Session Topics & Tracks
9:30am - 10:30am
11:00am - 12:00pm
1:00pm - 2:00pm
Climate change has increased temperatures globally, which has led to grapes with lower natural acidity, higher brix, and higher pH. All of these elements, particularly elevated pH, present challenges for winemakers as they look to manage processes and deliver consistent wines. Additionally, this results in growing needs to address microbial stability and oxidative challenges to avoid depreciating wine quality through fermentation and aging.
The panel will explore solutions available addressing these climate-driven challenges in the winemaking process. This session will feature trial tastings demonstrating the real-world research results. A candid discussion with the wineries that utilize Bucher Vaslin resources will address the same challenges all wineries face today with the hopes to highlight new resources and solutions available.
This session will explore technology solutions that streamline the flow of information between the winemaking, sales and accounting teams. Through this process wineries gain access to the data necessary to answer key costing questions while maximizing profit margins. Join the panel as they discuss the importance and benefits of connecting the dots from farming to dry good purchases to sales and reporting. Once connected, this information can be used to support pricing decisions, inventory management, allocating the right amount of resources to different sales channels, and more. Hear from industry tech leaders, consultants, and wine industry professionals about tools available and best practices for using data to increase profits.
Industry leaders Christian Klier and Mark Cuneo of Turrentine Brokerage will present key data from the 2022 harvest alongside insights of what to expect and prepare for as we head into 2023. Klier’s focus on the North Coast region will provide relevant guidance for wineries of all sizes, while Cuneo will present thoughts from the perspective of the bulk wine market.
Take this opportunity to seize the industry-wide perspectives of these two leaders in wine brokerage. This session is a cornerstone element to develop the knowledge-base for any winery to begin the upcoming year armed with information to maximize your current status and prepare for the opportunities coming down the pipeline.
Receiving fruit at harvest in an idealized natural state without concerns of negative outside factors is becoming less common each season. Extreme weather connected to climate change brings increased mold, smoke-taint, and other fruit quality concerns that will need safe and creative, long-term harvesting and winemaking solutions. New O3/Ozone application technology for grape skins offers an organic solution for vineyards and wineries to improve wine quality and consistency.
This session will feature a trial tasting and conversation amongst winemakers and researchers to share the variety of benefits to the winemaking process with the application of an O3/Ozone technology. This method allows winemakers to strive for smoother fermentations and cleaner wine through reduced need for SO2 additions. Taste alongside the winemakers to experience what this technology can offer to your winemaking process.
Founder & CEO / PurfreshRead Bio
Founder & CEO / TastryRead Bio
Winemaker Consultant / Porter Family Vineyards, Co-Founder & Winemaker / Acien WinesRead Bio
Post Doctoral Researcher / Università degli Studi della TusciaRead Bio
Growing costs of 'heavy' glass and more options to reduce the environmental impact through innovative packaging has opened the door for new considerations in how wines are delivered to the consumer. This, paired with the fact that today’s wine consumer is more willing than ever to step away from the 'traditional' allows wineries producing wines in any price tier the opportunity to express support of sustainability through the packaging decisions they make.
The panel, made up of wineries, marketers and sales professionals, will share real-world examples of offering wines in non-traditional, sustainable minded packaging, and the reaction they experienced from the consumer.
Senior Business Consultant / Moss AdamsRead Bio
Partner & General Manager / Tablas Creek VineyardRead Bio
President & CEO / VinoshipperRead Bio
Executive Director / Affinity Creative GroupRead Bio
The past years have taught us that one of the top new challenges facing the wine industry is the ability to adapt and continue to thrive in an ever-changing environment impacted by climate change. From wildfires, to unusually timed rains, to various other climate events, the wine industry is finding itself faced with new needs to carve out capacity to respond to these challenges.
This session will bring together leaders from various areas of the industry to discuss pairing technology and sustainable practices. The panel features a winery that has committed to non-traditional yet sustainable packaging, a consultant committed to growing sustainability in the industry, and a vineyard manager recognized for his pioneering work. The conversation will offer a well-rounded look and real-life steps you can take to harness the power of technology and sustainability to support your company's goals and its role in supporting the future of our industry.
Crafted ERP Winery Product Manager / Doozy SolutionsRead Bio
Chief Commercial Officer / Free Flow WinesRead Bio
Owner / Redwood Empire Vineyard ManagementRead Bio
Chief Commercial Officer & Sustainability Consultant / Sustridge Sustainability ConsultingRead Bio
Explore various technology-based solutions that support growers seeking to improve farming practices while balancing the common day-to-day pressures that all vineyard operations experience. The solutions presented come from multiple providers, but all integrate with current farming practices and provide the data needed to achieve greater efficiencies. As the costs of farming continue to grow, finding ways through technology to reduce unnecessary labor and other expenses will be critical to surviving and thriving in the future of farming.
This panel of technology experts and growers that have adopted some of the new tools and technology available will share their learnings and experiences with session attendees.
Co-Founder / FieldinRead Bio
General Manager, Director of Vineyards / Viticultural Management, Inc., Vina Robles Vineyards & WineryRead Bio
Director of Central Coast Farming / Foley Family FarmsRead Bio
President / Sonoma County WinegrowersRead Bio
In a winemaking world facing workforce shortages and resource constraints winemakers must consider stepping away from their tried-and-true oenological practices to overcome these challenges. Recognizing new needs for efficiency, this session will explore yeasts that do not require the cumbersome step of rehydration and acclimatization prior to pitching.
Specifically, this trial session will explore wines produced utilizing active dry yeast, which allowed the winemakers to bypass acclimatization and rehydration, and directly inoculate into the must. Attendees will walk away with an in-depth knowledge around this inoculation solution and the benefits it could offer any cellar.
