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Summer 2014

2014 Conference Sessions

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”— Charles Darwin

The world of wine is constantly changing. From exciting new breakthroughs in technology to critical issues in sustainability, it is essential that your winery or vineyard remain aware of the trends, challenges and opportunities that are shaping our industry today.

The educational conference sessions featured at the North Coast Wine Industry Expo will highlight changes that have a direct impact on your success in the coming year. Ideas, information and predictions will be presented by some of the most experienced and respected members of the wine and grape community. Our sessions will cover the latest developments in viticulture, finance, production and sales so that you can excel in 2015 and beyond.

What to Expect on the 2015 Financial Front: Mergers and Acquisitions Forecast.

Session Sponsored By:
Time: 9:30am — 10:45am

Moderated by:
Brad Bollinger - Publisher, North Bay Business Journal

Clay Popko - Vice President of Lending, American AgCredit
Joe Ciatti - Principal, Zepponi & Company
John Mackie - Managing Partner, Carle, Mackie, Power & Ross, LLP
Robert Nicholson - Principal, International Wine Associates

This year’s Finance & Economic Outlook session will delve into current events that will impact the wine industry in 2015 and beyond. Financial thought leaders representing the North Coast wine industry will weigh in on trends specific to the financial road that lies ahead. This collaborative session will provide attendees with short and long-term predictions and the tools necessary to prepare for a successful 2015.

Moderating this panel will be Brad Bollinger, associate publisher and editor in chief of the North Bay Business Journal. In his role as editor in chief, Bollinger has had his hand on the pulse of business in the Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties since 2005. Before joining the Journal, Bollinger was business editor and columnist for The Press Democrat. During his time as business editor The Press Democrat won several "Best in Business" awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and a Polk Award for the 2005 series on globalization, “Global Shift.”

Additionally the panel will feature financial leaders from the business, agricultural, wine and legal sectors. Robert Nicholson, Principal at International Wine Associates, has led IWA to its status as the leading New World wine industry mergers & acquisitions boutique advisory. Clay Popko, Vice President of Lending at American AgCredit’s Vineyard and Winery Finance Group, will provide an outlook on the Napa Valley region stemming from his 20+ years of career experience. Joe Ciatti, Principal at Zepponi & Company, has a deep network of industry influencers and a long track-record of high profile vineyard and winery transactions. John Mackie, Managing Partner at Carle, Mackie, Power & Ross, LLP, will provide a business law perspective garnered from practice’s focuses on finance and lending, business organization and mergers and acquisitions.

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Brad Bollinger is the publisher of the North Bay Business Journal overseeing the weekly's coverage of business in the North Bay counties of Sonoma, Napa and Marin. Before joining the Journal after its purchase by the New York Times Co. in 2005, he was the business editor and a columnist for The Press Democrat since 1990. While he was editor, the Press Democrat business section won several national, state and regional awards for its coverage, including six “Best In Business” citations from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

The newspaper’s 2002 series on the wine industry, “Vine to Wine,” received the highest award from the California Newspaper Publishers Association. Bollinger currently serves as the chair of the North Bay Leadership Council and as a director for the Sonoma County Alliance and Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce. Bollinger is a native of Santa Rosa.

Clay Popko is Vice President of lending at American AgCredit’s Vineyard and Winery Finance Group in St. Helena, California. In this role, he is responsible for serving Napa County’s diverse agricultural financing needs. Popko provides a wide range of financing options for businesses in Napa County, including but not limited to real estate acquisition, winery construction, vineyard development, crop financing and equipment acquisition financing. He has served in strategic roles at American AgCredit’s vineyard and winery group for over two decades, including previous positions such as Senior Loan Officer.

Prior to joining American AgCredit, Popko obtained a B.S. in Finance from San Diego State University, in addition to receiving a 30-unit certificate in Accounting from Golden Gate University. In his spare time, Popko enjoys experimenting as a home winemaker and hobby grape grower. He was born and raised in St. Helena.

