Meet the Team
George Christie, a New Jersey native, settled in Sonoma County after college in 1991 where he quickly realized that the wine industry was where he wanted to concentrate his efforts. Since that time, he has been involved in nearly every aspect of the wine industry, from vineyard operations and grower relations to distributor realignments and national marketing campaigns. Always an active member in the wine community, Christie has also held board positions with the Russian River Wine Road, Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley and the Sonoma County Vintners. In 2008, George and his wife Tami, along with the Saini Family, partnered to create Saini Vineyards, a winery specializing on Old Vine Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley.
In 2009, with Elizabeth 'E' Slater, George launched the Wine Industry Network (WIN). What began as an online directory has evolved over the years into one the leading B2B marketing and media companies serving the wine industry. WIN works with over 600 industry product and service providers and produces the Wine Industry Expo (WIN Expo), the 2nd largest trade show for the wine industry, along with the Wine & Weed Symposium, the Wine Industry Advisor news site and the Afternoon Brief daily news email with over 35,000 industry subscribers.
Tami was raised in Healdsburg, California and graduated with a BA in Communications and Public Relations. She spent the first 10 years of her career working in the Telecommunications Industry for DSC Communications and Alcatel/Lucent as a Marketing Communications professional. In her current role as Director of Communications for the Wine Industry Network, Tami oversees all company communications, association partner relations and trade show programs. When she's not on company business, she's busy raising her two daughters, Olivia and Skyler, and continues to live in her hometown of Healdsburg.
Born and raised on his family's ranch in Alexander Valley, Nick has an extremely versatile background in online marketing, database management and web design. Affectionately known as the "Tech Guy" by his friends and colleagues, Nick is a Healdsburg native with a rich wine industry heritage as the grandson of Robert Young, renowned winegrower and wine industry icon. His love for computer technology and IT services have combined with his hospitality and customer service skills to lead him full circle back to the Wine Industry, where he truly feels "right at home."
Kim Badenfort comes to the Wine Industry Network with a professional and academic background in communications with a focus on online multimedia content creation and management. Before joining WIN he designed websites and administrated content for a number of small businesses and non-profits, as well as wrote and edited copy for blogs and other social media contracts. He also brings valuable experience in teaching/education, technical support, project management, and public affairs.
Originally from Denmark, Kim has resided in Northern California for over a decade and adores living in the heart of the beautiful wine country with its rich wine and nature experiences.
Buffy's expertise is primarily in marketing & design, but she also brings a tremendous amount of experience in content marketing, graphic, web and mobile design, digital research & metrics and social media marketing & optimization to the program.
Prior to Wine Industry Network, Buffy worked in marketing & advertising within the publishing industry, most recently with The Press Democrat. In her last position as Interactive Marketing Manager & Media Specialist she managed the marketing website, oversaw all internal e-mail marketing campaigns along with social media and mobile marketing initiatives and was a part of the team that developed The Press Democrat's PD Media Lab.
Raised in Sonoma County, Kim has an extensive background in executive administration, marketing and customer service. When not working, Kim enjoys photography and planning for the next adventure with her husband and kids.
Stephanie was raised in Healdsburg and graduated from Sonoma State University studying Wine Business and Marketing. She has years of experience in customer service and membership sales. After falling in love with wine, Stephanie decided to get into the industry to learn as much as she can.
In her free time, Stephanie enjoys reading, swimming, wine tasting and hanging out with her family.
A recognized expert in the fields of direct marketing and sales in the wine marketplace. Slater has taught more wineries and winery associations how to create and improve the effectiveness of their direct marketing programs and to make the most of each customer's potential than anyone in the wine industry today.
With the same humor and psychological insight she has used so effectively to understand the uniquely different challenges of wine businesses - large and small - Slater focused on co-creating WIN. Making it a direct marketing website that exemplifies everything she has discovered in more than 20 years in the wine industry and business-to-business marketing.
Quick-witted and original, Slater is a sought after speaker on winery sales, marketing, customer service, advertising and management topics. Wineries listen because she has the experience and creativity in the wine trenches to support her words.
After holding key marketing and sales management positions in national and international companies including the fast food, motorcycle, automotive, medical and computer industries, Slater turned her attention to wine in 1990 with the goal of starting her own wine marketing company. To learn the industry from the inside, she worked for two different wineries in four years. After developing and mastering the art of tasting room selling, she went on to handle all aspects of increasing their sales through direct marketing using the keen knowledge and insightfulness that she had used so successfully for other industries.
As the owner of the wine industry-consulting firm, In Short Direct Marketing, Slater has created marketing programs and events for the Russian River Wine Road including Winter Wineland and Wine & Food Affair. Under her direction, Passport to the Dry Creek Valley became one of the most popular, sought after and acclaimed events in the industry.
A born communicator, Slater teaches wine marketing courses at Santa Rosa Junior College and classes at Sonoma State, is the Vineyard & Winery Management marketing columnist, the program director of Tasting Room Profitability and a featured speaker at Wineries Unlimited. She lends her strategic planning expertise as a member of the Octagon Group in assisting different industries and businesses in rebuilding and improving their capabilities.