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Image of St Julian and Bronconess Team Receiving Scholarship Check

St. Julian Continues Support of Western Michigan University Student-Led Wine Brand

Paw Paw, Mich. – Students, alumni and community members recently gathered at St. Julian Winery & Distillery on Wednesday, April 17, to celebrate the St. Julian and Bronconess program partnership. 

The Western Michigan University (WMU) based program is presenting students in the Leadership and Business Strategy Program with the opportunity of learning by doing. The brand's core focus is to empower aspiring business leaders by providing resources to market and sell wine side-by-side with experienced industry professionals. 

Following the learning by doing teaching philosophy of professors Dr. Derrick McIver and Dr. Douglas Lepisto, students in the program lead all internal operations. The team manages day-to-day business functions, including leading sales calls, social media marketing, event planning, budgeting, and analytics. 

“Being the Brand Manager of Bronconess has been an incredible journey, providing real-life experiences in team leadership and business management,” shares WMU student Abby Kovacevich. “From hands- on sales experiences to learning everything about running a small business, Bronconess has ignited my passion for my future career in sales. I am deeply grateful for the Leadership and Business Strategies Program at WMU and our partnerships with St. Julian Winery & Distillery and Imperial Beverage.”

St. Julian Winery & Distillery, Michigan’s largest and most awarded winery, has given the Leadership and Business Strategy students access to senior leadership and their facilities to learn the end-to-end process of winemaking, production, and marketing in the industry. During the event, St. Julian presented the students with a check worth over $16,000 that will be used towards the scholarship from earned royalties throughout 2023. 

“This innovative program provides students with hands-on experience in entrepreneurship, allowing them to develop valuable skills and put their education into practice,” states Apollo Braganini II, President at St. Julian Winery & Distillery. “It has been exciting for me and all of us at St. Julian to support this program, watch it grow over the years, and be involved with helping to shape these students' future.”

The current Bronconess product offerings through St. Julian include a sweet raspberry and sweet peach bubbly wine. These wines are available for purchase here and in 100 stores across Michigan with 100% of profits going towards student scholarships. 

“The Bronconess scholarship is important to me because it helped me achieve my education dreams,” expresses Bronconess scholarship recipient Justin Desjardin. “The scholarship made it possible for me to pursue a double major in Leadership and Business Strategy and Accountancy at WMU. This has impacted my future by enabling me to gain valuable skills to use in my future career.”

Since its inception in 2018, Bronconess has awarded nearly $75,000 in scholarships to students who sustain courage and enthusiasm when facing adversity. Learn more about the Bronconess program here

About St. Julian Winery & Distillery

St. Julian Winery & Distillery is Michigan’s largest and longest-operating winery and has been family-owned since its founding in 1921. In addition to the winery in downtown Paw Paw where they produce hundreds of award-winning wines, sparkling juices, spirits and hard cider, St. Julian Winery & Distillery also offers tasting rooms in Dundee, Frankenmuth, Rockford, Troy and Union Pier and distributes to thousands of retail partners throughout the Midwest.