'Hold on while I finish this text.' Quick text-based communications have become a preferred method of information gathering across generations of consumers. The question is, 'how do you harness the strength of this tool utilized daily in your personal life to benefit your winery's sales and marketing goals?' This session will bring SMS and text marketing professionals to the stage to sit alongside the wineries that utilize their solutions. Join the conversation discussing various opportunities for integrating this tool into your winery’s outreach and engagement with consumers. Explore options and understand how to utilize texting as a marketing tool no matter what level of commitment to the strategy you find fits your model.
President / Wine Glass MarketingRead Bio
Founder / Red ChirpRead Bio
Director of DTC Sales & Marketing / Round Pond EstateRead Bio
Director of Sales & Marketing / Coursey Graves WineryRead Bio
Founder & CEO / VinterActiveRead Bio
The toolbox of resources that contribute to winery success taps into a wide range of factors. However, possibly the most critical and yet challenging to manage is personnel. Developing a quality team able to maximize other investments into your business is multi-dimensional and not something simply solved by throwing dollars at payroll.
This session will feature a panel representing all angles of the hiring and talent retention process to discuss what attracts strong candidates, how to retain the most valuable resource to your business, and tactics for supporting the company culture that fosters all areas of keeping a strong team intact.
The Glue / WISERead Bio
General Manager / Pangloss CellarsRead Bio
Director of Customer Elations / Talisman WineRead Bio
Sr. Human Resources Specialist / Distinguished Vineyards and Wine PartnersRead Bio
Pest management is an ongoing challenge for all vineyards. This session will gather experts in the pest control advisor field to discuss what is wreaking havoc today and to explore the threats facing tomorrow.
Hear from pest management experts with experience throughout the state as they discuss managing mealy bugs and other common vineyard pests. The panel will also provide an update on pests outside of California, including the spotted lantern fly, that they are carefully monitoring in order to be prepared for in the future. Session attendees will leave with new knowledge and tools that will help them in their own pest management endeavors.
Recently, there's been a growing shift in the alcohol sales strategy from distribution models to direct-to-consumer at a rate never seen before. New sales models require distinct strategies for continuing to reach your target audience and growth goals. It's key to remember the wine buyer is an ever-evolving persona whose customer experience expectations remain paramount. This is precisely why staying on top of modern commerce trends is crucial to winery revenue.
In a classic round-robin style discussion, this panel of eCommerce veterans will dive into some of the most impactful trends for enhancing your direct-to-consumer strategy. With a concentration on conversational commerce, the demands of a post-COVID digital era, economic analysis of direct-to-consumer strategies, and building your brand presence, you’ll take away new ideas to start incorporating into your business’ sales strategy today.
Water continues to become a resource growing in scarcity yet central to our industry and the success of the winegrowing process. Join this session to hear from Agrology and vineyards of the North Coast on the practices and technology available to help conserve this resource while supporting the health of your vines.
This session will explore best practices of the integration of technology to mitigate the impact of drought, wildfires and other climate-change issues. Additionally, it will dig into the tactics of how to monitor water usage, and recycle and conserve this precious resource.
Speaker Bios + Q&A's
Michael Alley is the Crafted ERP Winery Product Manager for Doozy Solutions. Mike is focused on ensuring that the Crafted ERP Winery Edition is the most functional, user-friendly and effective system it can be. Mike leverages two decades of experience in labs, cellars and winemaking as he works with customers to implement the winemaking functionality of Crafted ERP.
Prior to joining Doozy, Mike spent nearly a decade overseeing the winemaking of many brands including Stone Cellars, Forest Glen, and Douglass Hill for Bronco Wine Company. Before joining Bronco, he also served as a winemaker at Oak Ridge Winery for several years. Prior to that position, he worked for 8 years at Gallo in roles within both Quality Assurance as well as multiple Analytical Laboratories. He has crafted many styles of wine including white, red, rosé, sparkling, dessert and formula wines. Mike studied Biology at California State University Stanislaus.
Katerina Axelsson is the Founder and CEO of Tastry, a sensory sciences company that uses advanced chemistry, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to match consumers with products they will love. A graduate of Cal Poly with a B.S. in Chemistry, Axelsson started her career in the wine industry over five years ago, working as a chemist at a custom-crush facility in the Central Coast of California.
In pursuit of her mission to demystify and democratize the winemaking process, Axelsson worked alongside her team of computer science and engineering experts to create a revolutionary AI product that is completely changing the wine industry as we know it. Since Tastry’s inception in 2016, she and her team have implemented solutions for over 200 wineries, distributors, and retailers across the United States. They are currently working with many of the top wine producers in the country.
As a young entrepreneur, Axelsson is passionate about finding new ways scientific research can be applied to improve our daily lives and business ventures. She was recognized as one of Forbes’ best names in the future of gastronomy in 2021 and featured in Pacific Coast Business Times’ 2020 40 Under 40 series. Tastry was recently named by Gartner Research in their report, "Cool Vendors in Food Retail: Catering to New Customer Lifestyles." Axelsson was a featured speaker at Groceryshop 2019, Think Big Festival 2020, and the Ai4 2021 Retail, Supply Chain & Marketing Summit.
Brent Bellm is the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman at BigCommerce. BigCommerce serves over 70,000 online stores in more than 120 countries. Since joining BigCommerce, Brent has implemented a disruptive innovation strategy, transforming the company from a small business-focused solution to a leading open SaaS platform serving mid-market and large enterprise customers. BigCommerce is now recognized as a Strong Performer in The Forrester Wave reports for B2C and B2B Commerce Suites and as one of 2019’s most successful companies in America by Inc. 5000. Under Brent’s leadership, BigCommerce has consistently received accolades as a desirable workplace, winning awards such as Austin-American Statesman’s "Top Workplaces," San Francisco Bay Area’s "Best and Brightest Companies to Work For," and Great Place to Work’s "Best Places to Work in Australia."
