AGEC student internship in the production sector leads to future career

Written by Kendell Combs, Junior, Agribusiness Management & Agricultural Communication

Madeline Vint (Senior; Food Marketing; Kokomo, IN) spent this past summer working for a company named Black Star Farms, where she was located out of Traverse City, Michigan. Black Star Farms is one of the most respected wineries in northern Michigan, according to Madeline. She had the opportunity to intern for them as they celebrated their 20th year anniversary. Over these past 20 years, Black Star Farms has matured into a successful winery, vineyard, restaurant, and inn. The owner has also started a vine nursery in the vineyard so that the company can offer specific varietal vines to local vineyards. 

Through her internship, Madeline learned the basics of wine making and vineyard care. She was able to participate in racking barrels, cleaning tanks, bottling wine, topping barrels, and blending wine in the cellar. Bleeding is also known as the “saignée method” and it is a way for winemakers to concentrate the flavor in red wine. Madeline also pruned vines in the vineyard and helped to hedge, plant, remove and thin out the vines there. She was able to understand the purpose of business diversification that Black Star Farms has incorporated into its company operations. Because she was in the production sector, Madeline was a part of the wine production from beginning to end. She witnessed first-hand all the steps that are carried out in a business in order for a product to make it to the end-user. 

“This experience was one in a million and I have actually decided to go forth with wine making and get my masters in enology.” Madeline will be studying wines for her next degree. After graduation, Madeline will be returning to Black Star Farms to further my career and education in the wine industry. A perfect example of how internships can lead to a sparked interest in a master’s program or even a full-time job. 

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