Joe Ciatti has over 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, Ciatti’s long-term relationships and proven track record of successes have proven a great asset during negotiations. His understanding of the wine industry aids in creating mutually beneficially opportunities for both buyers and sellers.

Ciatti was born to be in the wine industry: his grandfather owned Sonoma County's Geyser Peak Winery for several decades after Prohibition ended. Ciatti’s early accomplishments include establishing Joseph W. Ciatti Company and growing it into the world’s largest international brokerage of grapes and bulk wines. In 2005, Ciatti became Chairman and CEO of Vintage Wine Trust, a real estate investment trust devoted to vineyard and winery properties. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon.

John Mackie is a business lawyer whose practice focuses on finance and lending, business organization, mergers and acquisitions, wine and food law, and real estate. Mackie is the Managing Partner of Carle, Mackie, Power & Ross, LLP, a 15-lawyer firm located in Sonoma County, California.

He began his law career in public service with San Francisco’s Department of City Planning, and worked for ten years in government as California’s Deputy Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing. Mackie practiced real estate and business law in several Bay Area firms, including Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon and Marron Reid, before helping to found his own firm in 1998. Mackie works closely with many non-profit and trade organizations. He is a founder and board member of the North Bay Angels, and holds posts such as Trustee and Chair of the finance committee of Sonoma Academy and Trustee of The Oliver Ranch Foundation.

Robert Nicholson is a Principal of International Wine Associates (IWA), the leading New World wine industry mergers & acquisitions boutique advisory by volume and value of transactions completed. Since 1990 IWA has closed over 50 separate transactions for a combined value of over $ 1 billion, including the sale of some prominent California and Pacific Northwest estates, wine companies and vineyards. Before establishing IWA in 1990 Nicholson was Vice President of Christian Brothers in California.

Nicholson has also held U.S. and international positions with Seagram in New York and with Louis Eschenauer in Bordeaux. Over the years at IWA Nicholson has completed numerous wine industry transactions and has worked with major multinational companies, banks, and family owned wine and vineyard estates. Nicholson was educated in England at Millfield and studied oenology at the University of Bordeaux under Professor Emile Peynaud. He is an active industry commentator at U.S. and international conferences and speaks fluent French.

DTC Technology Solutions: Creating an Engaging Wine Experience Beyond the Tasting Room.

Session Sponsored By:
Time: 9:30 a.m. — 11:00 a.m.

Moderated by:
E. Slater - Founder, In Short Direct Marketing

Paul Mabray - Chief Strategy Officer, VinTank
Miryam Chae - Director, DTC Sales, Constellation Wines
Julio de Villasante - President and COO, bLoyal
Andrew Kamphuis - Chief Operations Officer, Wine Direct
Brian Baker - Vice President Sales, Chateau Montelena Winery

This special 90-minute session features experts from the technology sector of the wine industry and will focus on the increasingly important role technology plays in the tasting room. Winery Owners, Tasting Room Managers and staff will learn how cutting-edge tools can be used to build consumer loyalty, enhance the customer experience, and increase direct to consumer sales.

Moderating this panel will be Elizabeth Slater, Founder of In Short Direct Marketing. Slater is an accomplished trainer, motivational speaker, marketer and writer. Founder of In Short Direct Marketing, co-founder of the Wine Industry Network and of the Ovation Guild, she is a sought after public speaker and seminar leader, offering training and personalized marketing solutions for direct-to-consumer sales and customer service businesses throughout North America. Her 25+ years in marketing and experience with large and small businesses has helped her create a unique and cheerful approach to the most pressing challenges of retail business.

Additionally the panel will feature technology sector leaders who specialize in product development and DTC strategy. Julio de Villasante, President and COO at bLoyal, will illustrate how bLoyal’s unique technology works to increase revenue by forming and capitalizing on a loyal customer base. Brian Baker, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Chateau Montelena Winery, will further illustrate how technology such as bLoyal’s can be used in the winery setting. Paul Mabray, Chief Strategy Officer at VinTank, aims to revolutionize the wine industry by bridging the gap between wine and the digital world. Andrew Kamphuis, Chief Operations Officer at Wine Direct, will discuss the key role of a winery’s software and product offerings. Miryam Chae, Director of DTC Sales at Constellation Wines, will further expand on how wineries can use technology to access and analyze consumer behavior.

