2018 Sessions & Workshops

In Pursuit of Excellence

The 2018 US Wine & Beverage Conference theme “In Pursuit of Excellence” will highlight innovations and breakthroughs within every aspect of the industry. The conference will feature leaders from across the country to share their experiences pursuing quality from the vineyard to the bottle.

“This conference will provide a wealth of up-to-date, practical information as well as great networking opportunities to share experiences, knowledge, and a glass or two of fine wine. The Washington, D.C. venue adds layers of benefits for both business and pleasure.” Jim Trezise, President / WineAmerica, International Riesling Foundation
"Our members are excited that a new wine industry conference and trade show has been established to address the most current business challenges and opportunities this region faces. The fact that it’s in Washington, D.C. — a huge wine market in the center of the Eastern wine region — is a critical draw.” Kevin Atticks, Executive Director, Maryland Wineries Association

Conference Pricing

Early Bird
Full Conference Pass$395  $295

  • 2-Day Full Access Conference Pass
  • 1-Day Trade Show Floor Pass
  • All Social / Networking Events

Wednesday Only
Conference Pass$295  $195

  • 1-Day Full Access Conference Pass
  • 2 General Sessions + 4 Workshops
  • Welcome Reception

Thursday Only
Conference Pass$250  $150

  • 1-Day Full Access Conference Pass
  • 1 General Session + 2 Workshops
  • 1-Day Trade Show Floor Pass
  • Exhibit Hall Food & Beverage Tasting

Trade Show
Floor Pass$40 $20

  • 1-Day Trade Show Floor Pass (Thursday)
  • Exhibit Hall Food & Beverage Tasting

Social / Networking Events

USBevX Conference and Trade Show passes include access to 2 networking events, beginning with our Welcome Reception on Wednesday evening from 5:30pm—7:30pm. On Thursday, enjoy our Exhibit Hall Food & Beverage Tasting from 12:00pm—3:00pm and mingle with attendees and exhibitors. Each event includes a special selection of Wine carefully paired with a variety of hors d'oeuvres prepared by the Marriott Wardman Park Chef.


Wednesday 2/21 - 2018

General Session #1:    Wednesday 2/21 9:00am - 10:00am

In Pursuit of Excellence: Trade & Media Weigh In

Topic Description

The quality reputation of the eastern wine industry continues to grow as trade and media acknowledge the efforts to produce top wines, comparable in quality to some of the most famous wine regions in the world. What are they doing right and how do they maintain the momentum as a new generation of winemakers enter the industry.

Damien Wilson, Hamel Family Chair of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University will lead the discussion on the future of the eastern wine industry from the perspective of trade and media.

From the trade, Brian Rosen, globally regarded as THE leading authority in the three-tier system, retail off premise, marketing, merchandising, ECOMM and go to market strategy for the Adult Beverage Space. Representing the Media, Wine Enthusiast writer and east coast specialists, Anna Lee C. Iijima will be on hand to share thoughts and predictions on the quality reputation of the eastern region.



Moderator

Dr. Damien Wilson

Chair / SSU Wine Business

Speakers

Nova Cadamatre

Master of Wine

Anna Lee C. Iijima

Contributing Editor / Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Brian Rosen

Owner & Founder / BevStrat.com



Workshop #1a:    Wednesday 2/21 10:15am - 11:00am

Canned Wines: Crushing the Stigma by Raising the Quality

Topic Description

Wine in a can is not new, but the quality inside the can is. Quality now drives the growth of the canned wine category and consumers are responding.

This panel will feature industry experts already canning wine to share their experiences and their predictions on the future of the canned wine category. How have their customers reacted? What were the costs? What has been the reaction from the trade & Media? How have they dealt with the negative stigma attached to canned wines?

For producers who are considering expanding your product line, this is the session to have all of your questions addressed, from small and large scale producers who will be there to share their own trials and tribulations. Finally, don’t just take their word for it, enjoy proof with a small tasting of select canned wines during this session.



Moderator

Melanie Virreira

Director of Marketing / Ball Corporation

Speakers

Ken Albert

Partner, Founder / Shelburne Vineyard

Ami Opisso

General Manager / Lieb Cellars

Ashley Sebastionelli

President & Co-Founder / Lucky Clover Packaging



Workshop #1b:   Wednesday 2/21 10:15am - 11:00am

Exploring Vineyard Management Decisions Impact on Wine Quality

Topic Description

This vineyard focused session, led by the Virginia Winemakers Research Exchange and participating wineries, will highlight the results of grape ripening trials conducted during the 2017 growing season. This panel will discuss different vineyard management philosophies and the results of decisions made throughout the year, such as leaf pulling, timing, whether on one or both sides of the vine, crop thinning & timing, trellising style, canopy height and harvesting based on different ripeness parameters.