Prior to joining BigCommerce, Brent served as Chief Operating Officer and President at HomeAway during a period in which the company went public. Brent also spent more than nine years serving in a variety of executive leadership positions at PayPal and eBay, including global head of Product Management at PayPal and CEO of PayPal Europe, where he successfully introduced PayPal’s merchant services and financial products in new geographies.
Brent holds a BA in International Relations and Economics from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He is an avid cyclist and runner and lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and three children.
At an early age, Ken displayed a penchant for forging his own path and doing what others dismissed as folly or impossible. Growing up in Oregon, he was impressed by the handful of pioneers who embraced the challenging and romanticized grape Pinot Noir – even while little wine culture existed at the time. His evolving interest in wine led him to work his first harvest in Napa Valley in 1986, while still pursuing his degree in chemistry at Oregon State University. As a student, he discovered his interest in the complexities of flavor dovetailed rather nicely with the field of Flavor Chemistry. His last two years saw time spent in undergraduate research on hops and wine.
Upon completing his degree, Ken accepted a position with Domaine Chandon as a research enologist, or experimental winemaker. He was able to design and perform his own experiments in every area of viticulture and enology. During these years, Ken learned to isolate cause and effect in the vineyard, in the winery, and, ultimately, in the glass.
Ultimately, though, Ken's passion called for more than just experimentation. The reward to advancing one’s knowledge is realizing its practical use! A visit to Burgundy spoke to his artistic side, awakening a desire to make his own finished wines full of depth, nuance, and place. In 1992, Ken made his first five barrels of Ancien Carneros Pinot Noir, marking the beginning of an ongoing quest for great Pinot Noirs.
Ken has been living his dream daily, making his own wines under the Ancien label full time since 1998. At Ancien he works exclusively with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris. Ancien has developed into a quest of sorts, a quest to make Pinot Noir from a wide range of vineyard sites, and learning to work with the site in a way that expresses the vineyard as fully as possible. Although his winery is located in Napa, this quest has taken him from the Santa Rita Hills to the Willamette Valley--and even as far away as Morey-St-Denis, in Burgundy, France. Ken is the only winemaker to import grapes whole from France and then vinify them in California.
Ken avoids stagnation by spreading his wings, serving as a consulting winemaker for a few small prestigious Estates: Yorba Wines, Tournesol, Porter Family, Cowhorn, and Matetic Vineyard. When he is not enjoying the fruit of his labor, he might be found riding the hills of Napa Valley on his bike or if the surf is up, riding waves off California’s coast.
Iftach Birger grew up in agriculture and has devoted his life to making life better for his fellow growers. A third-generation almond grower from one of the largest almond growers in his native Israel, Iftach has worked in the almond orchards since childhood, checking irrigation leaks with the ATV, spraying the trees, and managing the harvest operations. After receiving his Master of Science in Plant Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Iftach combined his education and a lifelong love of agriculture to co-found Fieldin in 2013. The mission was simple: help growers improve the accuracy and efficiency of their operations using real-time data.
That mission has yielded Fieldin, a Fresno-based, turnkey technology solution for a connected, smart farm. Fieldin solutions help growers of high-value crops maximize sustainability, yield, and profit by giving them actionable data to improve operational efficiency. With Fieldin smart devices installed on operators and equipment, growers have access to the mobile app that gives them real-time visibility and decisions to help farmers embark on their journey to becoming a smart farm and ultimately achieve autonomy. Today, that vision and the Fieldin solution have resulted in over 600k acres of high-value crops under management, supported by three global headquarters, over 160 employees, and of course, best-in-class software that puts growers in control of their operations.
Eglantine holds a double Master’s Degree in Viticulture-Oenology and Agronomic engineering from Montpellier SupAgro (France). Her international background, with winemaking and cellar experiences in France, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand plus five years in the U.S., gives her a comprehensive view of wines and processes around the world. At Bucher Vaslin North America, Eglantine is the Enology Director and in charge of developing Lamothe-Abiet products in North America. Working as a winemaker, research projects manager, technical support, and winemaking consultant, she enjoys helping winemakers optimize their process, express their terroir, troubleshoot difficult wines and has a passion for making rosés!
As Commerce7's Enterprise Account Executive, Connor helps wineries build the best DTC shopping experiences in the industry. By leveraging the latest in ecommerce research and the best DTC software for wineries, Connor educates his clients on the benefits of a customer-centric approach.
After a non-linear career path in technology, finance, and design, Heather took her diverse experience and combined that with her passion for wine, to help build Free Flow from the ground up in 2011. With a mission to provide the best-tasting and most sustainable glass of wine, Free Flow Wines has pioneered the wine-on-tap category by providing a truly zero-waste package that perfectly preserves the quality of the wine – the reusable steel keg. With the belief that there is always an opportunity to refine and improve, Heather helped to expand Free Flow’s packaging services to include wine-in-can – the most sustainable package for single-serve wines. Today she oversees all commercial business at Free Flow and continues to learn and educate others on the positive impact of sustainable alternative packaging.
Carter Collins grew up between the vines that now lie adjacent to the Vina Robles Hospitality Center in Paso Robles. His parents planted that vineyard – which is now one of our estate vineyards – when Carter was seven years old, and his vineyard management career began.
"When I was a kid, my parents told my sister and I we could each choose a section of the vineyard to have as our own," he recalls. "I chose a huge block, and oversaw all the planting and work in it. Looking back, it’s incredible to have come full circle considering how little I was when that happened."
While studying viticulture at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Carter joined the Vina Robles team as an intern and has been a part of our team ever since. "It took longer to get through school while I worked as an intern, especially during harvest," Carter says. "But I was happy to have hands-on, real world experience."
