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Presented by Uncork Texas Wines: 2024 Texas Hill Country Wine Symposium

This highly anticipated event spans three immersive days, offering an array of engaging seminars, enlightening lectures, and thought-provoking panel discussions. With over 20 sessions meticulously curated across four dedicated tracks—Vineyard, Winery, Business, and New Vineyard/Winery—the Symposium provides a comprehensive exploration of various aspects of the wine industry.

Join us February 4-7, 2024 at Horseshoe Bay Resort

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Presented by Uncork Texas Wines: 2024 Texas Hill Country Wine Symposium

In 2015, Texas Hill Country Wineries established the esteemed Hill Country Wine Symposium. This event consists of seminars, lectures, panel discussions and an intimate trade show providing you the opportunity to connect with your current Texas clients, while also meeting new potential accounts.

2024 Educational Sessions Agenda

Monday, February 5

8am - Check-in opens - sponsored by Frost Bank & Gore Cold Storage

Coffee sponsored by Tarpon Blue Insurance Advisors

8:30am-4pm - Texas Wine Ambassador Certification Course - Kelsey Kramer, William Chris Wine Company - MAIN BALLROOM


  • NEW VINEYARD-WINERY: I Own A Winery, Now What? - John Rivenburgh, Kerrville Hills Winery - LIMESTONE

- sponsored by Texas Tech University

  • NEW VINEYARD-WINERY: Start with the End in Mind - Liz Mercer, WISE Academy - sponsored by Inland Desert Nursery

- Sure you don't know what you don't now, but what is your idea winery business? In this session, we'll think through crafting your business from the software, the human resources, sales/marketing and more to make your business a success. It may be both what you can do now, but what you can start preparing for to achieve in the future for a successful business - BALLROOM F

10-10:30am - EXHIBITOR BREAK


  • NEW VINEYARD-WINERY: Dynamic Forecasting - Livia Schorlemer, Pedernales Cellars - LIMESTONE

  • NEW VINEYARD-WINERY: Building Winegrowing Partnerships For Award-Winning Wines - Daniel Pate/Apical Texas, Madonna & Tony Phillips/Phillips Vineyard, Janet Miertschin/Portree Cellars - BALLROOM F

- Yes, yes; "It takes a village".  But for enduring partnerships that yield world-class wines it REALLY "takes fully committed villagers".  Two of the most committed villagers in our industry are Tony & Madonna Phillips and Janet & Mark Miertschin.  Join us as we look at how they began their partnership, how their philosophies and slow-but-fast approach make them exceptional, and how their operational practices can guide anyone and everyone to elevate their wineries and vineyards.

11:30-1pm - Lunch on your own (provided for Certification Course)


  • NEW VINEYARD-WINERY: Managing Expectations in the Media - Jessica Dupuy, Journalist - LIMESTONE

- When it comes to getting media coverage, the name of the game is planning, patience, and relationship building. Join wine writer and author, Jessica Dupuy as she shares insight into how to make your Texas wine story something journalists want to share. Bring Your Questions!

  • NEW VINEYARD-WINERY: Do’s & Don’ts of Tasting Room Builds & Remodels - BALLROOM F

Moderator: Kelly Hagemeier - Kerrville Hills Winery with Barbara Lecuona - Siboney Cellars, Justine Thompson - Slate Theory Winery



  • KEYNOTE - Jim Erben, Erben Associates - BALLROOM F

- Succession by Design, Not Default™: Without a written plan, confusion and heartbreak are on the other side of a succession or exit from the business. Jim uses storytelling to provide insight and best practices from his 30 years of succession planning experience. Our proven guide will offer relief to owners — regardless of their stage of business.


4-5:30pm - THCW Annual Owners & General Membership Meeting - THCW MEMBERS ONLY - LIMESTONE

5:30-6:30pm - Texas Hill Country Wine Industry Scholarship Awards & Reception

  • BYOSparkling (drop off at conference center desk)

Tuesday, February 6

8am - Check-in open - sponsored by Frost Bank & Gore Cold Storage

8:30am - Symposium Welcome - MAIN BALLROOM


  • TASTING: Warm Climate Sparkling - Josep Samso, Raventos - sponsored by Rowland Taylor Vineyards - MAIN BALLROOM

  • VINEYARD: Vineyard Management Practices that Influence Potassium and Wine pH - Justin Scheiner, Texas A&M University - LIMESTONE

- High juice/wine pH can be a challenge in hot climates. This presentation will discuss the role of potassium in high pH wines and highlight current research in Texas and elsewhere that aims to mitigate pH problems through vineyard management. 

