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University of Illinois Extension serving Christian, Jersey, Macoupin and Montgomery Counties

Montgomery County
#1 Industrial Park Dr.
Hillsboro, IL 62049
Phone: 217-532-3941
FAX: 217-532-3944
Email: uie-cjmm@illinois.edu
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 12 pm, 1 pm to 4:30 pm

Christian County
1120 N Webster St.
Taylorville, IL 62568
Phone: 217-287-7246
FAX: 217-287-7248
Hours: Monday - Friday 8am to 11:30am, 12:30pm to 4.30pm

Jersey County
201 W. Exchange St.
Suite A
Jerseyville, IL 62052
Phone: 618-498-2913
FAX: 618-498-5913
Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday 8 am to 12 pm and 1 pm to 4:30 pm and Thursday 8 am to 12 pm

Macoupin County
#60 Carlinville Plaza
Carlinville, IL 62626
Phone: 217-854-9604
FAX: 217-854-7804
Hours: Monday - Thursday 8 am to 12 pm; 1 pm to 4:30 pm

News Release

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Diane Forsee to speak at local foods producer seminar

The University of Illinois Extension will host the next local food producer seminar entitled “The Importance of Branding” from 1 to 3 p.m. on Monday, March 13, 2017 at the Christian County and Montgomery County Extension office. March’s topic will feature local vendors with regional branding experience discussing what has worked for them. The seminar will feature Diane Forsee of Coffeen, owner/operator of Forsee Vineyards Inc., who will speak about the importance of establishing a brand, as well as the process of establishing retail distribution.

An adopted daughter of the state of Illinois, Diane Forsee spent most of her life southeast of Napa, CA.  When her husband returned to his home state of Illinois, retiring from the Air Force, she reluctantly agreed to snow, rain, tornados and icy winds in lieu of occasional earthquakes. 

Educationally, Diane has utilized her education at Southern Illinois University in commercial marketing and communication to bring forward a lifetime dream. Optional courses in commercial art, historical art, public speaking and writing courses have all helped her to hone skills necessary in bringing a commercial winery to fruition. Forsee also spent 20 years as a loan officer and then Community Bank Executive for Bank of America, as well as AVP of the national company. She assisted with interpersonal relationship building and as well as developed a finance background involving commercial loans and credit card lending, as well as earning certificates from the American School of Banking in Chicago and Dunn and Bradstreet.

Planting vines in 2003, after 3 years of intense research into Midwest vines and winemaking at Shawnee College, evolved into a winery facility in 2006, followed by a year and a half of wine style development. In February of 2008, the winery opened to the public, which has been open year round since. As of 2017, the winery has expanded 5 times, extending seating capacity from 30 in 2008 to more than 225. Distribution and retail sales have increased wine production from 1,100 gallons in 2007 to more than 6,000 gallons today. This still makes Forsee a small winery in the scheme of things, but allows for greater quality control.

University of Illinois Extension Unit 18 is hosting this free seminar series to help local specialty food business owners achieve success. Classes are held the second Monday of each month through May at both the Hillsboro and Christian County Extension office. The seminars are free and the public can attend any or all of the seminars they choose.

Other upcoming seminars in the series include:

Agri-Tourism - Monday, April 10, 2017 (1 to 3 p.m.) April’s topic will be a panel discussion; representatives from Illinois South Tourism will be part of the discussion. 

Social Media - Monday, May 8, 2017 (1 to 3 p.m.) May’s topic will be presented by Terri Miller, Promotion and Publicity Specialist, UI Extension.  She will address best practices for social media and current trends.

There is no cost to attend the seminars; however, advanced registration is required. Participants may register on-line at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/cjmm/ or by calling either the Christian County Extension office in Taylorville at 217-287-7246 or the Montgomery County Extension office in Hillsboro at 217-532-3941. 

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact our office. Universidad de Illinois ofrece igualdad de oportunidades en programas y empleo. Si usted necesita un ajuste razonable para participar en este programa, por favor póngase en contacto con nuestra oficina.

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Local Contact: Lisa Peterson, Extension Educator, Nutrition and Wellness, lap5981@illinois.edu