During his undergraduate years, Carter was integral in implementing green farming strategies to help our vineyards achieve SIP Certified sustainable status. In 2019, Carter became the Vina Robles Director of Vineyards and we are proud to have him driving the agriculture decisions across all 1,200 acres we have under vine.
Carter brings an intense passion for viticulture and hands-on, family-style management to his work at Vina Robles. "I grew up in the industry with my dad working as a broker and then General Manager of a winery, plus living on the vineyard we planted," he says. "I love how small the wine industry is, and the unique community we have as farmers."
With 13 harvests at Vina Robles under his belt, Carter is an expert on our terroir, but the constant ebb and flow of vineyard cycles is what keeps him energized day-to-day. "I love being out in the vineyard," he says. "It’s a chance to experience something new every day. There is different scenery and growth happening constantly. Observing how things change throughout the season is inspiring. Plus, I get to call my truck my office."
A golf enthusiast, Carter’s favorite Vina Robles wine is the Fore Petite Sirah. "Not only is there a golf reference in the name, but Fore is a really unique Petite Sirah," he says. "Traditionally it has been picked a little bit later than the rest of Jardine Vineyard, so it’s darker and more intense, and I just love that."
When he’s not at work Carter can almost always be found outdoors either hunting, golfing, or spending time with his wife, Cheyenne, daughter Abbie, and their two dogs Addie and Bela.
Marc Cuneo joined Turrentine Brokerage as a Bulk wine Broker in 2010, bringing industry experience ranging from grower relations to wine marketing. Marc entered the wine business as a sales representative for Southern Wines and Spirits in San Francisco after receiving a Business Administration degree at the University of the Pacific. He then moved on to work at his family’s winery, Sebastiani Vineyards. During his decade at Sebastiani Vineyards, he began as a cellar worker and steadily advanced within the company, serving as the Vice President of Grower Relations and as a member of the executive team. Marc has also received his executive MBA from Sonoma State University. In his spare time, Marc can be seen riding horses with his wife and four kids in Sonoma and is also an avid traveler and hunter.
Christian is a business development, sales, and operations management leader who consistently builds profitable organizations within the Wine, Ag-Tech and Clean Tech industries. He is known for unlocking the value in emerging technologies, evaluating market potential, formulating commercial and market strategies and developing and retaining individuals who make critical contributions to organizational success. Christian strives to foster collaboration and build consensus among internal and external stakeholders, from the ground level up to Board- and CEO-level executives, in hopes to facilitate understanding and partnership.
Susan DeMatei has over 30 years of luxury direct marketing experience, but in the past 18 she has worked exclusively in the wine industry. In 2012 Susan started WineGlass Marketing, a full-service direct marketing agency for the alcohol space.
Susan holds a B.S. in Communications from Boston University and an A.S. in Viticulture from Napa Valley College. She is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, a Certified Specialist in Wine/Wine Education with the Society of Wine Educators and was awarded a DMA (Direct Marketing Association) award for strategic excellence. She is the marketing columnist for Grapevine Magazine and a frequent freelance writer and speaker at conferences. Susan also is the marketing instructor at the WISE Academy, an adjunct lecturer at the Institute for Enology & Viticulture at Walla Walla Community College, Napa Valley Community College and California Polytechnic State University.
The firm, now in its tenth year, is based in downtown Napa and supports domestic and international wine and spirits clients with both B2B and DTC marketing in digital as well as traditional channels. For the past two consecutive years, Inc. Magazine recognized WineGlass Marketing as the only Napa company listed in the top 250 hyper-growth tier of the "5000 Series California's Top Companies". WineGlass Marketing is also much admired by the community winning the North Bay Bohemian "Best Creative Agency" spot for both 2021 and 2022 as well as being honored as Napa’s "Best Company to Do Business With" in the 2021 North Bay Business Journal. The firm’s creative strength is apparent, winning top honors in the 2021 Web Awards for Best Beverage Website and a Webby Honoree for Websites in 2022. In the Internet Advertising Competition WineGlass Marketing won Best Integrated Ad Campaign in the Beverage Category for 2021 as well as Best Website in the Beverage Category in 2022.
WineGlass Marketing is located at 531 Jefferson Street in Napa and also can be reached online at www.wineglassmarketing.com or by calling 707-927-3334.
Anne worked as an Enologist at Wine Boss/ Fidelitas in Washington State and at Winery Prieur in France, where she acquired experience in the different stages of the wine-making process. She also completed the Winemaking Certificate program at UC Davis, CA. Before she moved to the US, she completed studies in France: Agronomic Engineering at Supagro, Montpellier and a Master's Degree in Bioprocesses for Green Chemistry in partnership with the National Institute of Chemistry of Montpellier (ENSCM).
Jennie Gilbert is an experienced Technology Entrepreneur with a passion for designing software that helps businesses solve thorny problems. As a Founder of RedChirp, Jennie is obsessed with helping businesses meet consumers’ newly expanded expectations for virtual interactions. Calling and emailing may have been enough before, but now 89% of consumers want to text with businesses. RedChirp makes business texting easy: phone numbers, compliance, webchat, payments, marketing campaigns, integrations, automation and more.
Jennie is a frequent speaker at business conferences and the co-author of two books, "RE:Market: New digital techniques independent retailers can use now to compete better, grow faster and work smarter" (2017) and "RE:THiNK: 11 surprising things you should do now to win retail customers in the digital age" (2015).
When not in the office, Jennie spends time cooking with her husband and watching garbage truck videos with her toddler-aged son. Her most prized possession is their well-worn – and heavily stained – wine-tasting notebook.
