In addition to offering an extensive array of cutting edge products and services found on the trade show floor, WIN Expo 2017 also offers eight comprehensive winemaking and sales & marketing conference sessions, all of which focus on current industry issues and trends impacting the North Coast.
Speakers include thought leaders and innovators sharing ideas, information, and predictions to help attendees better prepare for the coming year.
All enzymes are not created equal. Likewise, every enological tannin does not have the same characteristics. We will discuss how enzymes and tannins differ and what product attributes will enable you to meet your winemaking application expectations.
The Applied Research Cooperative (ARC by Laffort), has over 40-member wineries across regions throughout California, Oregon and Washington. In 2016, 15 different trials were conducted that focused on the application of enzymes for extraction and stabilization. Additionally, fermentation tannins were used with enzymes to illustrate the synergistic action these components have together for color and tannin extraction, stabilization and preservation.
The best of these trials will be presented by ARC member winemakers who participated in the program and include a comparative tasting of trial wines at 1-year post-fermentation.
On January 1, 2018, adults in California will no longer need a medical card to purchase cannabis. These are uncharted waters for the California wine industry and while “experts” have been predicting the impact since prop 64 passed in November 2016, no one really knows for certain what will happen.
What we do know is that the cannabis industry will eventually play a big role in the North Coast economy and whether you’re for or against legalization, wine’s new neighbor is moving in. If you’re in the wine industry, there will be an impact, but positive or negative, and to what degree, only time can truly answer.
This session will feature cannabis and wine industry experts discussing the latest news, updates on licensing and addressing the ongoing debate, Wine & Weed, friend or foe.
Yeast nutrients play an obvious role in the completion of the fermentation process, but they also have a major impact on the expression of desired secondary aromas. This workshop will focus on why, when and what to feed the yeast and the pros and cons of utilizing DAP and or yeast-derived amino acids, hulls, sterols and B vitamins. We will review the importance of the Ehrlic's mechanism and how amino acids present in fermentation are known to originate esters through it. These esters can contribute in a significant way to the expression of certain fruity aromas like pineapple and citrus in Chardonnay, for example.
AEB together with a panel from 4 different California wineries, will review the impact of yeast-derived amino acids based nutrients, on the overall bouquet of Chardonnay. We will also look at the impact of this kind of nutrition plays in cider fermentation.
Join the panel of participating winemakers for in an in-depth discussion and tasting about what they found to have the most influence on aromatics.
Wine in a can is not new, but the quality inside the can is. Quality now drives the growth of the canned wine category and consumers are responding.
This panel will feature industry experts already canning wine to share their experiences and their predictions on the future of the canned wine category. How have their customers reacted? What were the costs? What has been the reaction from the trade & Media? How have they dealt with the negative stigma attached to canned wines?
For producers who are considering expanding your product line, this is the session to have all of your questions addressed, from small and large scale producers who will be there to share their own trials and tribulations. Finally, don’t just take their word for it, enjoy proof with a small tasting of select canned wines during this session.
Various production methods are used in the wine industry for cold stabilization, but often winemakers look for more economical or efficient solutions. Traditional cold stabilization is generally perceived as time consuming and it requires copious amount of resources. Colloidal stabilizers, such as CARBOXYL METHYL CELLULOSE (CMC) are known to prevent potassium bitartrate crystal growth by preventing microcrystal nucleation as well as inhibiting further growth and precipitation. Their use speeds-up wine preparation, removes the need for refrigeration and reduces production costs and wine losses.
This session, led by Tinus Els of BSG WINE, will compare the use of CMC to Cold Stabilization and will develop an extensive analysis of the costs associated with the two methods as well as their impact on wine quality. Attendees will have the opportunity to taste samples from trial participants.
For a successful application of CMC, it is imperative that every crystal in the wine is in contact with the colloid and that the wine is protein stable otherwise, proteins will have the ability to crosslink with CMC to form a haze. The workshop will also cover this interaction and will showcase the recent PROTEOTEST tool developed by ENOLOGY VASON - for assessing protein stability.
Sparkling wine is no longer only for holidays, special occasions or brunch. Wineries are adding bubbles to their line ups and consumers are loving it. With only a few custom crush options available, producing a quality sparkling wine can feel limiting.
Producers are overcoming this challenge by bringing back a technique from the past by exploring the expressive, sometimes volatile, world of Pétillant Naturel or Pét-Nat wines. Pét-Nat is a winemaking technique, called methode ancestrale, that actually predates Champagne. Simply put, the wine is bottled prior to fully completing primary fermentation, allowing carbon dioxide to be trapped, carbonating the wine, as it finishes the fermentation process.
This session features producers that have embraced Pét-Nat wines along with a specialized retailer to show various perspectives, approaches and consumer promotion. Industry thought leader Chris Sawyer will wrangle this trailblazing group to explore all you need to know about this quickly growing category. During this session, you’ll hear the challenges and advantages of producing this amazing product, how panelists present it to their customers and the reactions they receive.
2017 has seen some of the most significant acquisitions of prestigious vineyards in recent history, driven by the largest wine companies in the world. We’ve also just experienced some of the worst fires in our region’s history and the damages are still being assessed.
What does this mean for you? Whether a small, independent winery or grape grower or one of the large brands vying for the next acquisition, ignoring this activity is ignoring the forces that influence your future market. How will wineries that have counted on those vineyard sources respond? What's driving these acquisitions, and what does it mean for the future supply and demand of premium fruit for the region? Will they drive producers to expand AVA designations and search of fruit elsewhere?
This is a must attend session for vineyard, winery owners or principals looking to understand our current environment and stay one step ahead of the pack.
A panel of experts with first-hand acquisition experience, led by Glenn Proctor of Ciatti Company, will address these questions and discuss anticipated impacts of the recent fires as well as recap the 2017 harvest and current state of the North Coast grape and bulk wine market.
As social media continues its journey towards being THE most important channel for customer communications and wine club retention, wineries are working harder than ever to stand out in the sea of content.
We’ve seen the winemaker videos on Facebook, the pictures of a club event on Instagram, the new release announcement on Twitter, but how else is social being leveraged? How are visual platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat being successfully utilized to not just entertain, but inspire purchases? How do you stay in front of the social curve and what’s the next channel you need to be aware of? Because if you’re busy catching up, it means you’re not keeping up.
This session will provide the opportunity to learn from social experts their approach to leveraging the new channels they see trending and how those strategies can be applied to grow your customer base, your brand loyalty and ultimately, sell more wine.
Born on a tiny island in British Columbia, Canada, traveling to school in a little boat called the Onward, Faith could hardly have seen her future as a winemaker, even with a crystal ball.
After working in marketing and sales in the boating industry in Canada, Faith discovered her interest in winemaking by taking a position in wine promotion, marketing and sales in California. The more she learned about wine, the more her interest in grew. Her leap into production came from spending a day helping out at a winery, she shoveled her first fermentor and was hooked.
What followed was a full Regents Scholarship to the University of California at Davis, and a Degree in Viticulture and Enology with Highest Honors in 2006.
After graduation, Faith began working for Frank Family Vineyards, where she was soon promoted to Assistant Winemaker. Her husband, Sean Foster, is also a winemaker, and the demands of a growing family (four children), contributed to the decision to go into business for herself.
Purchasing her first grapes in 2009 from a Mendocino grower whose practices she admired, Faith launched her own brand, Onward Wines.