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Elizabeth “E” Slater is an accomplished trainer, motivational speaker, marketer and writer. Founder of In Short Direct Marketing, co-founder of the Wine Industry Network and of the Ovation Guild, she is a sought after public speaker and seminar leader, offering training and personalized marketing solutions for direct-to-consumer sales and customer service businesses throughout North America.

E presents innovation jammed humorous and enthusiastic seminars filled with useful and easy to implement concepts. Her 25+ years in marketing and experience with large and small businesses has helped her create a unique and cheerful approach to the most pressing challenges of retail business. She also teaches classes in wine sales and marketing for Sonoma State University and SRJC, and writes a marketing column for Vineyard & Winery Management magazine. Her focus is primarily sales and marketing of wine directly to consumers in established and emerging markets. E loves her work.

Paul Mabray is the Chief Strategy Officer for VinTank, where his leadership is the driver for the overall vision, strategic direction and product development for the company. This role places Mabray in a key position to connect emerging technologies for the wine industry, a field he has worked in for over 20 years. Mabray’s previous experiences include positions at Napa Ale Works, Niebaum~Coppola, WineShopper/ and acting as the North American Beverage Consultant for Sumitomo Corporation of America.

In 2002 Mabray founded Inertia, one of the first major companies to bridge the barrier between wineries and their customers. Inertia successfully evolved into and is now the foremost leader for enabling direct to consumer for the wine industry. VinTank is a continuation of Mabray’s desire to help revolutionize the wine industry by bridging the gap between wine and the digital world. He lives in Napa with his wife Angelica and their four children.

Miryam Chae has been on the DTC side of the wine industry for over 11 years. Chae began her wine industry career with Treasury Wine Estates in 2003, where she transformed the wine club business model into a traditional direct marketing channel. She soon became Director of Consumer Marketing, leading all DTC channels.

In 2010, Chae joined Constellation Brands where she is currently the Director of DTC Marketing, overseeing 7 wine clubs and over 11 ecommerce brands. She has spent the last few years testing and learning new data integration points and CRM systems in order to achieve a single view of her customers across all brands and channels.

Prior to joining the wine industry, Chae managed marketing programs at several different companies based in San Francisco. She gained a variety of experience in traditional direct marketing with an international publishing company, brand marketing for Visa as well as database marketing for KPMG.

Julio de Villasante has 18 years of entrepreneurship, general management and marketing experience in the electronic business arena. Julio was Director for Software + Services for the Microsoft Dynamics products at the Microsoft Business Division for five years. Previously, he worked for the MBS New Solutions Offerings Team where he was responsible for global launch, product marketing, product management, and strategic business development.

In 2002, he joined Microsoft Business Solutions when it acquired bNexus Inc., where he was the co-founder and CEO responsible for creating and launching the bCentral™ branded business-to-business initiative in Latin America. Julio was previously a shareholder of Ekonom, S.A. de C.V. that was focused on value added services in the business to business arena and that placed part of its capital with the then publicly traded company Pacific Gateway Exchange of San Francisco. Julio holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and postgraduate studies in International Commerce from the Universidad Anahuac.

Andrew Kamphuis is the COO at WineDirect and President of Vin65. He is responsible for a lot of things, but enjoys being hands-on and religious about the technology at both Vin65 and WineDirect. Kamphuis is passionate about constantly improving. He works hard to build on the existing suite of products and actively identifies what can help wineries sell more wine DTC – both in the tasting room and online.

Kamphuis does his best work in two distinct places. First and foremost, smack in front of his computer with no interruptions. Second, is out with people, idea sharing, socializing over great food and wine (and sometimes hard liquor). He is a great idea sharer and his brainstorming sessions inspire people around him. Kamphuis is married and has two children, both whom attend University in Canada. He spends his time between Napa and Vancouver, and has a lot of frequent flyer miles.