Presenter

Michael Attanasi

Research Exchange Coordinator / Virginia Winemakers Research Exchange



Workshop #1c:   Wednesday 2/21 10:15am - 11:00am

Staff Training: Your Best Investment

Topic Description

According to the 2017 VinQuest Tasting Room Survey, the most glaring difference that distinguished tasting rooms that experienced the sales growth and those that didn't was their commitment to staff training. How often should you train your staff? What should you be focused on? Is it better to train in house or go with outside training? These questions and more will be addressed by a panel of direct to consumer experts. This workshop is for winery owners, GM’s, Tasting Room, etc. who feel that their tasting room sales should be better than what they are.



Moderator

Elizabeth "E" Slater

Founder / In Short Direct Marketing

Speakers

Tammy Boatright

President / VingDirect

Jeff Plack

Director of Business Development / Biltmore Wines

Bryan St. Amant

Founder & CEO / VinterActive LLC



Workshop #2a:   Wednesday 2/21 11:15am - 12:00pm

Beyond Facebook: The Next Social Frontier

Topic Description

As social media continues its journey towards being THE most important channel for customer communications and wine club retention, wineries are working harder than ever to stand out in the sea of content. We’ve seen the winemaker videos on Facebook, the pictures of a club event on Instagram, the new release announcement on Twitter, but how else is social being leveraged? How are platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat being successfully utilized to not just entertain, but inspire purchases? How do you stay in front of the social curve and what’s the next channel you need to be aware of? Because if you’re busy catching up, it means you’re not keeping up.

This session will provide the opportunity to learn from professional social experts and the wineries that inspire our social envy, uncover their approach to leveraging new channels they see trending and how those strategies can be applied to grow your customer base, your brand loyalty and ultimately, sell more wine.



Presenter

Monika Elling

CEO / Foundations Marketing Group



Workshop #2b:   Wednesday 2/21 11:15am - 12:00pm

Trends in Eastern Winemaking: Appassimento-Style

Topic Description

Appassimento is Italian term for drying harvested grapes for a period to concentrate the sugars and flavors. This process is used in making Amarone, Recioto and Sforzato and some eastern winemakers are experimenting with the technique for greater extraction and "improved ripeness for their table wines, in addition to its use as a dessert-wine style.

This session, led by Denise Gardner, former Penn State Extension Enologist and current owner of Denise Gardner Winemaking, explores the use of this winemaking style and the fascinating results experienced by wineries using this old world, winemaking technique. Attendees will have the opportunity to taste wines from participating wineries.



Moderator

Denise Gardner

Winemaking Consultant / Denise Gardner Winemaking, LLC

Speakers

Sean Comninos

Winemaker / Heritage Vineyards

Dr. Debra Inglis, PhD

Director / Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, Brock University

Michael Jones

Fermentation Specialist / Scott Laboratories



Workshop #3a:   Wednesday 2/21 1:15pm - 2:15pm

Financing the Pursuit of Excellence

Topic Description

Like any industry, if you're not consistently reinvesting to increase quality or efficiencies, you will fall behind and catching up is always more expensive...if you can catch up at all. The wine industry is no exception to this, but financing the pursuit of excellence can be challenging as well as confusing. Finance expert, Keith Merklin, of Live Oak Bank will walk through available options and address questions such as, is an SBA loan the right choice? What formulas can I use to determine what I'll qualify for? Is crowd-funding a legitimate option?

In today’s world, there are many ways to access capital, including channels you may not have considered. Learn from a banking expert what the various options are from traditional and non-traditional sources, and the pros and cons of each.



Presenter

Keith Merklin

General Manager / Live Oak Bank and Craft Beverage Lending



Workshop #3b:   Wednesday 2/21 1:15pm - 2:15pm

Breakthrough Technology in Yeast Nutrition: The Quality Impact

Topic Description

This session, led by Megan Hereford MS and Dr. Nichola Hall, former ASEV President, will provide insights on innovations in yeast nutrition and the impact on wine quality. The session is specifically for winemakers and winery owners looking for new techniques to increase flavor and complexity in wines produced by eastern grown grapes.



Speakers

Dr. Nichola Hall

Technical Representative / Scott Laboratories

Megan Hereford

Sales Representative / Scott Laboratories



Workshop #3c:   Wednesday 2/21 1:15pm - 2:15pm

Offering More: Adding Spirits, Cider or Beer to the Lineup

Topic Description

Wineries have been successfully adding craft beer, cider or distilled spirits to their program. With an existing customer base in place, adding new products presents a great opportunity, but what hurdles can you expect to encounter? Is it worth the additional effort and expense? How will your core customers react? What are the compliance implications? Hear from wineries that have added other beverages, along with compliance experts, what you can expect to experience by expanding your product offerings.