"The feeling I get is that people are considering bubbly more as an everyday wine now since there are lots of yummy and reasonably priced options. The fact that sparkling wine is still taxed as a luxury good seems silly, there are now lots of options in both domestically made and imported bubbly that are very affodable. Many of these options are also interesting, well made and oh so refreshing, making it the perfect choice for life's everyday. I am a believer that everyday is a reason to celebrate, so maybe it is a combination of a changing of mindset and an increase in affordable selections."
"I fell in love with the style of Pét Nat from tasting European selections, I love all bubbly, don't get me wrong, but Pét Nat differs in a few key ways which really appeal to me. It has nothing added, making it a really clean expression of sparkling wine, no added yeast, sugar or any number of other things that are often added to other methods of sparkling wine making. It has lower pressure, this makes the experience of bubbles softer and I really enjoy this as do my consumers. When I decided to make my first Pét Nat, it was a spur of the moment decision because I was excited about the Malvasia Vineyards potential as a Pét Nat style wine, but after doing it once I can't imagine my winemaking life without making Pét Nat, I absolutely love it. On a practical side, Pét Nat is low tech, which means I do everything by hand, this allows me to produce my own sparkling wine without added equipment needed to produce methode champenoise. This means I can make Pét Nat in a still wine making facility instead of the alternatives which would be outsourcing it or buying a bunch of sparkling wine making equipment. Having machines make things a lot more practical and efficient, while doing a method that doesn't require them takes more elbow grease and increases risk it also opens up the possibility to someone who is a small/self funded brand owner such as myself."
"I believe it will continue to increase, sparkling wine, or bubbly as I often refer to it, makes people happy and with more and more affordable delicious choices I see more happiness! I think that fun alternative methods like Pét Nat help break down barriers that were keeping sparkling wine a special occasion category. For example, beer drinkers love Pét Nat, it has several qualities that appeal to these consumers, such as softer bubbles, unfiltered/low intervention qualities, and small artisan producers. We are experiencing local/domestic growth in sparkling wine with lots of interesting small production options and we are also seeing increase selection of imported sparkling wine thanks to small importers and distibutors, these things combined open up consumers to better selections which I believe will help drive an increase in sales growth."
"As I mentioned in question 2 the purity of expression and the lower pressure are things I really love about Pet Nat. I don’t always like Pet Nat, they can have a lot of flaws which I struggle with, but when excited well they are everything I love about a more natural style wine, fresh and alive and inviting. One of the reasons that my style holds true to the old school methods and is not disgorged is that this give the consumer some experience of the aromatics of fermentation. Usually once a wine is finished these aromatics are no longer present, but with an un-disgorged Pet Nat the first thing that fills the noise is a yeasty fermentation smell that is like sticking your noise over a fermenting vat of wine, this smell is one we love as winemakers and being able to share it with a consumer that might other wise never experience it, is one of Pet Nat’s many gifts. "
Bryan Avila, a native San Diegan, started work in the Southern California grocery industry prior to joining the United States Marine Corps Reserve as a diesel mechanic. Today, Bryan is an international consulting winemaker with over 15 years of experience. During that time he has made over 1,200 lots from over 25 different grape varieties from almost every appellation in California. As a winemaking consultant, Bryan has provided his advisory services to governments, universities and scores of vintners and winemakers on the west coast as well as in Mexico, China, Vietnam and South Korea helping them with quality management, sustainable practices and wine style development. On his journey to become a Napa Valley winemaker, he directed the winemaking program as tenured faculty for Napa Valley College’s wine program teaching students to make award winning wines. Bryan has also served as a Wine Judge for several wine competitions including Sunset Magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle. Today, Bryan Avila is the Winemaker for the historic Pope Valley Winery.
Claudio Basei was born and raised in Italy and graduated in Enology and Viticulture at Milan University. His early career started in Alba (Piedmont), working primarily with Nebbiolo (Barolo and Barbaresco), Barbera and Dolcetto grapes. In 1998 he joined the winemaking staff at Tenuta Ornellaia, Bolgheri (Tuscany) mostly working with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Sangiovese to produce Super Tuscan wines. In 2000, he began his venture at Azienda Agricola Fratelli Muratori, Adro (Lombardy) where he specialized in producing “Champagne method” wines using Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Viognier and Roussane. In 2007 he left his home country to start a new challenge in California, at Cacciatore Fine Wines and Olive Oil Corp. (CWO), in Pixley, Tulare County.
Claudio's current position with CWO is currently Director of Winemaking and General Manager.
"Besides ensuring the YAN is at an adequate level, the objective of feeding the yeast with a DAP free product is to enhance the production of esters while also limiting the production of Ethyl acetate."
"In our trial, the objective is to evaluate if the amino-acidic nutrition would have been beneficial to the intensity and stability (over time) of tropical flavors for a non MLF-100% stainless steel chardonnay."
"By adding biomass I’d expect the wines treated with an amino-acid blend to have a higher mouthfeel"
"Still early to give a definitive answer; however, there are some differences in aroma profile and mouthfeel."
Neil Bernardi is the Vice President of Winemaking for Duckhorn Wine Company. Bernardi has held many positions at Duckhorn Wine Company over the last 12 years. He was winemaker for Migration Wines in the Russian River, then GM of Sonoma County Winegrowing, directing grower relations, winemaking, and vineyard management for Decoy Wines. He now divides his time between the seven DWC wineries in Washington, Northern California, and the Central Coast. When he is not in the cellar or vineyard Bernardi spends time with his wife, Kim, and their three children.
Marco Bertaccini was born and raised in Italy. He developed a taste for wine and winemaking when working in a farm in Emilia Romagna. Bertaccini worked 5 harvests at the farm while studying Agriculture at the University of Bologna. He graduated in 1996 with a thesis on aging wine on oak and the influence of tannins extracted from lignified stems.
Berticcini then completed his Masters at UC Davis between 1998 and 2000, doing his research in the Bisson’s Lab. When he moved back to Italy he always missed the Pacific. Bertaccini made wine in Sicily and then moved with his family back to San Francisco. He started up AEB USA in 2009 and is now the general manager and technical advisor for the United States branch of AEB.
After nearly a decade of teaching, conducting research, and managing campus wineries at both Fresno State and Cal Poly Universities, Matt has recently returned to full-time winemaking. He now holds the role of Luxury Winemaker for Treasury Wine Estates on the Central Coast.
"Definitely not. Although many enzymes on the market perform similar primary functions, the subtle differences between them can lead to highly impactful changes to ease of processing, aromatic profile, and risk mitigation with regards to potential off flavors and aromas."
"With under-ripe or minimally aromatic reds, preserving fresh fruit aromas while extracting as much color and flavor as possible is the goal. If maceration is too aggressive, freshness and fruit aroma can be lost. More moderate maceration with an enzyme addition will help achieve better extraction and softer mouthfeel without beating up the skins and driving off the valuable aromatics."
"Yes I do agree that this is a concern. However, selecting the right tannin and utilizing it at the proper concentration will actually fill in mid-palate and can round out a bitter and stringent finish. The key is selecting high quality tannin that will build volume and stabilize color, and only adding enough to achieve your goals and not enough to push the wine into astringent profiles."
"Enzyme tannin combinations definitely help challenged fruit the most, but even high quality fruit can be shifted into more rich, powerful, and colorful finished wines using this technique. For me, the use of enzyme and tannin on sound high quality fruit is a stylistic decision. They can help create wines that are noticeably more dark, dense and concentrated. Not necessarily something every Pinot Noir producer desires, but many other varieties can really benefit from this technique."