Brian's Bio is Coming Soon.

Pet Projects in the Cellar: Wineries Explore Beer, Cider and Distilled Spirits as Additional Revenue Channels.

Session Sponsored By:
Time: 12:30pm — 1:45pm

Moderated by:
Alyssa Rapp - iBev

Jim Crooks - Masterblender, Firestone BarrelWorks
Paul Scotto - Co-founder, Pacific Coast Ciders
Alex Villicana - Proprietor, Re:Find Distillery

From distilled spirits to ciders to sour beer, our speakers will share how creative passions have come to influence their business undertakings. Winemakers and vineyard owners will leave with a better understanding of how some pet projects became an actual extension of the winery business and how they might get started on a new project of their own.

Moderating this panel will be Alyssa Rapp, founder and CEO of Bottlenotes, Inc., the leading interactive media company in the U.S. wine and craft beer industries. Bottlenotes is dedicated to educating and entertaining consumers via email newsletters, large-scale interactive events, social media platforms and video content. Alyssa was named in Inc. Magazine's “30 Under 30” coolest entrepreneurs in America and one of the wine industry’s 100 most influential people by in both 2012 and 2013. Rapp is the author of Bottlenotes Guide to Wine: Around the World in 80 Sips and frequently appears on national television as an expert on wine and entrepreneurship.

Additionally the panel will feature spokesmen from the beer, cider, distilled spirits and blogging industries. Jim Crooks, Master Blender at Firestone BarrelWorks, will explain how his brewing team’s experiments grew from a pet project into a valuable extension of the Firestone Walker brand. Paul Scotto, co-founder of Pacific Coast Ciders, has worked in tandem with his brother to develop a dedicated line of hard ciders. Alex Villicana, owner of Re:Find Distillery, will describe his foray into the craft distilling business and his process of transforming his winery’s saignée into top-shelf Vodka and Gin.
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Alyssa Rapp is the Founder and CEO of Bottlenotes, Inc., the leading interactive media company in the U.S. wine and craft beer industries. Bottlenotes is dedicated to educating and entertaining consumers via email newsletters, large-scale interactive events, social media platforms and video content.

Alyssa was named in Inc. Magazine's “30 Under 30” coolest entrepreneurs in America and one of the wine industry’s 100 most influential people by in both 2012 and 2013. Recently, Alyssa accepted two awards on the company’s behalf at the Empact 100, featuring the top 100 companies with a founder under 35: both the People’s Choice Award and the Top Advertising and Marketing Company award.

Rapp is the author of Bottlenotes Guide to Wine: Around the World in 80 Sips and frequently appears on national television as an expert on wine and entrepreneurship. Alyssa earned an M.B.A. from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in 2005.

Jim Crooks has always had a fascination for bread yeast. Graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a Food Science degree in 1997, his knowledge of what yeast could accomplish in bread led him to home brewing. Crooks began his career at SLO Brewing Co. in 1999 and was hired by Firestone Walker Brewing Company in 2001 as Quality Control Manager. Over the course of 13 years he managed the quality division as annual production grew from 12,000bbls to over 100,000bbls a year.

In 2007 he began working on a side project creating traditional Belgian Lambics. The project, now called Barrelworks, was fully realized in 2012 when operations were moved to a new location in Buellton, CA. Barrelworks is now home to over 800 wine barrels filled with beer in all different stages of maturation. Crooks now holds the title of Masterblender, and is responsible for all aspects of beer production at Barrelworks.

Paul Scotto is proud to be a 5th generation winemaker. After graduating from UC Davis in 2002, he took a slight career detour and became a top sales rep for Vermeer CA, a construction equipment sales company. In 2009, Scotto decided it was time to enter the family business alongside his older brother and younger sister at Scotto Cellars in Lodi, CA.