Moderator

Jacob Halls

Owner / Convergence Consulting

Speaker

Mario Mazza

VP, General Manager, Enologist / Mazza Wines, Five & 20 Spirits & Brewing

Max Rohn

General Manager / Wölffer Estate



Workshop #4a:   Wednesday 2/21 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Designing for Excellence; Striking the Balance between Form & Function

Topic Description

Wineries that consistently produce great wines and/or deliver a superior experience for their customers have facilities that look like they were specifically designed to do exactly that. More often than not, that's precisely what happened. With the same mindset used to plant a vineyard a certain way to maximize quality, designing your production area or tasting room should follow the same logic.

This session, led by FMD Architects Melanie Friedman and Brian Grafton will tackle topics such as “Efficient Flow of Production Space”, “Best Practices for Tasting Rooms”, “Common Hurdles and How to Overcome Them”, “How to Get Started” and more. Whether you’re starting from scratch, expanding or working on a redesign, this session will help ensure you have the right plan to get exactly what you’re looking for within your budget.



Speakers

Melanie Friedman

Principal / FMD Architects

Brian Grafton

Project Architect / FMD Architects



Workshop #4b:   Wednesday 2/21 2:30pm - 3:30pm

The Evolution and Quality Impact of Flash Détente for Eastern Winemakers

Topic Description

Flash Détente (détente is the French for relaxation or depressurization), or Thermo Flash, is a thermal treatments technique developed in Europe over 20 years ago. Since 2009, Flash technology has been available in California, Virginia and other winemaking regions and produced significant results and is ideal for challenges faced by eastern winemakers, including enhanced quality for cool, humid climate grapes.

Other benefits of Thermo Flash include better color and tannin extraction, less vegetal character (pyrazine), a decrease in “Foxy” character, denatured laccase and mold and stronger fruit expression.

This session will feature winemakers who have used flash technology to share their knowledge and experience. The session will also include a trial tasting.



Speakers

Rick Jones

Pioneering Winemaker, Entrepreneur, Owner / Richard S. Jones Wine Consulting

Jonathan Wheeler

Winemaker / Trump Winery



Workshop #4c:   Wednesday 2/21 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Wine Writers, What Are They Looking For?

Topic Description

Has your winery been written about? Are you often excluded when writers list their favorites?

Garnering media attention is never easy, but there are things that can help. This session will feature wine writers with a keen eye for talent and a big following. Hear directly from four of the most popular eastern based writers to learn what they're looking for and what other wineries have done to get more than their fair share of editorial attention.



Moderator

Eric Guerra

Chief Marketing & Sales Officer / Terravant Wine Company

Speakers

Carlo DeVito

Owner / Hudson-Chatham Winery

Frank Morgan

Wine Writer

Lenn Thompson

Founder & Editor / The Cork Report

Paul Vigna

Editor, Writer / PennLive.com



General Session #2:    Wednesday 2/21 4:00pm - 5:00pm

Washington, D.C.: Politics, Policy, and Your Bottom Line

Topic Description

Your winery’s success depends on the business climate just as it does the quality of your wines and the creativity of your marketing. That business climate is largely shaped in Washington, DC, so with every new Administration comes new ideas, regulations, and legislation—and the need to keep an eye on them. Tax reform, immigration, music licensing, trade policy, and funding for research and export, are just a few of the bottom-line issues that WineAmerica tracks and influences on your behalf. Learn from the experts what’s now on the agenda—and what you can do to help.



Moderator

Jim Trezise

President / WineAmerica, International Riesling Foundation

Speakers

Tara Good

Vice President / WineAmerica

Michael Kaiser

Vice President / WineAmerica

Larry Meyers

President / Meyers & Associates


Thursday 2/22 - 2018

General Session #3:    Thursday 2/22 8:45am - 10:00am

The Eastern Wine Industry's Pursuit of Excellence: Winning Against All Odds

Topic Description

Despite the fact that great wines are being produced throughout the eastern region, the perception that the best domestic wines are made on the west coast continues. The question remains, what has to happen in order for the more consumers, trade and media to take wines from the east as serious as they do California, Washington or Oregon?

Eric Guerra, a wine industry veteran and luxury marketing expert "Against All Odds" presentation will highlight how particular brands and regions have succeeded when others before them did not. Although the approaches varied, those that finally overcame their challenges shared an unrelenting commitment to their goals and to the quality of their products. Learn what these success stories have in common with the eastern wine industry and why the best is yet to come for this region.



Keynote Speaker

Eric Guerra

Chief Marketing & Sales Officer / Terravant Wine Company

Moderator

Dr. Damien Wilson

Chair / SSU Wine Business



Workshop #5a:    Thursday 2/22 11:00am - 12:00pm

New Options for Distribution: Control Your Own Destiny

Topic Description

Successfully building and growing a brand requires some distribution, but finding a willing distributor, especially for small producers, is a huge hurdle with few options. That may be changing.

