Wine Competition, and developed regional workshops to help improve grape and wine quality in Illinois. He also served as wine making consultant to the Illinois wine industry.

He is currently an independent consultant for several wineries around the Midwest. His work focuses on a variety of issues, including those related to starting a new winery, new product development, quality- and efficiency-driven processing methods and adaptations, and just about anything else that comes along. He is also working with the IGGVA on a project to promote a quality-assured signature wine style: Illinois-Grown Rosé!

Bradley believes there is no limit to the potential of grapes and wines in the Midwest, and is committed to helping producers achieve their goals of world-class quality wines in the heart of America.