Today, Scotto is now the director of winemaking for 40+ brands as well as the owner of a boutique winery in Amador County called Sera Fina Cellars. In 2013, Scotto began a new venture experimenting with the making of hard apple cider. Once he felt his cider was worthy to share with the world, Paul teamed up with his younger brother to create Cider Brothers. Just over a year later, Cider Brothers are distributing their ciders across the United States through their network of existing wine relationships.

Alex Villicana began his winemaking career in 1990 in Paso Robles. The first Villicana label debuted in 1993, a Cabernet Sauvignon from the famed Tchelistcheff vineyard at HMR. In 1996, after two years of searching for the perfect piece of property to plant a vineyard, Alex and his wife, Monica, purchased 72 acres on the west side of Paso Robles.

In 2000, they broke ground on a small winery in the Adelaida Hills, and in 2002 after ten years of renting production space they opened their own tasting room. By 2011 they had their first crush, and soon thereafter they ventured into the craft distilling business. By capturing their winery’s saignée—the free-run juice removed to improve wine quality before fermentation—they distilled it into top-shelf Vodka and Gin under the brand name Re:Find. Alex and Monica can be found pouring their wine and spirits in their tasting room on Adelaida Road.

Wine and the Endangered Species Act (ESA): Avoid Pitfalls and Successfully Navigate Current Policy

Session Sponsored By:
Time: 12:30pm — 1:45pm

Moderated by:
Nick Frey - Public Relations and Brand Ambassador, Balletto Vineyards

Peter J. Kiel - Partner, Ellison, Schneider & Harris
Ted P. Winfield, Ph.D. - Sole Proprietor, Ted Winfield & Associates

This interactive session will explore the impact of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) on grape growing and how specific vineyards have been affected. The timely topic offers strategies and recommendations for vineyard owners, winery owners and principals who find themselves facing this important issue.

This panel will feature a lawyer and a biologist who can share their direct experiences of how the ESA impacts the wine industry. Peter J. Kiel, partner at Ellison, Schneider & Harris, will examine the ESA from a legal perspective and provide insight on what vineyard and winery owners should be aware of. Ted P. Winfield, sole proprietor at Ted Winfield & Associates, holds a Ph.D. in biology has been consulting on environmental issues since 1972, including addressing compliance with the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and other environmental statutes.

Additional speakers will be coming soon!

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Nick Frey recently joined Balletto Vineyards as Public Relations and Brand Ambassador after retiring from his role as President of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, a position he held since 2006. Previously, Nick was Executive Director of the Sonoma County Grape Growers Association since 1999.

Frey currently serves on the Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) Viticulture Advisory Committee, SRJC Shone Farm Foundation Board, and Sonoma County Harvest Fair Board. He has served as Program Chair for the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Unified Wine and Grape Symposium, and has served on the board of the Sonoma County Vineyard Technical Group. In 2006 Frey received the Friend of Agriculture award at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair, Leadership Santa Rosa Honors for Agriculture in 2007 by the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, and he and his wife, Angie, received the first Nick Frey Community Contribution Award from Sonoma County Winegrowers in 2013.

Peter Kiel is a partner at the law firm Ellison, Schneider & Harris L.L.P. based in Sacramento, CA. Kiel specializes in water and natural resources law, with an emphasis in California water right permitting and litigation. Kiel regularly advises vineyards in Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties on issues related to endangered species, regulatory permitting and water right matters.

Kiel’s project experience includes assisting with project permitting under the California and federal Endangered Species Acts and the California Fish and Game Code. He is the lead permitting counsel for the Delta Wetlands Project, a large-scale water storage and habitat restoration project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Kiel also assists with all aspects of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance, including Environmental Impact Report preparation and CEQA litigation.

Dr. Ted P. Winfield has been consulting on environmental issues since 1972, including addressing compliance with the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and other environmental statutes. He is the Sole Proprietor at Ted Winfield & Associates and has consulted internationally on projects throughout the United States, Germany and Colombia.