  • BUSINESS: Marketing ROI - Trevor Kale, Kale Ventures - BALLROOM F

10-10:30am - EXHIBITOR BREAK


  • WINERY: Laboratory, a necessary tool in winemaking, what do you need? When do you outsource analyses? - Bénédicte Rhyne, Wine Country Consulting - MAIN BALLROOM

- Science and trusting analyses numbers are important in winemaking decisions and can have devastating consequences if ignored or not reliable. We will explore the must have as well as have a look at the sophisticated toys from small size to big size wineries in the land of Laboratory Wine Analysis.

  • VINEYARD: Custom Mobile Pressing as a field Juice 'N Go option - Blake Vande Hoef, Integrity Wine Company - LIMESTONE

By utilizing custom mobile pressing in the field, customers see advantages such as hauling savings, increased quality of the product, more throughput at the winery per day, and many more.  This is a turn key and self sustained process that allows us to receive fruit, weigh it via a certified scale, then press to a tanker so that it can be shipped to the winery as juice, skipping the crush pad and going straight to tank. 

  • BUSINESS: Show Me The Money: Understanding Winery Value - Derek Groff, Moss Adams - BALLROOM F

- There are several key factors involved in determining the value of a wine business. Learn the primary financial and valuation drivers in the wine industry as well as how different production and distribution models impact a winery's ultimate value.

11:30-1pm - Lunch - MAIN BALLROOM - sponsored by Comerica Bank

  • THCW Presidents Report - John Catalano, Bent Oak Winery, President and Mike Batek, Hye Meadow Winery, Vice President

  • Texas Crush Survey Report - Justin Scheiner, Texas A&M University


  • WINERY: The Elusive Chemistry of Grape and Wine Phenolics - Maureen Qualia, Texas Tech University - MAIN BALLROOM

We will start with the basics of phenolic chemistry in grapes and wine and then explore the complex chemical reactions that occur during wine production and maturation.  This presentation will include a combination of sensory standards and commercial wines for evaluation. This presentation will include sensory standards for demonstration. 

  • VINEYARD: Xylphi PD; A Phage Based Biocontrol Product for Pierces Disease; Efficacy Studies in Texas Vineyards - Jacy Lewis, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension - LIMESTONE

Pierces disease is a primary limiting factor to production ofVitis viniferain most Texas growing regions. Xylphi PD is a new bacteriophage based biocontrol agent for control of Pierces disease. This product is OMRI certified for organic production and is the only product on the market approved to target the pathogen. Current control methods are focused on vector control.  While extensive testing under typical CA conditions have been carried out, little is known about how this product may perform under the very different environmental and disease pressure conditions in Texas vineyards. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension has completed a single study in a mature vineyard with high PD pressure. Currently studies on efficacy in newly planted vines in vineyards with moderate to high pressure are underway. If results are positive, this could represent a new tool for Texas growers in the prevention and control of PD infection.

  • BUSINESS: Building Your Brand with Intention: A Roadmap to Thrive - Chris Brundrett, William Chris Wine Company - BALLROOM F

A deep dive on how things like intention, purpose and identity make a difference to your brand's success in the wine industry. Take away examples of these concepts at work that you can apply to your growing business. 


2:30-3:30pm - KEYNOTE: Winery design with sustainability in mind - Tony Korman, Korman Development - MAIN BALLROOM - sponsored by Moss Adams



  • WINERY: What defines success for bottling - Mike Goddard, Vine & Spirit - MAIN BALLROOM

- sponsored by O-I Packaging

  • VINEYARD: Sustainability in Texas wine: Starting in the vineyard - Colleen Myles, Associate Professor, Texas State University - LIMESTONE

Sustainability is conceptualized as tripart, encompassing concerns spanning across the ‘three Es,’ environment, economy, (social) equity. In this session, we will discuss the dimensions of sustainability in Texas wine, with a focus on the environment vis-à-vis principles of, and practices for, sustainable vineyard management.