"Consumers generally prefer darker richer wines with heavy mouthfeel. Enzymes and tannins can definitely shift a wine towards that goal."
Jared Brandt’s interest in wine began when he worked at a small neighborhood restaurant, in Atlanta Georgia where he attended college. He learned to upsell wine as an opportunistic way to make more tips. This edge led him to begin actually learning about and studying the bottles that he was selling and eventually sitting in with distributors when they came to sell their portfolio.
After college, Jared moved to California and began working in technology, where he met his now wife and winemaking partner, Tracey Brandt. They spent much of their free time as very active consumers of wine: visiting vineyards, and wine tasting. In 2002, Jared and Tracey spent a sabbatical year in France working with natural wine producer, Eric Texier. When they returned from the Northern Rhone, they started Donkey & Goat winery following the same traditional, handmade techniques that they were taught and inspired by.
They source their fruit from organic, biodynamic, or sustainable vineyards in El Dorado, Anderson Valley, Mendocino Ridge, and Napa Valley. In the cellar nothing is removed and nothing is added save minimal effective sulphur (some wines are no sulphur added). The Donkey & Goat wines are bottled without stabilization, fining or filtration. While not required, they include the ingredient list on the back label which is remarkably short: grapes and minimal sulphur.
Jared's first Pet Nat experiments were with the 2008 vintage. The 2011 vintage led to their first commercial release of a pet nat - Lily named for their second daughter.
Joe Ciatti has more than forty years of wine industry experience, a deep network of industry influencers, and a long track-record of high profile vineyard and winery transactions in California, Oregon, and Washington. At Zepponi & Company, Joe’s long-term relationships and proven track record of successes have proven to be an asset during negotiations. His understanding of the wine industry aids in creating mutually beneficial opportunities for both buyers and sellers.
Joe's grandfather, Giuseppe Bagnani, owned Sonoma County's Geyser Peak Winery in Alexander Valley for several decades after Prohibition ended. Joe’s early accomplishments included establishing Joseph W. Ciatti Company and growing it into the world’s largest brokerage of grapes and bulk wines, with offices around the world. In 2005, he became Chairman and CEO of Vintage Wine Trust, a real estate investment trust that was devoted to vineyard and winery properties. Joe received his undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon.
Zack Crafton grew up on the east coast, just outside Washington DC. After a few years as a national security consultant (including stints in the Pentagon and Whitehouse), he moved to Atlanta GA where he ran operations for McMaster-Carr. While in Atlanta, Zack earned his MBA and began his journey as an entrepreneur founding a variety of for-profit and non-profit companies. After 6 years of great barbecue and fun accents, he left the south to join his brother in wine country – Napa CA. Zack consulted for a few high-profile wineries before joining a little-known wine startup, NakedWines. For 3 years Zack ran the operations for NakedWines serving as Global Operations Director and ultimately Vice President of Operations. He left in mid-2017 to apply his direct to consumer and luxury agriculture skill set to the cannabis industry. He now serves as CEO and Founder of BigMoonSky.com along with two other former NakedWines execs. When not sitting in meetings, he sips a cold beer while on the advisory board of Bay Area beer startup Hopsy. When not drinking beer, Zack checks on his private wine venture – a California Tannat.
A twenty-year industry veteran, Jim Doehring is the founder and creator of beverage company Backpack Wine. Jim began his career at Richard Melman’s Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, managing several restaurants while helping to design profitable beverage programs across the company. The beverage industry then led him to the Terlato family’s Pacific Wine and Spirits, at that time the leading fine wine distributor in Chicago. Jim managed the Chicago Metro market, helping to establish a variety of fine wine brands with his team of salespeople.
For ten years, Jim used his relationships and business acumen to manage the growth of Nickel & Nickel, Far Niente and Dolce. He channeled his fine wine passion to help create and launch two new wineries, En Route and Bella Union. Jim now oversees the production, sales and marketing efforts for Backpack Wine and resides in the Chicago area with his family.
"My own failed picnic adventure with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc that, for a lack of a corkscrew and cracked cups, ended up being a less romantic surprise for my wife than I had hoped for. I knew canned wine wasn’t new, but I saw an opportunity for a brand to put consistent quality in convenient, take-anywhere cans...and a way for me to prevent another hopeless romantic from ruining an anniversary surprise!"
"There definitely will be a continued growth in the canned wine category, with more choices than ever before in the space and the ability to market wine in a novel way that attracts all wine lovers. Millennials, our core demographic, are drawn to the practicality and idea of being able to take their wine on the go. There’s a lack of great quality currently in the canned wine business, I predict it will only expand and bring on more competitors with the same desire to bring excellent quality canned wine."
"Our feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Our customers are always shocked and pleasantly surprised when they take their first sip. They don’t expect such great taste and consistent quality like we offer. We stand out because our canned wine breaks through most misconceptions of canned wine, our customers quickly learn that canned wine can be great if done right."
"There’s been a very positive reception in the trade. In our first year, we’ve put Backpack in nearly 1,000 stores across the US, with even more expansion to come in the next few months, and we are doing exceptionally well in the on-premise arena because of the efficiencies canned wine offers over bottles and corks. Some of our biggest non-traditional successes have come from sports arenas, concert venues, country clubs, tailgate venues, outdoor festivals and my personal favorite: providing Backpack at Soldier Field for my hometown Chicago Bears this coming season."
Tim has been around the wine since the age of 4 when he “helped” his father crush his first batch of Zinfandel in 1980. Tim officially entered the wine industry in the 90s working with his father to start Creekside Cellars in Evergreen, Colorado. After working in Australia, New Zealand and Washington in various industry positions he is now serving as the Director of Winemaking for College Cellars where he has been employed since 2010.
Tim has an M.S. in Oenology from the University of Adelaide, a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Northern Colorado and nearly 3 decades of hands-on winemaking experience. He has spoken nationally and internationally to numerous trade groups including the Washington Wine Technical Group, Washington Wine Growers, British Columbia Wine Growers, Colorado Association for Enology and Viticulture and the internationally acclaimed Masters of Wine.
Since Tim started teaching at College Cellars of Walla Walla, the student made wines under his tutelage have garnered nearly 1,000 medals in local and international competitions including numerous, gold medals, double golds and “Best of” awards. Tim has a fantastic appetite for life and family and good wine shared with good food and friends.
"It is inexpensive, easy to use and in many cases has a positive influence on wine flavor."
"Not as of right now, everything I have trialed has a negative flavor/cost implications."
"Most Favorite: For equipment, mechanical harvesters with destemming/sorting technology on board, high solids crossflow filters, ultra-filtration for molecular level wine correction; For technology, rapid phenolic analysis on fruit and wine; For products, CMC has really been a game changer for me. I also find the chitosan based fining agents for bacterial/brettanomyces reduction rather interesting. Least Favorite: My mom once told me, "if you don't have anything nice ot say, don't say anything at all.""
"The wizard is best left unmasked."