Greg Gonzalez grew up in Oregon, splitting time between Eugene and Junction City where he worked on his family’s 10-acre Filbert farm (hazelnuts). From an early age, he excelled at soccer and eventually earned dual scholarships (academic and sports) to Southwestern Oregon Community College where he earned his associates in Athletic Training and transferred to California State University Monterey Bay to continue his collegiate soccer career. In 2008, he earned his BA in Social and Behavioral Sciences, with emphasis on Geographic Information Systems, Minor – Earth Systems, Sciences, Technology, and Policy.
Greg continued his post collegiate soccer career playing 2 seasons in the National Premier Soccer League and joined Scheid in 2009 as a harvest intern where he started implementing Geographic Information Systems (GIS), mapping vineyard properties. Eight months later, he was offered a role fulltime as Ranch Supervisor handling Geographic Information Sciences & Technologies implementing precision farming systems aimed at increasing quality and efficiency. After spending 12 years with Scheid building streamlined agricultural technologies, advanced precision viticultural, and mechanization. Greg finished his tenure with Scheid as the Director of Vineyard Operations of their 4200-acre footprint in Monterey County.
In March of 2021 Greg accepted an opportunity to lead the farming operations in Santa Barbara County for Foley Family Farms, an associate company to Foley Family Wines moving his family into the Santa Ynez Valley. Greg now leads the farming teams of Firestone Vineyards, Lincourt, and the two Foley Estate vineyard holdings in the Santa Rita Hills AVA.
Aside from Foley Family Farms, Greg holds various board positions with California Association of Winegrape Growers, The Vineyard Team, Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau, and the Foundation Board of California State University Monterey Bay. Greg has also achieved various professional certifications, Geographic Information Systems Professional (GISP), Certified Agricultural Irrigation Specialist (CAIS), and Lean Six Sigma Black-Belt.
Greg’s hobbies include playing and coaching soccer, carpentry, fantasy football, exercising, barbecuing, convertible wine tours in his 1965 GTO and spending time with his wife and his two young sons.
Jason Haas is the second-generation proprietor of Tablas Creek, serving in the dual roles of Partner and General Manager. In his two decades at the winery his family founded in partnership with the Perrins of Chateau de Beaucastel, Jason has overseen the business, winemaking, sales and marketing.
In addition to his work at Tablas Creek, Jason has led the boards of directors of both the Rhone Rangers and the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, and is a board member of Free the Grapes. His writing has been published in Wine Business Monthly, Wines & Vines, Decanter, Wine Industry Network and Wine Searcher. His photography has appeared in Wine Spectator, Forbes, the Washington Post, and Wine Enthusiast. He is principal author of the Tablas Creek blog, an eight-time finalist and two-time winner for the Wine Blog Award’s "Best Wine Blog".
In recognition of his contributions to the Paso Robles wine community, he was voted by his peers 2015 Paso Robles Wine Country Wine Industry Person of the Year and 2017 San Luis Obispo County Wine Industry Person of the Year. In 2022 he was named a Food & Wine Magazine Drinks Innovator of the Year.
Steven Harrison is the President & CEO of Zero Link Markets (ZLM)—the company that operates Vinoshipper and CompleteDTC—e-commerce, compliance, and CRM platforms for direct sales of alcohol products. The businesses facilitate small and medium-sized alcohol producers to sell and ship their products directly to consumers while connecting closely with customers. He has more than 25 years of experience working in finance and operations management and has been involved with several early-stage businesses, including software development, medical devices, and consumer products.
As the co-founder of ZLM, Steven had the vision to create the Vinoshipper platform to help small businesses comply with the complex, multi-jurisdictional regulations and reporting requirements involved in selling wine, beer, and spirits. In May 2022, ZLM acquired CompleteDTC for their CRM and POS expertise.
Sixteen years after it started in 2006, the platform is at the forefront of the Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) movement, helping to transform and modernize the industry which dates to the Prohibition era. With more than 2,500 producer clients using the platform, Vinoshipper is one of the largest compliance businesses in the country.
When he is not helping his team with the rigorous job of compliant sales and shipping, Steven spends most weeks talking with public officials about the policy nuances related to DTC and advocating for new laws that support the safe and legal shipment of alcoholic beverages.
Sandra Hess, founder of DTC Wine Workshops Consulting Agency, is a wine consumer engagement & direct sales specialist based out of Northern California. She and her team of 10 consultants support winery teams throughout the US, Canada and Australia with proven tools and training solutions. Sandra is a frequent speaker at wine industry events across the globe and publishes expert articles on direct to consumer wine sales best practices. Sandra is past president of Women for WineSense Napa Sonoma, has served as a steering committee member for the DTC Wine Symposium for five years and is an advisory board member for the Wine Business Monthly WiVi Conference Central Coast.
Prior to joining the wine industry, Sandra supported businesses nationally and globally in the areas of Sales & Marketing Strategy Development and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software Solutions.
Sandra is considered a thought leader in the direct to consumer winery space, has built an award-winning consulting agency, and has developed proven methodologies over the past 10 years. Featured in Forbes, Wine Business Monthly, Wines & Vines, Wine Industry Advisor, Wine Industry Network, Market Watch, Silicon Valley Bank on Wine and Regional Winery Association Publications, she is considered a trusted advisor.
Read Sandra's full BIO at: https://dtcwineworkshops.com/sandrahess
Raised in Wyoming, Lesli John moved to California to pursue her Master’s Degree in Spanish at California State University, Sacramento; she has since made Sonoma her home. Lesli has been in the wine industry for over 20 years, all of which has been focused on DTC sales, marketing and team building. With ten years of experience in her current role, Lesli has a proven track record of increasing sales, maximizing profitability, and successfully managing in an ever-evolving and dynamic industry. Her philosophy is anything is achievable with a plan, great communication, and a passionate and committed team. "I love the team environment. My greatest achievements have been as a part of a team that is FUN and committed to each other as well as the mission at hand! As leaders we are responsible for inspiring our team - a gift and a big responsibility!"