  • BUSINESS: Wine Club - Liz Mercer, WISE Academy - BALLROOM F

- sponsored by WinePulse

- This session will focus on creating (or updating current) wine clubs to promote repeat purchases, loyal customers and a strong revenue stream. From benefits for locals or out-of-area members, attracting new members to keeping members, this session will help wineries think about how they want to establish and grow their wine clubs.

5:30pm-7:30pm - 10th Annual Symposium Reception + Hill Country Industry Awards - PALM PAVILION

  • Wine glasses sponsored by C&C Sales & Marketing/Glass Tech
  • BYOWine - drop off at conference registration desk

Wednesday, February 7

8-9am - Breakfast Tacos & Networking - FOYER

  • sponsored by Trysk Print Solutions

Coffee sponsored by Tarpon Blue Insurance Advisors


  • TASTING: A Tart Taste of Texas Wines - Whites - Andreea Botezatu, Texas A&M University - MAIN BALLROOM

- sponsored by Capital Farm Credit

- Four acidifying methods (tartaric acid, verjus, GOX and ion exchanged) were performed in parallel pre fermentation in white juice. Wines were analyzed for chemical parameters, including target pH, titratable acidity, alcohol, potassium and polyphenols. A side-by-side evaluations of all four treatments plus control (non acidified) will be performed during this tasting.

  • WINERY: Zoran Ljepovic, TUBES USA & Professor UC Davis - From Dusk Until Delivery (or In the heat of the night) - LIMESTONE

Harvest operations and long transport can expose your fruit to enhanced microbial risk from more than just the usual suspects.  How can you identify the culprits and best protect your fruit, so that it arrives safely at your door?

  • BUSINESS: THCW Member Answers to Your Human Resources (HR) FAQs. - Karen Bonarrigo/Messina Hof Winery, Kristen Nelson/Ab Astris Winery & TBA - BALLROOM F

- We will cover HR structures and procedures as applied in each of the three winery business models – covering everything from small, family-run to transitional phases to large, multi-location operations.  Also covered will be items such as PTO policies, bonuses and compensation structures, goals and benchmarking, reviews and feedback, training and consistency, and the ins-and-outs of a written employee handbook.

10-10:30am - EXHIBITOR BREAK


  • WINERY: The Secret Life of Red Wine Mouthfeel Components - Federico Casassa, Cal Poly University - MAIN BALLROOM

  • VINEYARD: Hill Country & High Plains Geology & Grape Growing - Kelsey Kramer & Charlie Franck, William Chris Wine Company - LIMESTONE

- Discover the broad distinctions between the geologies of the two largest AVAs in Texas, and consider the range of grape-growing options that result from the soil's properties. This seminar will start with the depth and age of what is beneath the ground and end with the potential range of effects on flavor and structure in a glass of regional Texas wine.

  • BUSINESS: The Building Blocks of Content Creation - Donna Rene Johnston/Consultant & Kate LaFleur/THCW - BALLROOM F

- sponsored by O-I Packaging

Join us and uncork the power of creating and showcasing your compelling winery story. In this session, we will dive into media kits, A/B-roll footage, viewer psychology, and the power of influencer marketing.

11:30-1pm - Lunch - MAIN BALLROOM - sponsored by Vinwizard

  • KEYNOTE: Emily Hodson, Virginia Wine Research Exchange & Veritas Winery

Promoting Innovation Through Experimentation in Your Wine Industry: The development of a regionalized Winemaker's Research Exchange: Sharing a brief history of the founding of the Winemaker's Research Exchange, its objectives, methodologies and presenting a few of the most recent studies to show how this type of work is crucial to the development of a wine region.