Monika Elling is the CEO and Founder of Foundations Marketing Group, a company launched in May 2010 to address the growing strategic communications and brand-building needs of the wine and spirits sector. Monika has years of experience in the global trade on the supply as well as the import/wholesale sides, having most recently served as Director of Public Relations at Lauber Imports, a division of Southern Wines & Spirits, America’s largest wholesaler. Prior to joining Lauber, Monika held the position of Chief Marketing Officer for Monarchia Matt International, where she launched the European Company’s American division. She is a thought leader and innovator in the global wine & spirits industry, and with FMG, created a unique platform to embrace the latest market innovations in the U.S. wine sector. Monika is a noted speaker and author, with an upcoming book release on the topic of wine education. She is a regular presenter at numerous industry events on topics of Social & Digital Media and the State of the Wine and Spirits sector. Monika is a regular contributor to blogs on LinkedIn and Medium, with her latest article titled: Wine & Spirits: The U.S. Marketing Challenge . She also appears in global industry news such Harper's U.K, Huffington Post, and the Beverage Media Journal.
"Social Media is a direct connection to the consumer. In a three tier system like ours, wineries very often communicate more with the trade then the person who should be sipping their wines at the dinner table. Social Media cuts through the noise and allows for direct interaction."
"Engage, and stop shoving your bottles into every interaction. Be authentic, and stop behaving like a pushy sales person."
"You would be surprised! Social Media is not just for Millennials, and this trend will continue to rise. 64% of adults 50-64 have at least one social media site. 34% of adults 65+ have at least one social media site"
"Social media will be reaching a full spectrum of ages, starting earlier and extending through a person’s life. Brands will consider VR and live content more aggressively as part of their marketing."
"Different platforms exist for various reasons, but visually driven content is king. Instagram will continue to lead the charge, but innovation on other, existing platforms can change the game."
Raised near Johannesburg South Africa, Tinus Els decided to spread his wings and attended the Elsenburg College of Agricultural in Stellenbosch, where he earned a Diploma in Viticulture–Husbandry and Diploma in Science and practice of cellar Technology. He entered the wine industry as Winemaker/Viticulturist at a small winery in Paarl for 2 years, then moved to bigger wineries and complete 5 harvest in Stellenbosch and Robertson regions. Tinus joined a team of UK based Flying winemakers in 1999, which he complete 6 years of intense project winemaking in Bordeaux, Languedoc , Spain , Chile and South Africa. He accepted the CEO / Winemakers position for the Laroche Group back in South Africa in 2005 and overseeing all aspects of operations and winemaking at L’Avenir Vineyards in Stellenbosch for 7 years. After the economic crisis impact on the South African Wine Industry in 2013, Tinus joined Vivelys US in California as Technical Consultant. He worked during the next 3 ½ years on Fermentation and Ageing technology with more focus on the integration of Oxygen and Oak. After 16 years of French collaborations, he join BSG team in December 2016 as Technical Sales Manager for Sonoma and Pacific North West.
With a passion for people and traveling, Tinus energetic style illustrates how enjoyable he finds winemaking and now, small global wine community.
"It's easy to use, doesn't change flavor profile and this innovation may save megawatts of electricity used to chill wine."
"No, because of its absorbing capacity and it has too many diverse uses. We can reduce the amount we use by ageing on lees and the use of tannins during fermentation and ageing. Why reinvent the wheel if its been with us since 1898."
"Favorite: Micro Oxygenation and DO sensors - this is a tool that assists with precise control ageing. Least Favorite: Synthetic Corks - I just love Portugal and the cork industry too much and there is just so much more to a wine with a real cork."
"Yes, if they wish, but I am a consumer and the products are so much better the less I know about human and technological interference."
Leo Facini is the United States Technical Director for the VASON GROUP including Enologica VASON and JUCLAS srl headquartered in Verona, Italy with USA offices in Napa, CA. Mr. Facini is from Friuli, Italy where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Enology & Viticulture from the University of Udine. He has worked for wineries all over the world including Bastianich & La Viarte in Italy, Chateau d’Aiguilhe en France, and Golden Grape Armas in Armenia. As a winemaker of the world he speaks 5 languages: Italian, English, Spanish, Armenian, and French. Mr. Facini has won numerous Wine Awards from Decanter World Wine, World Wine Symposium, International Wine Fair, and the Areni Wine Festival. He is a member of the National Winemakers & Wine Technicians Association of Italy and is an active member of the OIV through various research projects in conjunction with the Enologica VASON R&D laboratory.
Chip Forsythe graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2009 with a degree in wine and viticulture. While there he worked 5 harvests and apprenticed under 4 different winemakers. Instead of getting a real job he made wine in trash cans in the backyard and sold the bottles to the kids in the dorms.
After graduation he started his first winery SLO Down Wines, making only one wine; Sexual Chocolate. He grew the winery and sold it in 2012. Seeing that the wine industry still needed something new, in 2013 Chip started Rebel Coast Winery with Doug Burkett. They now get to travel all over the country selling their two wines, Reckless Love and SUNDAY FUNDAY.
"LOL, its called the Internet, and I've been told it has a farther reach than the local newspaper... With a well curated photo and $200, you can reach 9k folks interested in drinking wine within 2 miles of each of your retailers... It's incredibly powerful."
"Being genuine. Faking it on social media in incredibly easy to see through with a quick Google search, and nothing is more lame then someone trying to be cool. But categorizing millenials like that is just a generic as me saying, "how do I get the attention of old people?" It does not work that way. "
"They respond the the same way anyone does with social. They just don't use it as much. Everyone wants to live vicariously through what is on the screen in front of him or her. Everyone gets a rush of endorphins when someone likes their photo, and feels a longing when they see a happy couple in a tropical laction, or a tan babe in a bikini. It is just not used as much."
"Not VR... More mobile videos. A lot more videos. A lot of people hate their jobs, have free time, and don't like to leave their comfort zone, so for a little screen that destroys boredom for 15 seconds at a time things are good. "
"Videos. Live videos are genuine, free and fun to make. But see above :)"
Erin Gore is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Garden Society, a cannabis confection company started in early 2016. Originally from Wisconsin, Erin made Sonoma County her home in 2011. After completing her degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2006, Erin began a decade-long career with Henkel, where she managed a global adhesive business valued at nearly $100 million.
Erin’s most-recent enterprise, Garden Society, developed out of her own need to explore non-traditional ways of managing the pain and stress of multiple hip surgeries. She quickly realized the holistic benefits of cannabis as a means of providing a better quality of life without prescription drugs, and in doing so found an opportunity to fill a void in the market with low dose edibles that highlight the renowned food culture of Sonoma County.
In 2016, after much of her own research and experimentation, Erin joined with prominent Chef, Kolin Vazzoler, with the goal of creating artisanal confections made with low doses of cannabis that would enrich and help balance women’s lives.
"New visitors, and in turn, new consumers. Innovation in sustainable farming and labor practices. New and unique marketing."
"As with any change, there are going to be opportunities as well as challenges. People talk a lot about labor and land – for example. I think that with the right and fair policy, many of the current concerns within both industries will be mitigated. That’s why I’m working with local and state government policy makers to ensure that they have a better understanding of what the cannabis industry needs for success, with community education and safety in mind."
"Having a team with experience in both industries, I think there is opportunity for the cannabis industry to learn from the post-prohibition wine industry. What has worked, what hasn’t, and why. We are all neighbors, members of a community – so, I’d say if you are someone wary of one industry, get out there and meet the members of that community and start talking to each other about your concerns. Work together. We are in a unique moment in time where both industries could band together and innovate in so many ways. From more sustainable farming practices to fair labor policies to transformative marketing. It’s all exciting."
"Education is always a good place to begin. Educating personnel as well as educating our consumers about responsible consumption. Making sure we are responsible stewards of the land we farm, sharing best farming practices, collaborating on resources. Fighting the good fight together to build good policy on both a state and local level for both cannabis and wine."