Liberation Distribution, Inc. (LibDib) is a distributor of alcoholic beverages enabled through a modern web platform. Restaurants, Bars & Retailers legally and efficiently can purchase boutique wines from Makers of all sizes. LibDib is changing distribution by leveling the playing field for everyone. Learn about this new platform and how they're changing the distribution game forever, especially for small, regional producers.



Speakers

Cheryl Durzy

Founder & CEO / LibDib

Brian Rosen

Owner & Founder / BevStrat.com



Workshop #5b:   Thursday 2/22 11:00am - 12:00pm

Red Wine Production Trials: Results on Wine Chemistry and Quality

Topic Description

This winemaker focused session, led by the Virginia Winemakers Research Exchange and participating wineries, will highlight the results of trials conducted during the 2017 harvest. This panel of winemakers will discuss different red winemaking stylistic practices impact on final wine chemistry and flavor. Examples of trials include comparing punchdowns vs pumpovers, carbonic maceration vs traditional fermentation, the results of different levels of Saignée/bleeding on red wine quality, and whole cluster inclusion. The session will also include a tasting of trial wines.



Presenter

Michael Attanasi

Research Exchange Coordinator / Virginia Winemakers Research Exchange



Workshop #5c:   Thursday 2/22 11:00am - 12:00pm

Case Study: How 6 Brands Target 6 Different Wine Consumers

Topic Description

Who is your target market? This session will explore why “all wine drinkers” isn’t a good answer. We will discuss the 6 different types of wine drinkers and provide real world examples of how 6 different wine brands reach and motivate each market segment. You will learn which aspects of wine labels, websites, and social media appeal to each group. The primary objective is to help you identify which segment of wine drinkers is your ideal consumer, and provide inspiration for strategies that could appeal to your niche.



Presenter

Rebecca Ritz

Bauerhaus Design



Workshop #6a:   Thursday 2/22 1:15pm - 2:15pm

Wine & Weed: Tales from the West

Topic Description

A New Normal on the Horizon?

On January 1st, adults in California are no longer required to have a medical card to purchase cannabis. Other wine regions, such as Washington, Oregon and Colorado have been dealing with legalization for years. These are still uncharted waters for the wine industry and while “experts” have been predicting what the impact will be for years, no one really knows for certain what the long-term effects will be. What we do know is that the cannabis industry will impact the wine economy in some way, but to what degree, only time can answer.

This session will explore the opportunities and threats that legalization presents as well as forecast what eastern wine regions might be the next to contend with legalized cannabis. Subject matter experts, from both industries, will be on hand to address the latest news and ongoing debate, Wine & Weed, friends or foes.

Whether you’re for or against legalization, wine’s new neighbor is moving in. This is an opportunity to better understand and be prepared for the future.



Moderator

Tina Caputo

Wine, Food & Lifestyle Writer

Speakers

Hezekiah Allen

Executive Director / California Growers Association

Michael Correira

Director of Government Relations / National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA)

Tawnie Logan

Chairwoman / Sonoma Cannabis Business Alliance (SCBA), California Growers Association (CGA)



Workshop #6b:   Thursday 2/22 1:15pm - 2:15pm

Exploring Production Styles of Rosé in the Eastern Wine Industry

Topic Description

The exploding popularity of Rosé isn't being driven by any one particular production approach. While there are wineries that stay with the more traditional method, others make saignée rosé and have experienced great success. Additionally, there are a number of different opinions on everything from picking calls to yeast strains to best varietals, and more, to achieve the desired style and resulting wine.

This session, led by Denise Gardner, former Penn State Extension Enologist and current owner of Denise Gardner Winemaking, will examine different techniques used by winemakers producing some of the best Rosé in the eastern region. Attendees will have the opportunity to taste wines from participating wineries.



Moderator

Denise Gardner

Winemaking Consultant / Denise Gardner Winemaking, LLC

Speakers

Dave Breeden

Winemaker / Sheldrake Point

Sean Comninos

Winemaker / Heritage Vineyards

Virginia Mitchell

Winemaker / Galer Estate Vineyard & Winery



Workshop #6c:    Thursday 2/22 1:15pm - 2:15pm

Wine Club Excellence; Boost Wine Club Sales, Retention & Loyalty

Topic Description

Why are some wine clubs successful while others barely plug along? Is it the wine? The events? The staff? This session will look at what makes a wine club excel, focusing on selling wine club memberships, retention, referrals and member loyalty. This session, led by Elizabeth Slater, In Short Direct Marketing's wine club expert, will provide attendees with the tools needed to make wine club membership sales and retention soar.

Elizabeth works with winery sales staff throughout the United States and Canada. She teaches the wine club segments at both Sonoma State University and Santa Rosa Junior College's internationally renowned Wine Business programs.



Presenter

Elizabeth "E" Slater

Founder / In Short Direct Marketing