  • WINERY: Rapid Fire Session - MAIN BALLROOM

- Rapid Fire Winery 1 - Amanda Fleming, University of Arkansas, Department of Food Science (VIRTUAL)

Using Non-Saccharomyces Yeast for pH Reduction during Wine Fermentations of Chambourcin Grapes from a Warm Growing Region: Like many cultivars in the United States, Chambourcin (Vitis hybrid) grapes from warmer growing regions can have high pH at harvest, thus affecting wine quality. Acid additions or malolactic fermentation (MLF) can modify wine pH, however use of non-Saccharomyces yeast, such as Lachancea thermotolerans, has been shown to modify pH, acidity, and other attributes during wine production. In 2021, 168 kg of Chambourcin grapes grown
commercially in Arkansas were harvested and transported to the University of Arkansas System Food Science Department for wine production. The grapes were randomized into batches, crushed, and destemmed. Four inoculation treatments in duplicate were
conducted using S. cerevisiae (SC) without and with malolactic cofermentation (SC-MLF) and L.
with a sequential
inoculation with S. cerevisiae (LT-SC) without and with malolactic cofermentation (LT-SC-MLF). Basic composition, sugars, and organic acids were evaluated daily during fermentation for 14 days at 21 °C with all inoculation treatments completing fermentation in 6
days (total sugars < 0.3%). Prior
to inoculation, soluble solids, pH, and titratable acidity were 18.78%, 3.51, and 0.73%, respectively, with
the main acids as tartaric (0.31%) and malic (0.44%). Regardless of malolactic fermentation, by fermentation day 6, titratable acidity, lactic acid, and total organic acids were higher in LT-SC wines compared to SC wines, while pH of
LT-SC wines was lower than SC wines. From fermentation day 0 to bottling, use of L. thermotolerans in Chambourcin wine production resulted in changes in acidity attributes with reductions in pH (~4%) and malic acid (~10%)
but increases in titratable acidity (~55%), lactic acid (64%), and total
organic acids (~58%), regardless of malolactic fermentation. Mixed fermentations with L. thermotolerans and Saccharomyces yeasts produced wines with lower pH and higher acidity, contributing to microbial and color stability, while providing winemakers with options for producing more complex wines.  Acknowledgment of funding sources: Lallemand Inc.

- Rapid Fire 2: Abigail Keng, Texas A&M University

Characterization of Texas Wines by Compositional Analyses: A comprehensive look at Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat wines made in Texas compared to famous regions.

- Rapid Fire 3: Cassie Marbach, Texas A&M University

Exploring How Pronunciation Guides Influence Consumer Wine Selection: This presentation focuses on the exploration of using phonetic pronunciation guides on wine menus as a means to educate consumers and alleviate perceived risks in wine selection. Through a survey-based study, we investigated the correlation between the presence of phonetic guides on menus and respondents' wine choices. The analysis aimed to identify whether the type of menu received could serve as a predictor for selecting either challenging-to-pronounce wines or more familiar, easier to say options. The results were intriguing, revealing that the type of menu received by the respondent had a significant influence on their wine selection.

  • VINEYARD: Rapid Fire Session - LIMESTONE

- Rapid Fire Vineyard 1 - Jacquelyn Wrey, Missouri State University (VIRTUAL)

Distribution patterns of Allorhizobium vitis in Missouri vineyards and non-vineyard soils: Crown gall disease causes significant economic loss to the grape and wine industry. Preventive strategies are most effective for mitigating the loss of grapevines in vineyards, as there is no known cure for this disease. Crown gall is caused by the bacterium Allorhizobium vitis carrying a tumor-inducing (Ti) plasmid. A. vitis bacteria live systemically in the grapevine before causing visible symptoms and can survive in residual plant tissues and in soil for two years or longer.
Diagnostic methods have been developed to detect A. vitis bacteria in grapevines and soil, but more reliable, specific, and high-throughput diagnostics are still needed for screening nursery
stocks and soil. We have found primer sets unique to A. vitis on the origin of replication and the
virulence regions of the Ti plasmid. We have developed procedures and protocols for reliably detecting A. vitis bacteria. Our results showed that A. vitis bacteria are present in soil near and within the sampled vineyard soil, but whether they are tumorigenic requires further investigation. We have conducted a survey of Missouri vineyard soil and grapevines, as well as non-vineyard
soils, to know the distribution of A. vitis. We are currently growing out the bacteria within these samples, which will be used for inoculation on healthy model plants. Whole genome sequencing will be conducted, and the results will help determine tumorigenicity. The outcomes from this research will help the grape and wine industry to develop effective strategies for preventing and
managing crown gall disease in vineyards.