Joining Wine Institute in 2003, shortly after the publication of the California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing, Allison Jordan helped create the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance – a nonprofit organization established by the Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers to promote sustainability from grapes to glass. Since 2007, Allison has served as Executive Director of the Alliance, where she is responsible for leading the award-winning California Sustainable Winegrowing Program and Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing. She also serves as Vice President, Environmental Affairs for Wine Institute, a department she established in 2007 to address wine industry environmental and sustainability issues at local, state, federal and international levels. Allison is Vice Chair of the National Grape Research Alliance Board of Directors and a frequent speaker at industry events and international conferences.
Allison holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the Goldman School of Public Policy at University of California Berkeley, a Psychology B.A. from Allegheny College. She also received a Certificate in Wine Business Management from Sonoma State University, and achieved WSET Level 2 from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. Allison is now teaching a sustainable enterprises course at Sonoma State University in the Executive Wine MBA program. In addition, she is a fellow in the German Marshall Fund's American Marshall Memorial Fellowship program, designed to create a transatlantic network of policy leaders. Allison and her husband are founders of two restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area – Giordano Bros. (recently sold after 18 years) and Monk’s Kettle Terra Linda – and live in Marin with their two children where they enjoy hiking, camping and making music.
Christian comes from a multi – generation Pear farming background in Lake County, California. He began his farming career at the age of 4, driving the tractor during frost season with his father and grandfather, setting smudge pots to protect the trees from frost damage.
By the age of 16, Christian was managing multiple small pear packing sheds during the summer while in high school. After finishing high school, Christian attended Fresno State where he studied Viticulture and Tree Fruits earning his degree in 2000.
After graduating Fresno State, Christian went to work for Welch Vineyard Management in Mendocino Co. He worked his way up and was promoted to Director of Vineyard Operations in Lake County overseeing 1500 acres.
In 2014, Christian went to work for Shannon Ranches, Inc. in Lake County as Winery Relations / Viticulturist. In 2019, Christian was promoted to Vice President overseeing all farming operations covering 4500 acres in 6 Northern California Counties.
Tyler is a graduate of the UC Davis Viticulture and Enology program and St. Mary’s College in Health Science. Tyler joined his primary position at Redwood Empire Vineyard Management in 1997 on the grounds crew and eventually worked himself up to his present position as co-owner and viticulturist. Among other responsibilities, he oversees the farming of approximately 1000 vineyard acres. Working together at Sei Querce, Tyler and Hal have redeveloped 60 acres of vineyards, converted them to organic farming, achieved Fish and Bee Friendly certifications, restored 1500 feet of our creeks, and are now working with the California Land Stewardship Institute to become one of the first Climate Adaptation Certified vineyards. Sei Querce chose Tyler in 2010 because he stood out as the most highly regarded winegrower by the leading wineries in Northern Sonoma County and because he was willing to invest in the professional growth needed to help drive us to a high level of sustainability across multiple impact dimensions. He is now a county-wide leader in sustainability.
Adam Koeppel's mission is to provide farmers the technology and insights they need to thrive. An engineer with 48 granted patents and 69 patent applications pending, Adam focuses on discovering customer problems, developing products to solve them, and designing business models to get products in customers’ hands. While growing up in California, Adam enjoyed working in his godparents’ apple orchard and visited many Central Valley farms during family road trips. He also experienced many droughts. This led to his interest in agricultural optimization. After spending a decade building agriculture sensors in his basement, he and his co-founders applied for a highly-selective National Science Foundation SBIR Award. They won on the first try and started Agrology. Today, Agrology is a Public Benefit Corporation committed to protecting the economic viability of farmers and the sustainability of the planet. The Agrology platform gathers data, predicts, and alerts growers when action is needed for issues around smoke taint, drought and irrigation optimization, pest and disease prevention, microclimate monitoring for extreme temperatures, CO2 monitoring, and regenerative agriculture practices.
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. Since taking over the top leadership role, Kruse has guided the strategy and implementation of Sonoma County becoming the most sustainable wine region in the world. With a BS in Economics and an MBA in Marketing from Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Kruse is a forward-thinking leader that continues to innovate in areas of climate stewardship, ag preservation and social sustainability. Her current initiative and passion is the "Farm of the Future."
She is honored to have been a Marshall Memorial Fellow and is active in board roles for Memorial Hospital, Green Music Center, California Association of Winegrape Growers and First 5 Sonoma County.
Kruse has received several honors, but a few of her proudest achievements are being named to the Organic Authority's List of "Badass Disruptors Changing Your Food System" and Food and Wine Magazine’s most Innovative Women in Food & Drink. Karissa was named A Green Leader by Wine Enthusiast and selected as the Leader of the Year by the California Association of Winegrape Growers. In 2020, Congressman Mike Thompson named Kruse Woman of the Year for his district.
Amanda is an East Texas gal and holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree from the University of Texas at Tyler. She began her "visit" to Sonoma County in 2006 after graduation.
Her background in the wine business includes training with Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen, Mauritson Family Winery, Arista Winery, Lancaster Estate & Michael Plapp’s Baxter’s Bistro in Tahoe. This onsite training ranged in positions from wine educator, cellar rat, Restaurant GM/ Wine Buyer, and National Sales Manager.
After working with several varietals from many vantage points, she decided these three aspects were the most important to her: engagement and education with the public; working with Pinot noir; and getting some cellar-rat time every year. "It makes such a difference when you’ve had a hands-on experience with the vintage versus reading about what happened. Every year is different, challenging in new ways and exciting for exactly that reason."
