Branches Winery: What we’ve learned in five years

By Executive Director Susan Noble

Vernon Economic Development Association

Therese Bergholz and her husband Gene left corporate America and started planting wine grapes near Westby in 2007. Their dream quickly grew to starting a winery. Their dream became a reality in May 2013, when Branches Winery opened. Since then, the vineyards have grown to more than 9,000 vines and the winery produces more than 8,000 gallons of wine each year.

Their experience of going from the medical technology field to become grape farmers and ultimate wine makers has been fraught with lessons — tastes of success and excitement, as well as frustrations and challenges. Therese will share her perspective, infused with humor, on what the couple has learned in running a small, mainly retail wine business. Learn about marketing and branding strategies, how to assess and attract your customer base, as well as what worked and what didn’t work as they developed their new business.

Therese’s professional background includes more than 30 years in marketing and communications roles, including nonprofit, direct marketing and advertising agency positions, to a director-of-marketing position in the medical field. At Branches Winery, she handles branding, advertising, marketing, winery and private special events, as well as managing the tasting room and food service staff.

The meeting will be at the Food Enterprise Center, 1201 N. Main St. in Viroqua, on Wednesday, March 14. Networking will start at 5:30 p.m.; the program will begin at 6 p.m. The I&E club is organized jointly by Vernon Economic Development Association and Viroqua Chamber Main Street. For more information, contact Sue Noble at [email protected] or 638-8332 or Nora Roughen-Schmidt at [email protected] or 637-2575.

The meetings are free, and no reservations are required. Whether you have an idea or just like to think business, join us for a dynamic evening of networking with lots of creative people. Everyone is welcome.

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