As the CEO of Little Arrows, Marci is obsessed with creative social media that drives real business results. Little Arrows sticks up for social and put it front-and-center, integrating it into growing brands’ marketing and business strategies in ways that are both creative and accountable.
Marci has spent the past 17 years designing, building, and marketing digital experiences. In her work, she seeks to identify places where real behavior and technology intersect, and to strategize solutions that take advantage of these opportunities. She is also widely recognized as a thought leader in digital strategy in the communications industry, speaking at events such as SXSW and Cannes and teaching several courses at Miami Ad School.
"Social media is the single most cost-efficient and effective channel for growing awareness. It reaches highly targeted, real people for the lowest CPMs of any channel. Studies show that frequent awareness ads in social drive brand lift and purchase intent among consumers. Want your customers to remember you when they're browsing the shelf? Then social media is your most effective channel."
"In social media, everyone presents their lives through rose-colored glasses. We don't show the moments when we're messy in our pajamas; we share the times when we're dressed up and at a fabulous restaurant. Millennials are geniuses at self promotion and perception. Our job as marketers is to show them the life that they want to lead - and to allow them to imagine themselves living it. Showing aspirational moments of curated picnics, wine tastings, and social get-togethers appeal to everyone's sense of vanity. We want to be part of those gorgeous moments, and sharing aspirational photography is the best way to invite our customers in."
"Data shows that older generations are rapidly catching up in their usage of social media. Like millennials, their needs follow basic human nature - can I identify with this content? Does it reflect who I am as a person? These questions can be answered by very similar solutions to those provided for all age groups. However, showing an older generation in photography can help engagement and identification."
"Snapchat ushered in the age of live video, and it's here to stay. Instagram Stories have rapidly caught up to Snapchat's features, and have the bonus of the Facebook network's strong targeting and analytics. Developing a plan to showcase live video multiple times per week is becoming essential brand engagement."
"In general, it's important to note that engagement on social channels as a whole is falling. Why? It's because 42% of US adults use Facebook to get their news. The consumption model on social is changing to one of observation rather than participation. Our question as marketers is: how do we grab awareness and attention when people are only observing?"
Heather Irwin is the editor of EmeraldReport.com, a cannabis-focused website produced by the Press Democrat. She focuses on lifestyle, trends, products and the people who make Northern California the marijuana capital of the world. When she isn’t writing about cannabis, she is the dining editor for the Press Democrat and Sonoma Magazine and writes a weekly column called BiteClub.
"I think the pendulum will swing. The cannabis business is still so young, when it comes to being legal. Wine is a very mature business. I think there are bound to be some struggles between the two as cannabis settles in to being a more established agricultural product in the county — with guidelines and permits and such. I think it can be a beautiful collaboration, just like wine and food, and smart wineries will see that adding a cannabis experience to their lineup could really bring more young folks to events. I’ve been to a couple of cannabis dinners held at wineries or on winery property and it is just a wonderful match. A glass of wine, a puff or two of cannabis and some great food — what a delightful evening. Again, there will be a curve, and microdosing will be important so people can have fun and not go overboard. I’ve seen a lot of progressing in using low THC or high CBD products at events. This is an adult pleasure, but many people aren’t aware of their limits or how to use cannabis safely, so there will be big learning curve."
"Money. We’re seeing this land rush for cannabis right now, and I think that will peter out in a couple years and shrink substantially. However, I don’t think we’ll ever be like the central valley where massive warehouses and grow-ops are happening on an industrial level. Much like bulk wines of that region, that cannabis will be primarily for a lower-end recreational market, I think. The promise for the North Coast is to remain artisan, family-operated and high-quality — much like our wines. If wine and cannabis start fighting amongst themselves in the region, I think we’ll miss a huge opportunity and it will deter visitors.
Overall, I think we’re in for a ride over the next couple years as all of this shakes out. The best advice I can give is for the two industries to get to know each other on a personal level. I think bringing everyone together at events like the Wine and Weed Symposium and the WIN Expo is a really great way to do that."
"First off, I can only address what will be the legal and permitted cannabis industry. Sadly, I think that will only be a tiny fraction of the grows on the north coast because of the barriers to entry. The bad news is that there may be some really bad players in the illegal market that will create negative impacts for everyone. Hopefully regulation enforcement will shake some of that out. But we need to make sure to separate out the good players from the bad. There aren’t a lot of illegal wine grows out there, so it will take education for the winery industry.
As for legal growers and the wine industry: From the wine folks I’ve talked to, most are curious and interested—maybe a little concerned about the unknown—but the negative impact hasn’t happened yet as far as I know. And I think it’s a bit early to start stoking the fires of what could happen—these are both highly-regulated agricultural crops that can and should be able to live in harmony. There may be misunderstandings about the kind of people involved in growing and potential security risks, but my opinion is that start-up costs, land and permitting are so prohibitive to marijuana growers you aren’t likely to have a lot of irresponsible players in the legal market. The marijuana growers are spending vast amounts to money and they’re going to protect their investments. Also, a lot of folks growing in the region, especially Sonoma County, have been here for generations and the public just didn’t know it. These aren't back-wood grows. The best thing for everyone involved would be to work together to create a high-end luxury experience that mimics the wine and food existing businesses here. Because of incredibly intensive testing that will be happening on cannabis, growers have to be “clean”, and I think it’s wine overspray that will be the biggest worry to the cannabis industry. Not the other way around."
"Again, I’m not sure I see this happening. Most people Ive talked to are curious, especially when it comes to cannabis folks wanting to be acknowledged by the wine industry. A huge misconception is that folks in the cannabis industry are lazy stoners. Sure, there are some, but most of the people I’ve met are incredibly smart, motivated scrappers who can bring some new ideas and new life to the North Coast agricultural industry. They are worried about pesticide drift."
"Legal outdoor cannabis growers have to be stewards of the land, because of their investment and the risks to the crops. We see this at responsible grows already. Many families have worked the land for cannabis for generations and are some of the most talented farmers I’ve met. Pesticides and fungicides will be very limited for permitted operations, so again, it will be important for everyone to be on board—you can just spray Roundup or Eagle 20 on cannabis plants and expect to sell it. I actually think that cannabis can bring some renewed interest in sustainable wine growing. Mike Benziger has been instrumental in teaching large growers like SPARC to grow biodynamically — it’s a win-win for cannabis since they will have a cleaner product and use the environment to help manage pests, water, etc. As for responsible hospitality — I’m guessing this means tasting rooms and such? That issue, for me, is still not really baked (excuse the pun). You can’t “spit” when you sample marijuana. The best way to promote responsibility, I think, would be by creating packages for travelers that would include an overnight stay, wine, food and cannabis experiences. That, or touring groups where there is a drive.r I don’t think you’ll drive around to tasting rooms for cannabis like you do for wine. It’s just too dangerous."
French born, and trained, Franck Lambert benefits from his exposure to the wines from France and California. He developed his skills making great whites and reds, in Alsace, Bordeaux, Languedoc, South Africa which led to graduating with Master's degree in Viticulture and Enology from the University of Montpellier in Southern France. Franck has worked in various winemaking positions in France learning from the finest winemakers like the Legendary winemaker Michel Roland at Domaine de L'Hospitalet, Languedoc. Franck arrived in California in 2002 as assistant winemaker for Michael David Winery. He was then promoted as Senior winemaker. Under his supervision the production increased from 10,000 cases in 2002, to 350,000 in 2010. He created wines for every brand in the company including 7 Deadly Zins and Earthquake. His expertise has been awarded with numerous gold medals and silver medals in World Class competitions. Since 2011, Franck is a consultant for wineries in Lodi and specializes in custom winemaking for wineries of all sizes.