Dr. Winfield’s winery background includes conducting numerous biological resource evaluations for potential vineyards, vineyard replants and winery developments throughout California and Oregon, with a focus on possible effects related to (1) plant and animal species protected by the federal and various state endangered species acts, and other statutes designed to protect biological resources, and (2) features protected under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act such as wetlands. Dr. Winfield has also assisted in the establishment of numerous conservation and mitigation banks in Sonoma County established to provide protected habitat for endangered plants and the endangered California tiger salamander.

Non-Traditional Packaging: The Evolution of Wine on Tap and What Every Winery Should Know.

Session Sponsored By:
Time: 2:15pm — 3:30pm

Moderated by:
Michael Cervin - Wine and Spirits Writer

Jordan Kivelstadt - Founder & CEO, Free Flow Wines
Jason Moore - CFO and Co-Founder, Alluvial Wines
Greg Kitchens - Winemaker, Don Sebastiani & Sons

Packaging is, and always will be, a key component to any successful marketing and sales initiative. This session will focus on the innovative evolution of wine on tap as an increasingly popular and profitable method of wine packaging and distribution. This session’s panelists will offer insights to winery owners, winemakers and sales directors on how to develop a keg wine program or fine tune their current operation.

Moderating this panel will be wine and spirits writer Michael Cervin. Cervin’s unique insight into wine industry trends stems from his work as the wine and spirits writer for The Hollywood Reporter, Contributing Central Coast Editor for The Tasting Panel Magazine, and contributor to Decanter (London), Fine Wine & Liquor (China), Wine & Spirits, Palate Press, and IntoWine. Cervin has served as a wine and spirits judge at numerous wine competitions, and is the restaurant critic and contributing travel writer for the Santa Barbara News-Press as well as the wine and spirits blog Boozehoundz.

Additionally the panel will feature a CEO, winery director, and distributor who can discuss the multifaceted value of the wine on tap movement. Jordan Kivelstadt, Founder & CEO at Free Flow Wines, is a pioneer and leader in the wine on tap movement and has led the growth of the business since its inception in 2009. Jason Moore, CFO and Co-Founder at Alluvial Wines, will discuss the logistics of wine on tap from the perspective of a direct broker.

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Michael Cervin is a wine and spirits writer based in Santa Barbara, and author of “California Wine Country,” and the forthcoming “Santa Barbara Booze.” He is the wine and spirits writer for The Hollywood Reporter, Contributing Central Coast Editor for The Tasting Panel Magazine, and he contributes to Decanter (London), Fine Wine & Liquor (China), Wine & Spirits, Palate Press, and IntoWine – for whom he writes several “Top 100 Most Influential” lists.

He has served as a wine and spirits judge at the Best of Vinho Verde Awards in Portugal, the Taste of Rum Festival in Puerto Rico, the California State Fair Wine Competition, the Central Coast Wine Competition, The San Francisco International Wine Competition, and San Diego International Wine Competition, among others. He is the restaurant critic and contributing travel writer for the Santa Barbara News-Press and his wine and spirits blog, Boozehoundz, reviews beverages from across the globe.

Jordan Kivelstadt founded Free Flow Wines with Dan Donahoe in 2009 and has been leading the growth of the business since the beginning. Based in Napa, California, Free Flow Wines is both the pioneer and leader in the wine on tap movement, and the company’s process of kegging, preserving and serving wine on tap has been vetted and approved by the world’s most respected wineries. More than 450 wines are available in the Free Flow format, whose environmentally friendly system has saved over 2,674,000 bottles from US landfills.

Kivelstadt was trained as an engineer at Tufts University before moving on to management consulting. In 2006, he began his career in the wine industry as production manager for The Donum Estate. Since then Kivelstadt has made wine in four countries, founded his own bottle brand called Kivelstadt Cellars, manages his family’s organic 10-acre vineyard and continues to innovate in the industry he loves.

Jason Moore is currently a partner in both Alluvial Wines and Kentfield Marketing Company. Moore began his career in wine 21 years ago working with fine restaurateurs in Boston and New York.