Owner and President of McAbee Ag Consulting, Inc. and Caligrow, LLC. Graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo College of Agriculture majoring in Agricultural Sciences with a minor in Plant Protection Sciences. Kyle is a licensed Pest Control Adviser as well as a Certified Crop Advisor with Sustainability and Nitrogen Management certifications.
Kyle began McAbee Ag Consulting in 2016 as an independent PCA. Prior to that, he worked for Crop Production Services in both Delano, CA and Santa Maria, CA. After graduation from Cal Poly, Kyle went to work for Viticultural Management Inc (VMI) in Paso Robles, CA as an ‘in-house’ PCA. During his time at VMI, Kyle was introduced to wine grape production and gained a wealth of experience in both vineyard pest control as well as general wine grape production. Upon starting McAbee Ag Consulting, Inc, VMI became his first customer, and he has grown from there, servicing many vineyards along the central coast. Kyle values his responsibility for vineyard protection as well as production, including both conventional and organic systems.
Passionate about the start-up community and craft industry, Josh McKinney co-founded Ekos in 2014 to help craft producers better manage their operations. Josh combined his experience in software with a love of craft beverages to develop a business management software for craft producers of all kinds. He now serves as the company’s CEO and has helped Ekos reach thousands of craft breweries, wineries and cideries in more than 40 countries. Josh is a graduate of Appalachian State University.
I am currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Department for innovation in biological, agro-food and forest systems (wine group) of Tuscia University (UNITUS), Viterbo, Italy. Previously, I was a post-doctoral researcher at post-Harvest Physiology laboratory, institute of life science at school of advanced studies Sant’Anna (Pisa, Italy) where I received my PhD cum laude in arboriculture e crops cultivation (Agr/03) in May 2021. The PhD project dealt with the effect of pre- and post-harvest ozone treatments on vines and grapes to avoid the use of traditional chemicals in the viticulture sector, focusing on i) the activation of the acquired systemic resistance of the vines and the consequent reduction in the use of plant protection products; ii) post-harvest treatments with gaseous ozone for the production of free sulphur dioxide wines. During the PhD I was hosted by the University of Adelaide (South Australia) for two consecutive vintages (2019 and 2020) to evaluate the effect of ozone treatments to mitigate the "smoke taint" of grapes. Previously, I spent four months as an Intern at Plumpton college, East Sussex, UK (2017). I got a master’s degree cum laude (2017) in Agrifood Science and Technology (LM/70) and the project carried out for the master thesis was then published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. During the master I was involved in two internships at Agriculture and Environment Research Centre, Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA) and officially employed at Tuscia University as Laboratory teaching assistance (2017). In 2015 I got bachelor’s degree cum laude in Food quality and safety - Environment and Prevention and the project performed for my thesis titled "bees as bioindicators of pollution resulting from the use of plant protection products in agriculture. Effects on food and environmental safety" has been officially presented at 32nd national congress of industrial and environmental hygiene (2015). I have been actively involved in a number of research projects: i) Evaluation of different Low-oxygen storage protocols of apples; ii) Terpenoid profiles and biosynthetic gene expression pattern in ASTI DOCG white muscat grapes as affected by canopy management protocols; iii) Evaluation of short-term low temperature treatment of wine grapes in inducing the biosynthesis of volatile organic compounds; iv) Volatile compound and gene expression profiles associated with the storage of peach; vi) Quality of Kiwi fruit during cold storage at 0° in normal atmosphere and with gaseous ozone.
A native of Montreal Canada, Isabelle grew up surrounded by more maple trees than grapevines.
After studying winemaking and viticulture at The Canadian Food and Wine Institute in Niagara Ontario, she spent a couple of years working in some of Europe’s most renowned regions. Her travels took her from the steep slopes of the German Mosel, to the Grand Crus of Burgundy. A specific passion in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay led her to explore New Zealand’s Central Otago, Australia’s Yarra Valley, Canada’s small but fierce Niagara Peninsula, and finally the rolling hills of Sonoma County.
Isabelle joined the Flanagan team as an Assistant Winemaker in 2016, and became the Estate Director of Winemaking in 2018.
Isabelle’s winemaking philosophy is inspired by the idea that great wines are truly a quest to find the wine a vineyard wants to make. Eschewing dogma, Isabelle relies on both science and creativity to ensure that vineyard, in each vintage, is given the opportunity to express its’ best self.
Andrea Myers is a graduate of Syracuse University and has spent over twelve years in the Napa wine industry, exclusively focused on luxury winery DTC sales. Currently she oversees all aspects of DTC sales, marketing and operations at Round Pond Estate including Tasting Room, events, phone sales, wine club, fulfillment and e-commerce for wine and gourmet products. She previously worked as the Direct Sales Manager at Boisset Collection for six years, overseeing DTC sales for five luxury wine brands – Raymond Vineyards, JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset, Buena Vista Winery, DeLoach Vineyards and Wattle Creek. Prior to that, she led a Sales Team of 6-8 representatives at Chatterbox Wine Marketing in Downtown Napa. Andrea is a senior leader with demonstrated success in driving profitability and producing high level results across multiple business channels through omni-channel sales initiatives, process refinement and elevated team performance.
CPA, CGMA, has more than 15 years of public accounting experience providing accounting and advisory services to clients. She is an expert in the beverage and alcohol industry and specializes in internal accounting processes, financial reviews, budgeting, cash flow forecasting, financial strategy and succession planning.
Prior to joining GHJ in 2021, Maria was based in Portland, OR. She built a national practice focused on beverage alcohol clients. Maria helped clients to improve financial results and maximize efficiency of operations and guided them through ownership transitions.
Maria sits on the Finance Committee for the Brewers Association, the nation’s largest industry organization for craft brewers. She is also on the Advisory Board for The Bruery, an LA-based brewery with nationwide distribution.