"When feeding the yeast with yeast nutrient, goal is on whites first: develop the more aromas producing biomass, give the yeast a healthier environment, and eventually increase YAN."
"By providing specific amino-acid, enhance the production of particular aromatic molecules"
"Wine aroma was more intense during fermentation, more bright aromas than it's counter part."
An unflagging passion for the wine industry coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit led Dan Leese to establish V2 Wine Group with his wife Katy and partner Pete Kight in 2010. V2 Wine Group has quickly established itself as a Sales & Marketing powerhouse in just 6 years.
V2’s current portfolio includes owned Brands and partnership Brands, where they provide the Sales & Marketing support to the marketplace. This portfolio includes Steelhead Wines, Lucinda & Millie Organic Wines, Quivira Winery & Vineyards, LaFollette Wines, and Torbreck, as well as partnerships with Toad Hollow Vineyards, Merryvale Family of Wines, Dry Creek Vineyard, and Bouchaine Vineyards, Coeur Clementine, Dobbes Family Estate of Oregon, Donati and Vina Morande'.
Dan was President and Managing Director of Beringer Blass Wine Estates (now Treasury Wine Estates) in North America, where he directed all sales, marketing, finance, administration, production and vineyards for the $700 million unit of then Foster’s Group.
Prior to Beringer Blass, Dan was Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Brown-Forman Wine Group’s U.S. Wine Business, directing all operations for the company’s $340 million wine unit. Dan was with Brown-Forman for thirteen years and held a number of marketing and general management positions with increasing responsibility.
Dan has served on the boards of the Wine Institute and Marin Theater and is a member of the CEO Round Table and the Advisory Board of the University of Northern Iowa College of Business. He has been a guest lecturer at University of Virginia Darden School of Business, Sonoma State University, University of San Francisco, University of California, Davis and University of Northern Iowa.
Jennifer joined The Francis Ford Coppola Winery last summer and is responsible for planning, creative development, partnerships, consumer and trade marketing and public relations to enhance the growth and profitability of the brands. She manages both Coppola and Virginia Dare brands. And she also plays a leadership role in connecting the dots and diverse businesses from a cross promotional standpoint, within the larger lifestyle company, The Family Coppola.
Prior to her current role, she led all aspects of marketing and creative for several entertainment brands, including; HGTV, PBS, DIYnetwork and Great American Country. She directed brand evolutions, redesigns, led consumer-marketing, creative services, partnerships and social media. Jennifer holds a BA in Communications and an MBA. As a wine lover who is passionate about the creative lifestyle, she is thrilled to be in California on this new adventure. She and her husband, Mark, live in Santa Rosa with their 13-year old daughter, Sydney.
"Looking at our most recent addition of the Diamond Collection cans, the decision to extend the brand into cans was based on changing consumers behavior. Today's consumers, particularly younger ones, are very on the go, experience driven and favor portability with many of their choices. Look outside of alcohol at how other industries have changed their products/delivery. From music and books to TV-it's all portable now. The snack food people figured it out long ago - individual portions, smaller bags, unique containers. And, it's definitely worth noting that Francis launched cans years ago with the Sofia Minis. he saw this coming and was an innovator in the space."
"Largely VERY positive! For a certain segment, it may not be the right choice. Might not compliment their lifestyle, as well as their sensibility around wine. But for many of our current consumers, they now have a high quality premium brand choice that they know and love; and can take anywhere. What a great value proposition. And, we're attracting new customers."
"We've received great feedback. They love the package and the wine."
A Sonoma County native, Tawnie has been active in organic and sustainable agriculture including cannabis farming for over 15 years. Her commitment to the environment and to providing local cannabis operators with the tools for success in a regulated market inspired the founding of the Sonoma County Growers Alliance in 2015.
Tawnie has dedicated the past two years to supporting local and state regulators in developing effective policy through industry education and advocacy. She has presented at numerous cannabis conferences from California to Canada; across industry groups from Chambers of Commerce and the Sustainable North Bay to the Farm Bureau and more.
Today her primary work is focused on advancing the professional landscape of cannabis businesses in Sonoma County through collaborative efforts with local, regional and statewide organizations. From economic development to preserving natural resources, Tawnie's commitment to holistic industry growth is representative of the principal values in the Sonoma County Growers Alliance.
"The collaboration and competition will be as dynamic as the personalities in both industries. I believe we have an opportunity in Sonoma County to breed collaboration and create symbiotic relationships that will be a model for other regions."
"A broader demographic for wine tasting and tourism!"
"I believe there is a myth created by nervous winemakers that the regulated cannabis market will chip away at the wine sales. When in fact it may broaden the wine industry's purchasing demographic to pair wine and weed. The cannabis consumer market can be complementary to the wine consumer market. Both have an appreciation of a more refined set of standards from the smell, taste, purity, cultural/regional connection to the desire for a moderate and relaxing cerebral effect."
"Understandably, there is a lack of trust from the operators who have been fighting a decades old prohibition campaign based on false data and Federal misclassification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug.
The concern that a well financed agricultural giant such as the wine industry could learn the cannabis trade and use their lobbying power to develop massive commercial farms that displace boutique farmers is reasonable.
While the Schedule 1 classification prohibits individuals and corporations that hold a liquer license, is does not necessarily stop a winegrape cultivation based corporation or individual from investing in the cannabis industry. There are many agricultural industries looking to try their hand at cannabis cultivation, winegrape growers have the most obstacles ahead."
"The regulations being applied to the cannabis industry will force an evolution in methods, equipment and best practices of the farmer at an incredibly rapid rate. These resources will be available to all agricultural practices that seek to ensure their commercial production does the least harm to our fragile environment.
With 2018 being California's first year for Adult Use sales, the cannabis industry has a lot to learn from wine hospitality. From low impact techniques for farm tours to safety protocols for onsite tasting rooms."
Florent proudly heads Van Duzer’s winemaking program, creating elegant, vibrant blends that he feels can only be developed in such a unique microclimate. To achieve this refinement, he has driven the winemaking focus on small lot processes, sorting and gentle handling. Since starting at Van Duzer in 2010, Florent has closely examined each lot, working with the vineyard manager to grow ideal fruit. A native of Burgundy, France, the physics and chemistry undergraduate was captivated by winemaking when he helped a good friend operate a 40-acre family domaine in Burgundy. He subsequently altered his career path from cinema to wine and in the process met his wife, Krista, an Oregonian, interning at the same winery. Florent received a Diploma of Viticulture from the University of Dijon before relocating to the U.S. A winemaking martial artist, Florent has a green belt in karate and black belt in Pinot Noir.
"There are different classes of Enzymes that target different roles (filtration, thiols release, mouthfeel building...). From what I understand, it's true that there is a handful of enzyme manufacturers in the world, some enzymes might be the same from one supplier to another."
"At my Estate vineyard, the thickness of the skin is significant and I have to use enzymatic action to release the fullness of the must (anthocyanin and skin tannins)."
"Quite the opposite, it allows me to target and fine tune my extraction and avoid astringency (reducing over mechanical extraction) while still building up the structure."