In 2000, Moore returned home to California to work for Wine Warehouse as a sales rep, Key Account Specialist, and Regional Manager over the span of 12 years. During that time, Moore helped launch Free Flow and Silvertap wines into the NoCal market. In 2012, Moore became a member of the Kentfield Marketing Group, LLC, a broker specializing in the promotion of boutique craft spirits.

In 2013, Moore and two other partners founded Alluvial Wines, Inc., a broker and wholesaler of fine wines from around the world centered on the philosophy of sustainable vine growing and minimal interventionist winemaking. Alluvial Wines is the broker partner for the sales of Peregrine Ranch wines on tap in the state of CA.

Greg Kitchens pulls on a unique mix of art and science to produce distinctively elegant wines for Don Sebastiani & Sons. Growing up in Napa, Kitchens was intimately aware of the nuances inherent in the Bay Area's wine growing regions and the effects they have on wines produced from the region’s fruit. With an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry, Kitchens initially conducted immunology research at the La Jolla Institute of Allergy and Immunology in Southern California.

But the calling of the drinkable sciences kept tugging at his heart. He returned home to Napa Valley for the harvest of 1998, and hasn't looked back since. Working at Beaulieu Vineyards in Napa Valley and Sebastiani Vineyards in Sonoma, he quickly worked his way up the ladder from the laboratory to associate winemaker. In 2009, Kitchens became Red Winemaker at Don & Sons, bringing his finely honed blend of science and art to every vintage since.

Sustainable Certification: Newest Techniques and Benefits of Compliance

Session Sponsored By:
Time: 2:15pm — 3:30pm

Moderated by:
Tony Linegar - Agricultural Commissioner / Sealer of Weights and Measures, Sonoma County

Allison Jordan - Vice President of Environmental Affairs, Wine Institute
Matthew Crafton - Winemaker, Chateau Montelena Winery
John Garn - Founder, ViewCraft
Karissa Kruse - President, Sonoma County Winegrowers

This session will explore the increasing need to follow sustainable practices and will cover several sustainability certifications currently available to the wine industry. The Sonoma Winegrape Commission recently announced the goal to have all growers sustainable by 2019. While large organizations pursue grant and organizational funding to achieve sustainable goals, small wineries and organizations can strive for similar goals while accessing a different pool of resources. This panel offers insights, advice and resources to winery and vineyard owners and managers who desire a more sustainable business operation.

Moderating this panel will be Tony Linegar, Sonoma County’s Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights and Measures. Linegar has worked in the agricultural sector for nearly two decades, including positions for Shasta, Mendocino, and Sonoma County. He comes equipped with a deep knowledge base covering both the California wine industry and the sustainability issues and certifications that define the California region.   

Additionally the panel will feature two winegrowing alliance representatives, a winemaker, and a sustainability consultant. Allison Jordan, Executive Director at the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and Vice President of Environmental Affairs for Wine Institute, heads up the NGO that was incorporated in 2003 to promote environmental and social responsibility in the California wine industry. Karissa Kruse, President at Sonoma County Winegrowers, will further discuss the role of sustainability in the California region. Matthew Crafton, Winemaker at the famed Chateau Montelena Winery, will discuss the sustainable certification process from a winemaking perspective. John Garn, Founder of ViewCraft, will counsel winemakers on the large and small steps that can be taken on the road to effective sustainability.

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Tony Linegar was appointed as Sonoma County’s Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights and Measures in 2011. He began his career in 1995 as an Agricultural Inspector I with the Shasta County Department of Agriculture. In 2001, he accepted a position with the Mendocino County Department of Agriculture as an Agricultural Inspector III, and was promoted the following year to Assistant Agricultural Commissioner. The Board of Supervisors in Mendocino County appointed Linegar as the Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer in 2009, where he served until beginning his current position.

Linegar currently serves as Chair for the California Agricultural Commissioner and Sealers Association’s Food and Resource Protection Committee. Previously, he served a term on the State Board of Directors of Agricultural Commissioners. Linegar graduated from Chico State University in 1993 with a B.S. degree in Biological Science. He possesses eight licenses required for Agricultural Biologist and Standards Specialist and is licensed by the CA Department of Food and Agriculture.

