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Wine and Grape Conference Louise Corbeil makes it all happen


Wine grape council’s administrator has taken a bottom-line approach tomake annual gathering a success.


By Susan McIver L


ouise Corbeil, administrative officer for the B.C.Wine Grape Council, organizes the council’s


annual conference and provides valuable services to its other activities. The 14th annual Enology &


Viticulture Conference and Trade Show was held during July in Penticton, attracting close to 300 delegates and about 219 trades people associated with the 108 exhibits. The vast


majority of delegates were fromthe Okanagan with a few fromOntario, the rest of B.C. and the United States. “We’d probably havemore American


delegates except for their annual enology and viticulturemeeting being held in late June,” Corbeil said. About two-thirds of the exhibitors


were Canadian and the remainder American. Until Corbeil’s arrival the early


conferences had trouble breaking even financially. “I suggested we have a trade show to


help with the bottomline,” she said. The first was held at Penticton’s


LakesideHotel in 1999 with approximately 100 delegates and 10 exhibitors. Corbeil has also initiated the


sponsorship programwhich helps to bring in funds while providing substantial advertising exposure for the sponsoring businesses. This year there were 12 sponsors. “My goal is to cover the cost of the


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conference. Any excess funds are used to bring in out-of-country speakers for the next year,” she said. This year’s guest was Patrick Vuchot


of France. Planning for conferences begins in


January when the conference committeemeets. “They consider suggestions


submitted by delegates fromthe previous year’smeeting and hold general brainstorming sessions.” Once the committee has established the programit goes to Corbeil to “make it happen”. This year there were 23 plenary


speakers and 20 workshops for her to organize as well as see to all details for the poster presentations, trade show, sponsors, delegates and two social events. Her biggest


challenge is finding the optimum balance between delegates and exhibitors. “Much of the


SUSAN MCIVER Louise Corbeil


time during the conference the delegates are attending the talks and


workshops, which means the


exhibitors are twiddling their thumbs,” she explained. To facilitate interaction, lunch and


coffee are served in the exhibitors’ hall. Corbeil enjoys being able to work


fromher home whichmakes balancing work and family obligations easier. When not working on the annual


conference, she keeps the council books and takesminutes of all board, committee and subcommittee meetings. She also coordinates workshops


sponsored by the BCWGC’s health and safety committee. The topics range fromergonomics of


pruning and tractor training to safe operation of air blast sprayers and what to do about bears, cougars and deer. Corbeil also helps coordinates the


Triggs International PremiumVinifera Lecture Series in late August.


British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Fall 2013 “I take satisfaction in providing good


service to an exciting industry.” Born in Ottawa and raised in


Quebec, Corbeil worked as a secretary in hospitals until she and her husband, DavidMatthew,moved to the Okanagan. In their spare time, David, a retired


teacher, and Louise operate whiskey tasting tours of Scotland.


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