"See question #2, above. Also enzymes can be used for helping filtration, thiols release, etc."
"Yes it does. Taste wine produced by VDV back in the 90s and now and you will see the difference."
David attended UCSB where he obtained his undergraduate degree in Chemistry, and went on to get his PhD in Chemistry from Yale University.
David started his career in Chemistry but soon realized that wine was the route he wanted to take because of the mix of science and craft. Being the scholar he was, he then went to get his final Master’s degree in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis, which brought him to Northern California. Upon graduation, David worked several harvests throughout the world: Cakebread Cellars in Napa, Domaine Louis Latour in Burgundy, and Chateau Tahbilk in Australia. After returning to Northern California, he worked at several well-known vineyards including V. Sattui, Acacia, and most recently Beaulieu Vineyard.
His first impression of Sebastiani Winery was that of a great, old place, full of history. He is thrilled to be working in Sonoma County which in his words is, “in the sweet spot, not too hot and not too cold, making it possible in a very short distance to find great spots for Pinot, Cabernet and everything in between.”
In his free time David enjoys cooking Kung Pao Chicken for his wife and two children. He also likes fishing, abalone diving, camping, and hiking.
"Maybe, maybe not. Who has time to try all the new products? Got to trust your supplier on some things. "
"Yes. Enzymes let you get a jump on extracting cell wall components. Maceration is a game of chicken, how long can you wait until you hit the wall of tannin coming out of the seeds?"
"It can, but it also helps you choose what tannins remain in the wine after is all falls out."
"They help you get the most out of your fruit and lock it in, with a shorter maceration time. Who can wait 20 years for a drinkable Cab?"
Chris is a dedicated wine marketing and communications professional with over fifteen years of wine business experience.
Following graduation from U.C. Berkeley, Chris made his way into the wine business in sales at Scott Street Portfolio. After a year, he was managing all of California, the largest wine market in the United States.
In 2002, Chris joined E. & J. Gallo as public relations project manager at their Healdsburg winery. In January of 2007, Chris left Gallo for Merryvale Vineyards in St. Helena, where he was Director of Marketing and Communications. In 2013, he joined Paul Hobbs Wines to take over marketing and communications for Paul’s various projects domestically and abroad, and in 2016 Chris became the Director of Communications for Rodney Strong Wine Estates.
Chris has been judging wine professionally for over ten years at some of the most prestigious wine competitions in the world, including Finger Lakes International, San Francisco Chronicle, Jerry Mead, and Bacchus of Spain.
Chris lives in Cloverdale, Northern Sonoma County with his wife Alexandra, son Liam, and daughter Sophia Jane.
Erich Pearson is a renowned leader in the cannabis industry – a long-time advocate, legislative consultant, dispensary operator, and cultivation expert. Erich has served on the board of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) since its inception in 2010.
For the last fourteen years, Erich has been one of the country’s strongest proponents of medical cannabis regulation, cultivation and industry best practices. Erich served on the San Francisco District Attorney’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Group. He was instrumental in the passage of San Francisco’s Medical Cannabis Dispensary Act and the relegation of marijuana offenses to law enforcement’s lowest priority. As a result of Erich’s leadership, he was appointed in 2007 by Supervisor David Campos to sit on San Francisco’s Medical Cannabis Working Group. In 2015, with Prop 64 on the horizon, Erich was called back to public service as the dispensary representative to the San Francisco State-Cannabis-Legalization Task Force where he serves to this day.
In 2010 Erich launched SPARC, a nonprofit medical cannabis dispensary dedicated to providing safe, consistent and affordable medical cannabis to patients in San Francisco. SPARC is built on the mission of San Francisco Cannabis Collective, which Erich founded in 2001 with Michael Aldrich to fill the needs of low-income qualified patients whose doctors had prescribed medical marijuana to address serious illnesses. SPARC also collaborates with local hospices, residential care facilities and dispensaries to successfully supply medical marijuana at no cost to seriously ill patients.
Erich’s vision for SPARC has been realized in both its effective treatment delivery and its radiant environment. SPARC’s award winning design by Larissa Sand of renowned Sand Studios has been featured in the New York Times, Wired Magazine, and was cited by FastCompany as, “The Apple Store of Marijuana Shops”. Since 2010, SPARC has blossomed into a vertically integrated cannabis organization totaling 4 dispensaries throughout the Bay Area and a new Sonoma valley farm that includes a bio-dynamic program.
Glenn is a partner at the Ciatti Company. He brokers wine and grapes between buyers and sellers, and the company has offices in 8 different countries throughout the world. Glenn advises clients on their supply positioning and works closely with growers and wineries in marketing their grapes and wine. He has over 28 years of experience relating to wine supply strategy, wine-grape quality and production, brand strategy, and business development. He was previously the Vice President of Winegrowing for Diageo Chateau and Estate Wines (BV, Sterling, etc), and before that was a Director at Benziger/Glen Ellen Winery during its rapid growth in the early 1990’s.
Glenn has served on the Board of Directors of the California Wine Institute, American Vineyard Foundation, California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG), Healdsburg Future Farmers Country Fair, and the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley, where he served as President. Currently he serves as a board member on the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, the Unified Symposium Program Committee, and the Wine Industry Financial Symposium Steering Committee.
Glenn is married to Laurie and has two boys – Joshua and Noah.
Abby started working in restaurants at the ripe young age of 15 at the Corner Cafe in her hometown of Des Moines, IA. In college, she balanced her liberal education degree with working several shifts a week at a local family-run restaurant where she was introduced to fine wine and spirits. Following graduation from the University of Iowa in 2004, Abby moved to Oakland, California and promptly started working at the renowned BayWolf Restaurant, where she was mentored by Wine Director David Gibson, and, over the years, was promoted from bartender to server to manager. After 8 years at BayWolf, Abby moved on to work as opening General Manager at Homestead in Oakland and then served as General Manager at Hawker Fare in San Francisco. The moment she first read about The Riddler opening in Hayes Valley, Abby knew she was going to work there. She is delighted and honored to be an opening member of The Riddler’s FoH Team, first as Lead Sommelier, and then, in February 2017, as General Manager. Abby and her boyfriend live in West Oakland with their Basset Hound, and are expecting their first child in January 2018.
Susana Rodriguez Vasquez was born and raised in the town of Cochabamba, located in the valley region of Bolivia. The daughter of professors, she was raised in the countryside where her love of agriculture was sparked. This lead her to Universidad Mayor de San Simon to receive her B.S. in Agriculture.
Susy made her way to the US on an internship at Cal Poly in organic crops, she then later became a liaison between the winemakers and vineyards for Gallo and soon after discovered her passion for winemaking. After receiving her Winemaker Certificate from UC Davis Viticulture Department, Susy has spent the last 10 years making her mark as an exceptional winemaker, both at Gallo and Constellation.
In 2016 she joined Peltier Winery. Susy has an impeccable palate for choosing the right grapes and revels each step of the way in the winemaking process, from crush to glass.
In her free time, Susy enjoys running and RV’ing near the beach with her husband David and two children Faviola and Lukas.
Dr. Peter Salamone is the Technical Manager, North America for Laffort USA. Peter has broad experience in wine production, laboratory management and research settings with E&J Gallo Winery and Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines, as well as industry service experience as an American Vineyard Foundation reviewer on both the Enology and Germplasm & Breeding Committees. Coupled with his 14 years of diverse wine industry exposure, Peter’s depth of biotechnology research experience in molecular biosciences, including microbiology, molecular biology, enzymology and genetics, provides Laffort USA clients and the North American wine industry with an outstanding technical resource.