Allison Jordan is Vice President of Environmental Affairs for Wine Institute, a public policy association of nearly 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses. She also serves as Executive Director of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, a non-governmental organization (NGO) incorporated in 2003 by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers to promote environmental and social responsibility in the state’s wine industry.

Previously, Jordan was a Senior Associate at SureHarvest and served as Vice President and Acting Executive Director of Resource Renewal Institute. Since 2001, she has been a fellow in the German Marshall Fund's American Marshall Memorial Fellowship program. She holds a Masters in Public Policy from the Goldman School at UC Berkeley and a B.A. in Psychology from Allegheny College. Jordan and her husband are founding partners of Giordano Bros., a San Francisco restaurant group with North Beach and Mission locations.

A native Virginian, Matt Crafton doesn’t miss the humidity or Capitol Hill. Proper barbecue, the Appalachian Trail, and good whiskey are another story. Named Winemaker in 2014, Crafton joined Chateau Montelena in 2008 as Assistant Winemaker after graduating from UC Davis. Armed with an Economics degree from the University of Virginia, he brings a splash of finance to farming and fermentation. Having worked in cellars and vineyards along the North Coast and back East since 2003, Crafton also contributes a diverse skillset and a fresh set of eyes to an iconic winemaking team.

Shortly after joining the winery and following the completion of their 220KW solar array, Crafton spearheaded Chateau Montelena’s sustainability program. Focusing on responsible conservation, industry best practices, and practical economics, Chateau Montelena was certified as a Bay Area Green Business and Napa Green Winery in 2010. Fish Friendly Farming and Napa Green Vineyard certifications were earned in 2013. 

John Garn, founder of the company ViewCraft, has more than 25 years of experience working with California businesses, municipalities and non-profit agencies on regulatory streamlining, Green Business Program development, sustainable agriculture, and the development of environmental certification systems.

Garn is the developer of the nation’s first Green Business Program, launched with the Sonoma County business community in 1993, and is responsible for expanding that program into the Bay Area Green Business Program in 1997. The program has now been expanded into the statewide California Green Business Program. Garn is a co-author of the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices workbook and has delivered over 100 targeted education workshops throughout the state of California since the program’s launch in 2002. He was also the consultant for the Napa Green Certified Winery program and the Benziger Family’s Farming for Flavors program.

Karissa Kruse is President of the Sonoma County Winegrowers, a marketing and educational organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier grape growing regions.Kruse joined Sonoma County Winegrowers as Director of Marketing in 2012 and was named President for the organization in 2013.

Kruse earned a BS in Economics and an MBA in Marketing from Wharton School of Business at University of Pennsylvania. She has over 17 years of experience in various aspects of marketing, brand management, strategic planning and business development. Kruse has worked for companies such as General Mills, Universal Studios, Mattel and Dairy Management. She is a partner in a small winery, Argot Wines, and the owner of a 25 acre parcel in Bennett Valley. Kruse was selected as a North Bay Business Journal ‘Women in Business 2014 Honoree’ and ‘Forty under 40’ Award recipient in 2012.

2014 Session Director

Amanda S. Diefenderfer
Big Red Marketing

Amanda Diefenderfer founded Big Red Marketing in 2012, the namesake of her family vineyard in Paso Robles. Drawing on personal, educational and professional experience within the wine, lifestyle and tourism industries, Diefenderfer works with Big Red Marketing’s clients to develop marketing solutions with a particular focus in strategic planning, copywriting, events and digital marketing. Diefenderfer’s professional career began with internships with the Wine Institute and the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance (PRWCA).

She continued to work for PRWCA in the role of Promotions Coordinator, followed by a position as Business Integration Manager for a local print company. In this role, Diefenderfer developed successful business strategies that enabled the company to stay relevant amid the quickly evolving needs of their clients—a skill that remains essential in her work today. Diefenderfer earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Science in Commerce with a concentration in Marketing from Santa Clara University.

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