Published by the Brewers Association in 2019, Maria wrote a top-rated book, Small Brewery Finance, to help small businesses run more successful breweries.
Maria is also a featured speaker and author on topics in the beverage space, specifically related to craft breweries. She has taught courses at the Business of Craft Beer program at the University of Vermont as well as the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States Academy.
Maria graduated from the College of Charleston where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Arts Management and minor in French. She received her Post Baccalaureate in Accounting from Linfield College. Maria has been a licensed CPA since 2010.
Her interests include traveling, hiking and writing.
Josh Prigge is a sustainability consultant, college professor, published author, and public speaker with over twelve years of experience managing sustainability programs and initiatives for large organizations. Josh currently runs his own sustainability consulting firm, Sustridge, where he works with wineries and other businesses to develop, implement and manage sustainability programs and initiatives. Josh previously worked as director of sustainability at Fetzer Vineyards and as sustainability coordinator Hawaii Pacific University. In 2017 and 2019, Josh was recognized as a top environmental leader in the business sector receiving the Environmental Leader 50 award and Environment and Energy Leader 100 award respectively. Josh's work has been featured in publications such as Forbes.com, The Guardian, The Huffington Post and Triple Pundit and he also produces and hosts the Sustainable Nation podcast, interviewing global leaders in sustainability. Josh holds a Master of Arts in Global Leadership and Sustainable Development, an MBA, accreditation as a TRUE Zero Waste Advisor, LEED Green Associate and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) certified training.
Ed Rice is the Executive Director at Affinity Creative Group, Mare Island, CA. With over two decades in agency management, Ed has extensive experience in account supervision, brand strategy, identity, design, and client development. From Wharton undergrad to U.S. Naval Officer, to Lucas’ THX technology marketer, to Landor Associates Managing Director and more.
Ed has enjoyed a great ride. Ed says his current time at Affinity Creative Group is particularly gratifying, as the agency and its multi-discipline team members offer clients the best of all worlds—experience, talent, and passionate, entrepreneurial drive.
Hannah M.P. Robinson is a Human Resources professional, specializing in recruitment. In 2016, she began her career working for the city of Austin, TX Convention Center and Palmer Events Center where she was the sole and head recruiter. Since then, she has found her joy in Napa, Sonoma, and Oregon wine industries working for Distinguished Vineyards and Wine Partners, focusing on recruitment and retention for Markham Vineyards, MacRostie Winery, Argyle Winery, and DVWP’s national sales and operations divisions. Hannah’s methods and practices are concentrated on transparent recruitment strategies that integrate diversity, equity, inclusion and high-impact interviewing, in order to obtain dedicated top talent suited for the industry.
Adam Ryan is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Coursey Graves, responsible for the strategic sales direction, vision, growth, and performance of both the Coursey Graves and Works & Days brands.
As a seasoned professional with 20 years of winery hospitality and sales experience, Adam is known for driving brand growth, maximizing operational excellence and delivering financial performance. He most recently served as the Event Marketing Manager for the Napa Valley based PlumpJack Collection, where he led event sales, marketing, and operations for four wineries before a worldwide pandemic suffocated travel and tourism. The experience led him to expand his wine marketing expertise to build an omnichannel outbound sales strategy that outperformed historical DTC sales channels.
Looking to the future, Adam is an aspiring Master of Wine who is currently enrolled in the WSET certification program to earn his diploma. Adam resides in Sonoma County with his wife, daughter, and English Bulldog, Duchess. He has a passion for baking French patisserie and aspires to collect a cellar’s worth of the greatest wines from Portugal’s Azores Islands and Chile’s Colchagua Valley.
Founder & CEO of VinterActive, Bryan St. Amant, is a pioneer in developing preference-based direct marketing and its successful application in the wine industry. His advice has helped hundreds of wineries across the U.S. grow sales and customer satisfaction by leveraging the best practices of DTC wine marketing.
St. Amant holds an MS from M.I.T. and a BS from U.C. Berkeley. His award-winning work has been featured in books, magazines, and seminars, including CFO Magazine, Inc., CNN Money, eMarketing Magazine, Integrated Direct Marketing, Direct Marketing Association, Wine Marketing Report, and the Wine Industry Network.
Bill works with business owners and management teams to help them navigate challenges, improve performance and focus on their goals. Utilizing experience gained in successfully developing and managing winery operations and building brands, he is adept at assessing a business’ performance and providing guidance in strategic planning, sales and marketing, winery operations and vineyard development.
Bill began his professional career 25+ years ago as a lender with Farm Credit, where he was involved with financing a diverse array of agricultural operations. Following this, Bill worked in executive management positions running estate winery operations including Monticello Cellars & Vineyards in the Napa Valley, followed by 14 years leading and guiding the esteemed Peter Michael Winery estate from a fledgling start-up to a highly successful wine business.
Bill is a graduate of the University of California at Davis’ School of Agriculture and Environmental Science with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science. He earned his MBA degree at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management.
Jennifer is an industry professional with 24 years of experience, including 12 years with WISE. She began her career in the wine industry working for Lesley Berglund (Co-Founder & Chairman of WISE) at Ambrosia Wine Catalogue/The Winetasting Network shortly after completing her BA in English Literature. Over the course of her career, she has developed expertise in project and account management, market research, copywriting, and editing. Today, in her role as The Glue, Jennifer oversees WISE Operations which includes spearheading the WISE Mystery Shopping Program (now over 5,000 shops); overseeing content development; coaching; account management of WISE wineries; overseeing marketing programs; moderating WISE Cabinets; coordinating, scheduling, and communicating with coaches, attendees and winery partners for a robust class schedule of 20+ courses and onsite training programs throughout California, Oregon, Washington, New York and more.