2021 Wild Blueberry Conference

Next Steps in Building a Wild Blue Wine Industry

Dr. Lily Calderwood, University of Maine Extension0:00
Eric Martin, BLUET1:05
Michael Terrien, BLUET8:40
Joe Appel, R.A.S. Wines13:00
Rob Todd & Jason Perkins, Allagash25:10
Lind Nash, Nash Farms40:00
Jeremy Howard, Brodis Blueberries46:00
Simeon Allen, W.R. Allen50:55
Tabitha Perry, Crush Distributors1:05:00
Jeremy Meyer, Garber & Co. 1:11:00
Rowan Jacobsen, Food Journalist1:15:20
Mary Ellen Camire, University of Maine1:29:20
Nichole Sawyer, Washington County Community College1:34:50
Nancy McBrady, Maine Dep. of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry1:40:00
Gray Harris, CEI1:47:30

CONTEXT

  • Millennials and GenZ have fueled the growth of a multi-billion dollar “alternative” drinks market for natural wine, cider, wild/sour beer, kombucha and others by connecting to consumer values: natural, authentic, local, healthy, unique, with a sense of  purpose.
  • Fermented, pure Maine wild blueberry drinks fit this segment and have potential to become a major new industry that can benefit producers, growers, and the entire State.
  • While Maine has the supply, talent, stories and stakeholders to create this industry incrementally over time, a concerted, strategic effort can accelerate growth and seize market share in the disrupted, quickly-changing market–with major consequences.

GOALS

The goals of this convening–part of the Maine Wild Blueberry Conference–is to begin thinking together about the kind of ecosystem (or “cluster”) that has proven critical to significant market growth in the world of wine, cider, beer and other beverages. What already exists?  What is missing?  Why is it worth building?  How would it work?  Who would be involved?

To begin tackling these questions, we are bringing together existing stakeholders in Maine’s wild blueberry world (and beyond) with the emerging producers of wild blueberry wine that targets this “alternative” segment.

While not exhaustive, these include producers, growers, distributors, educators, researchers, State agencies, investors, journalists, and others.

Our goal is to create a trade/working group to help advance this work.

WHO

The ambitious, two-hour session will include many different voices, allowing very limited time for each, yet hopefully offering a collective, kaleidoscopic snapshot of how different people and different worlds could together help shape the future of wild blue wine in Maine.