- Rapid Fire Vineyard 2 - Michael Cook, Texas A&M

Maximizing Water Use Efficiency in Texas Vineyards as a Means to Promote Wine Quality and Stability Parameters While Ensuring Grapevine Resiliency Under High Stress Environments: Irrigation management is a ubiquitous challenge in Texas vineyards due to inconsistent weather conditions and varying soils. Many times, this results in inefficient water use and added stress, reducing the resiliency of grapevines (i.e., sustainable production). Therefore, researchers with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service have partnered with five industry associations in evaluating grape resiliency amidst an unpredictable climate and a dwindling precious resource, water. Working together, we have established three trials across three regions with the goal of developing practical and economically feasible tools for growers to implement in their vineyards, appropriate for their distinct region, that will promote wine quality and stability parameters while ensuring vines are resilient and better able to cope with perennial vine stressors such as extreme heat and drought. During this presentation we will discuss previous research that led up to this study, current study updates, and future collaborative opportunities. 

- Rapid Fire Vineyard 3 - Susan Webb, Texas A&M

Evaluating the Viticultural Characteristics of Five New Pierce's Disease Resistant Grape Cultivars

  • BUSINESS: Business Rapid Fire - Decanting Data: Leveraging Tech and Analytics to Elevate Data - BALLROOM F

Moderator - John Cedillo, William Chris Wine Company

WinePulse - Remy Sabiani

RedChirp - Jennie Gilbert

- Join us as we narrate our adventure with WinePulse, where we harnessed its latest features to identify the perfect customer demographic, followed by engaging these wine enthusiasts through RedChirp’s targeted messaging, culminating in a robust increase in customer interactions and sales success.


2:30-3:30pm - KEYNOTE - Justin Jackson, New York Wine & Grape Foundation - MAIN BALLROOM - sponsored by Texas Wine Growers

- Kickstarting Sustainable Viticulture: The challenges and benefits of building a regional sustainability certifiction. Facing increasing climatic instability, viticulturists and winemakers around the world are forced to evaluate their impact on the environment. Sustainable practices may look good on paper but are often expensive and labor intensive. However, consumer demand for sustainably labeled products is on the rise and for commodities such as wine consumers are often willing to pay a premium that can offset added production expenses. A regional sustainability certification is an excellent way to communicate the responsible efforts of viticulturist to consumers. In 2023 the New York Sustainable Winegrowing program officially certified its first vineyards. By sharing the thought process behind the program’s success and failures Justin Jackson, Sustainability Program Manager at the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, hopes that other winegrowing regions are able to kickstart their own certification programs.  

3:30-4pm - Symposium Close - MAIN BALLROOM

Speaker Bios

CLICK HERE to see Speaker Bios

Symposium Event App

Download the Sched app to get the Symposium agenda, venue app, exhibitor table map, along with speaker, sponsor, attendee profiles to connect and network.

Check it out Here

Texas Wine Ambassador Certification Course

Registration (not included with Symposium): $250 per person

Time: 8:30am to 4pm

  • Interactive with printed materials and slides
  • Tasting of 8 Texas wines and one European comparative wine
  • Timed, multiple-choice paper exam in the final hour
  • Pin and certificate awarded upon passing
  • Suggested for professionals, connoisseurs, and even casual wine drinkers. No prior knowledge of wine is required.

The Texas Wine Ambassador Certification is a one-of-a-kind, one-day course aiming at building the reputation and quality of Texas wine knowledge and service. The class was created to support and sustain a region during its era of explosive
growth. Plan to learn the basics of what wine is to the depths of Texas soils, all with the goal of impacting others with Texas-grown wine in a concise and meaningful way.

Every Ambassador will gain the skills needed to combat the misconceptions of Texas wine, identify the core themes of growing grapes within the state, and how to
enhance these wines through service. These core themes include:

  • Why Texas wine looks like the way it does (inside and out)
  • Why Texas wine tastes the way that it does
  • How to make comparisons of Texas wine
  • How to get consumers to connect to Texas wine

 Ambassadors will confidently answer:

  • What are the major challenges of growing wine in Texas?
  • How does the relationship between water and soil affect the grape varieties planted in Texas
  • What is the geological makeup of Texas, and how does this translate to what we smell and taste in the glass?
  • What is the "Modern Era" of Texas wine?
  • What is the influence that different grape species and grape varieties have had on the Texas wine industry?
  • How does the balance of Texas wine differ based on growing conditions?
  • What aspects of Texas wine can we use to compare to other regions in the world? Which regions are these?


