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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


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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