Cooking up a passion for business: From cherry farmers to winemakers

With experience in farming and a passion for wine, McKenzie Gallagher, ’12, used the MBA capstone class at Davenport University to design a business plan for a winery in northern Michigan.

“My husband, Creighton, and I had the opportunity to purchase a part of his family farm,” Gallagher said. “We are fifth generation cherry farmers and we wanted to create a business in agriculture where we could control the end product. Between our experience in farming and passion for wine, starting a winery seemed like a natural fit for us.”

At that time, Gallagher was working in the healthcare industry and earning her MBA in Strategic Management through Davenport.

“When we bought our farm, our dream started to come together. But we needed a plan to make it actually happen,” Gallagher said. “That is when I decided to write my capstone on our business plan to open a winery. It really helped me do our due diligence and do the proper research to get our dream on paper.”

In 2016, Rove Estate Vineyard & Winery opened its doors. Although there is no roadmap for entrepreneurship, finding passion in their business is what drives McKenzie and Creighton.

“We opened our doors more than two years ago,” Gallagher said. “Before that point, we had six long years of work into our business that no one besides ourselves could see. We keep our passion alive for our business by incorporating our family and longstanding farming heritage into our winery. We want to share the experience of vine to glass with both our guests and children. This is more than a business to us, it is our lifestyle.”

Visit Rove Estate Vineyard & Winery

7007 E. Traverse Hwy
Traverse City, MI 49684

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