  • 8:30 - 11:30pm Lectures, exercises and tasting of white/rose wines
  • 11:30 -​12:30pm Lunch (provided) and networking
  • 12:30 - 3pm Lecture, exercises and tasting of red wines
  • 3 - 4pm Exam

2024 Exhibitors

  • ACIC Cork & Closures
  • Alain Fouquet French Cooperage
  • Allied Ag
  • Amorim
  • Anjudi3
  • AP Performance
  • BarrelHive
  • Berlin Packaging
  • Bernard Barrels
  • BKCW
  • Bouchard Cooperages
  • Bucher Vaslin North America
  • Butterworth, Inc
  • C&C Sales & Marketing/Glass Tech
  • Cadus Cooperage
  • Capital Farm Credit
  • Casa Cristal Nursery
  • Comerica Bank
  • Commerce 7
  • Cooperages 1912
  • Empty Harvest
  • Euro-Machines
  • Flextank/Smak Plastics
  • Foss
  • G3 Enterprises
  • Higginbotham Insurance
  • Hotsy Equipment Company
  • Jim's Supply Company
  • Johnson & Associates
  • Laffite Cork & Capsule
  • MA Silva
  • Nadalie USA
  • Nibiru Confections
  • Nobile Oenologie
  • Novavine
  • O-I Packaging
  • Oak Solutions Group
  • Olavin
  • OrderPort
  • Questco
  • Rack & Maintenance Source
  • RedChirp
  • Rivenburgh Wine & Gore Cold Storage
  • Scott Laboratories
  • SensorInsight
  • Specialty Blends
  • Spectrum Wine Specialties
  • Tarpon Blue Insurance Advisors
  • Texas Hill Country Corkers
  • Texas Tech University
  • Texas Vine Country
  • Texas Wine Lover
  • The Bracero Group
  • TN Coopers
  • Tonnellerie de Mercurey
  • Trysk Print Solutions
  • Uncork Texas Wines
  • Veritiv Corp
  • Vintners Vault
  • Vinwizard
  • Vinx2 Winery Software - Vintrace
  • Western Square Industries/Producers Supply Co
  • Western Weather Group
  • WineCub
  • WinePulse
  • WinStar Insurance Group
  • WISE Academy

Need Lodging?

Enjoy a stay at Horseshoe Bay Resort - Texas’ premier AAA four-diamond lake and golf resort featuring 72 holes of award-winning Robert Trent Jones golf, full-service marina, spa, tennis and waterfront dining on the shores of Lake LBJ.

A group room rate has be set up for this event - use links below to book
Please note rates expire January 4, 2024. Book early to guarantee your discount.

Registration Details

  • Early Bird Registration

    Registration Launch - September 30

    Member* $275

    Non Member $375

  • Symposium Registration

    October 1 -December 20

    Member* $325

    Non-Member $425

  • Symposium Late Registration

    December 21 – February 7

    Member* $375

    Non-Member $475

  • *Member Registration

    THCW Members - Winery, Affiliate, Associate & Growers - receive a discounted registration rate. You will be sent a discount code, if you need assistance, email us

Please use the ADD A NOTE TO YOUR ORDER box in the Cart to enter the business name for your registration and all other names for additional attendee registrations on the same order.

No refunds available after Thursday, January 4, 2024.

MEDIA - contact us for media rate

Registration Includes

  • 3 days of educational sessions

    (not including Texas Wine Certification Course)

  • Lunch on

    Tuesday & Wednesday

  • 10th Annual

    Symposium Reception

  • Tradeshow

Please Note: Registration for the 2024 THCW Symposium does NOT include registration for the Winter Winemaker Dinner or the Texas Wine certification Course. These are separate events and therefore tickets should be purchased separately.

Event Staff

  • Executive Director & Sponsorships
    January Wiese

    Silent Auction Coordinator
    Donna Rene Johnston

  • Comms. Coordinator & Exhibitors
    Kate LaFleur

    Social Media
    THCW Team

  • Symposium Committee Chairs
    Seth Urbanek & John Cedillo

    Karen & Bill Peary

  • Wine Coordinator
    Amie Nemec

    On-site Volunteers

    Madison Hawkins-Murchison, Mckenna Hawkins, Lauren Gagner, Michelle Burdett