An internationally-renowned sommelier, wine journalist, wine judge, consultant, and public speaker, Christopher Sawyer travels the world following trends in wine and participating as a judge in international wine competitions, and has been featured in a wide array of national media, including USA Today, MSN, NBC, ABC, CNN, Redbook, Maxim, National Geographic Traveler, Esquire and The Hollywood Reporter.
Since 2014, Sawyer has been named the Best Sommelier of Sonoma County by Bohemian Magazine readers, and is the recipient of many more prestigious awards and industry honors. In addition to serving as the Head Sommelier at the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction, Sawyer worked as Wine Director for both Flavor! Napa Valley and the Telluride Wine Festival in 2016 and 2017.
He also writes for a variety of journals including industry magazines; Tasting Panel, Wine Business Monthly, Vineyard & Winery Management; as well as The Clever Root and Napa Sonoma Magazine.To follow his journeys through the world of wine, visit www.SawyerSomm.com
Paul Scotto fulfilled his destined role within his family’s great winemaking tradition for the fifth generation, by attending UC Davis where he refined his winemaking and business skills.
Paul joined the winemaking team at a widely respected Russian River Valley Pinot Noir producer. Next followed a stint with the Vermeer Company selling vineyard equipment and broadening his winegrowing knowledge.
Paul joined his family in 2009 as the director of winemaking for their Lodi, Amador and eventually Napa Valley wineries where he continued his passion for the creation of small lot premium wines focusing on the vineyard's expression in the finished product.
In 2010 Paul launched his own Sera Fina Cellars in the historic Gold Rush community of Amador to focus primarily on Italian and Rhone varietals and blends.
In 2014 Paul teamed-up with his brother Michael to pursue this "second" love of premium hand-crafted ciders with the launch of The Cider Brothers portfolio produced in the family's Lodi winery.
When not working feverishly in the vineyard and winery, Paul cherishes his time with his wife Whitney and their three energetic sons Dante, Luca and Carlo and enjoys a wide variety of sports and family outings.
After a decade in marketing and business development for ad agencies and tech startups like LivingSocial, Ashley left her lifelong career to start a mobile canning company with her husband in 2013. In just over three years, the company that began as a mobile canner for beer, has quickly morphed into a full-service retail packaging solution for the beverage industry. Today, Lucky Clover Packaging supplies shrink sleeved/labeled cans and other packaging materials to hundreds of breweries, wineries, and craft beverage producers throughout the U.S., with locations in Sacramento and Baltimore. Ashley has an MBA from the University of Georgia and a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communications from University of Cincinnati. She lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and their 2-year old daughter.
"Canned wines are here to stay. I think we will see continued growth in the canned wine category, similar to what the beer industry has experienced over the last 5-7 years - particularly as wineries get comfortable with putting more varietals into cans. Canned wines made up $14.5MM in revenue in 2016, which more than doubled from 2015. I don't think cans will cannibalize glass bottle sales, but rather provide incrememntal sales by allowing the wine industry to tap into a younger, more active audience."
"Since our customers are the wineries themselves, they have reacted both very positively, as well as being very skeptical of the perceived quality of canned wines. Our customers who have decided to put their wines in cans have retained product integrity, experienced tremendous growth in sales and have continued to devote more and more volume to cans as the market responds positively. I think no matter what packaging vessel you choose, its about selecting the appropriate varietal and doing it right by not compromising the product's integrity."
"There are definitely still some skeptics out there, just as there was with canned beer 5 years ago. Large beer brands like Sam Adams and Lagunitas went on record stating they would never put their beer in cans - fast forward to today, and both have invested significantly into the can format after realizing that it's not just a fad and that it is possible to maintain quality and product integrity in can format. I think we will see the exact same trend in in the wine industry as we continue to overcome the false perception that cans somehow equate to low-end or lesser quality. There are different tastes for different folks and a time and place for all packaging formats; the producers who recognize that and capitalize on it will definitely be successful."
"They are portable! Cans can go places glass bottles can't, such as parks, beaches, mountain tops, etc. Many public parks don't allow glass, which makes canned wine a great option, especially for outdoor enthusiasts."
Gabriel Valenzuela grew up in the East Bay of California. He received his Bachelor of Science in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis and his MBA in Wine Business from Sonoma State University.
After graduating from UC Davis, he spent nearly six years on the winemaking team at R.H. Phillips. After R.H. Phillips, Gabriel was the Assistant Winemaker/Cellar Manager at Napa Wine Company for 5 years. Gabriel has held the positions of Cellar Master at Geyser Peak, Assistant Operations Manager at Don Sebastiani & Sons, Cellar Operations Manager at Hall Wines, and Winemaker at Langtry.
Currently, Gabriel is the Senior Winemaker at Rack and Riddle Custom Wine Services where he works with the team to craft sparkling wines for both Rack and Riddle brands and clients. Gabriel enjoys working with sparkling wines and considers the opportunity to learn from Director of Winemaking, Penny Gadd-Coster, to be “too good to pass up.”
When Gabriel is not making wine, he enjoys cycling, hiking, and spending time with his wife, Tina, and two children, Kaitlyn and Sean.
Melanie Virreira, Director of Marketing, Beverage Packaging North and Central America at Ball Corporation, has been in the packaging industry for over 10 years after graduating from Clemson University with a degree in Graphic Communications. She has since completed a Masters of Arts in Communications from Auburn University and an MBA in Marketing and Finance from Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado.
Virreira began her career in label printing at Multi-Color Corporation in Cincinnati where she managed the intersecting relationship between design, marketing, and manufacturing beginning in project management and expanding that role to include marketing and business development.
An international sales role opportunity at an innovative printing inks company, CTI in Colorado Springs, CO, pulled her away and allowed her a chance to travel the world finding ways of using packaging to align with consumer trends.
In 2013, she joined the team at Ball Corporation as a National Account Manager and her role quickly expanded to include Business Development. Her focus was on “new to can” categories and she spearheaded the effort in expanding cans as a viable packaging option for wine. Now as Director of Marketing, Virreira is focused on providing information and support for all wineries looking to capture new, incremental drinking occasions by including cans in their packaging arsenal.
"Cans are a household staple in the American family home, so consumers are very familiar with the package. Cans are simply providing wine lovers with the opportunity to drink more wine more often and in places they wouldn't (or couldn't) have before. It's an incremental occasion play that just makes common sense, as it has for craft beer and other premium beverages."
"They recognize the untapped opportunity this package brings, particularly for younger consumers. There is a shift in drinking behaviors, that allow for more creativity in both the product and the package, which makes the timing perfect for canned wine to really expand. Canned craft beer continues to grow at double digit rates. The broader drinking demograohic is embracing and really seeking out cans."
"There have been a lot of articles written over the past few years with last year's Nielsen wine can growth report really fueling the fire. We were already getting hit regularly with inquiries, but this really pushed the momentum. Where there is opportunity to have more wine drinking opportunities, it piques people's interest. Some will move to trial and adoption quicker than others, but ultimately cans aren't competing for the same occasion as the traditional wine bottle. Cans simply make wine and option, where once it was not."
"What is there to not like about canned wine! It is single serve and can go anywhere I go. There are so many places where I would have preferred to drink wine, but the glass bottle either wasn't allowed or just didn't make sense. Now I can drink wine anywhere in just the right portion."