Wine Educator & Communicator
Topics: Social Media Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Keep Making, The New Press Machine: Bloggers and their Increasing Influence in the Industry
Luiz Alberto is a Brazilian with Italian blood and an American heart - very complex as a great wine must be! As a person who truly loves wine, and with more than the simple desire to imbibe the drink, Luiz has an eagerness to appreciate and learn everything that relates to wine. Luiz has quite an extensive list of wine-related activities. Here are just a few examples; Founder & CEO of TheWineHub, Founder of the #winelover community, Founder & CEO of the Winelover Against Cancer Foundation, a Master of Wine student, a Member of the Circle of Wine Writers of London, an Italian Wine Ambassador, a Judge at international wine competitions, and is a wine educator and communicator.
Executive Director / Virginia Wineries Association
President, CEO / Association Solutions, Inc
Laurie P. Aldrich is President/CEO Association Solutions, Inc. Since 2000, Ms. Aldrich has worked with the Virginia Retail Merchants Association (VRMA), where she was named President in 2002. The VRMA, which is over 110 years old, represents more than 5,400 retailers and other associated businesses from throughout Virginia. As President/CEO of Association Solutions, Inc., an association management company, Ms. Aldrich and her staff provide management services for non-profit organizations. Ms. Aldrich is contracted to provide management and Executive Director services for the Virginia Wineries Association. With Ms. Aldrich’s leadership, VWA has seen revenue growth of over 400%, applied for and been awarded multiple grant, started a quality assurance program for Virginia wine, and expanded their Governor’s Cup™ competition – resulting in participation of world-renowned judges and raising the awareness of Virginia wine. Association Solutions, Inc. also provides management services for the Indiana Winery & Vineyard Association and Fauquier Wine Council. A native of Ohio, Ms. Aldrich has over 20 years of sales, management and association experience. Ms. Aldrich currently serves as a member of the National Council of State Retail Associations and is a member of the Food Industry Association Executives and the Virginia Society of Association Executives and the American Society of Association Executives. Ms. Aldrich was educated at Purdue University.
Research Exchange Coordinator / Virginia Winemakers Research Exchange
Topic: Whole Cluster Inclusion: Exploring Quality Trends in Eastern Winemaking (part 1 of 2) , The Use of Oak Adjuncts in Red Wine Fermentations: Exploring Quality Trends in Eastern Winemaking (part 2 of 2)
Michael began his winemaking career working as a Winemaking Intern for the 2012 harvest at Knob Hall Winery in Maryland. This experience exposed him to the potential of the East Coast as a winemaking region. After this, he worked as an Assistant Brewer for Three Stars Brewing Company in Washington, D.C. from December 2012 until June 2014. He holds a Master of Science in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis, with a focus on microbial spoilage and redox chemistry. He is now the Research Exchange Coordinator for the Virginia Winemakers Research Exchange. His experiences in fermentation have instilled in him a passion for the East Coast wine, beer, and cider industries.
Kevin M. Atticks DCD
Founder / Grow & Fortify
Executive Director / Maryland Wineries Association
Atticks is the founder & CEO of Grow & Fortify, a new firm that supports value-added agricultural businesses and strengthens the organizations that support them. Clients include the Maryland Wineries Association, Brewers Association of Maryland and newly formed Maryland Distillers Guild.
Atticks has held the position as director of the Maryland Wineries Association since 2003. He authored the "Discovering Wineries" series of books, is the current chairman of the Maryland Tourism Coalition (MTC), and past chair of the and WineAmerica State & Regional Associations Advisory Council, and past president of the Maryland Agriculture Resource Council (MARC). Atticks holds a master’s in environmental journalism from University of Colorado–Boulder and a doctorate in communications design from the University of Baltimore.
Kevin Atticks is an affiliate professor of communication at Loyola University Maryland where he is the director at Apprentice House Press, the nation’s only campus-based, student-managed book publishing organization.
Winemaker, Vineyard Manager / Keswick Vineyards
Stephen started working in the wine industry at Groot Constantia Winery, the oldest winery in South Africa, as a pourer and tour guide. Through various courses of events he managed to find a position in the cellar as a cellar worker and then eventually became the assistant winemaker there. He studied Enology and Viticulture at Elsenburg Agricultural College. Upon completion of his studies Stephen became the assistant winemaker at Flagstone Winery where he worked exclusively with red wines.
Through the Ohio State Internship program, he came to Virginia in 2002 and joined Keswick Vineyards as an intern and held that position until May 2004 when he took the position of Winemaker at Rappahannock Cellars. In June of 2006 he re-joined Keswick Vineyards as the Winemaker.
Stephen’s philosophy for winemaking is minimal intervention. He prefers to focus on the vineyard to produce optimal fruit for winemaking. Keswick Vineyards is one of the few wineries that ferments most of its wines without the addition of yeast and do not fine or filter any of their reds since the 2006 harvest. Keswick Vineyards is committed to producing world-class wines and are now seeing the potential Virginia, as well as Keswick Vineyards, has to offer.
Proprietor / Black Ankle Vineyards
Sarah O’Herron and Ed Boyce are the proprietors of Black Ankle Vineyards. In 2001, they decided to take a shot at their long-time dream of creating a world class vineyard close to home in the Maryland Piedmont. They spent the next several years scouring the Maryland countryside for ideal vineyard land, learning what it took to grow great wine grapes, and endeavoring to recreate those practices at their Frederick County vineyard. Black Ankle Vineyards, the result of those efforts, had its first harvest in 2006 and opened its doors to the public in October 2008.
Black Ankle Vineyards has received numerous awards in a few short years, including being named one of the 100 best wineries in the country. Ed is passionate about growing wine and believes that the East Coast has just begun to tap its potential to grow world class wine.
Annette Ringwood Boyd
Director / Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office
Owner / Ringwood Boyd Marketing
Annette Ringwood Boyd is the director for the Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office. In this capacity, she manages the board’s marketing efforts on behalf of the Virginia Wine Industry including the strategic oversight of the overall marketing of the Virginia wine industry. Her staff oversees the production of the Virginia Winery Guide, the development and day-to-day management of the industry website, www.virginiawine.org, October Virginia Wine Month, Love by the Glass Virginia Wine & Dine Month and other marketing initiatives on behalf of the Virginia Wine Board.
She began her wine career selling wines in a retail wine shop in college and later as marketing director for a Richmond, Virginia non-profit organization, where she planned wine events in downtown Richmond in addition to running the organization’s public relations and marketing efforts.
She ran the Virginia Wine Marketing Office for 5 years as an employee for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and from there went on to direct branding, marketing planning and business development for other organizations including various advertising agencies and non-profit organizations in Virginia.
Annette founded her own company, Ringwood Boyd Marketing in 2007 and her company has been the outside consultant managing the marketing efforts for the Virginia Wine Board since 2007. She has been recognized for her marketing by the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association and the Richmond Chapter of the American Marketing Association and is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a BS in Business with a concentration in marketing.
Wine, Food and Lifestyle Writer
Tina Caputo is a wine, food and lifestyle writer who regularly contributes to ZesterDaily.com and Sonoma magazine, among other publications. She began her career in the communications department at Wine Institute, and went on to become the assistant director of communications at Maisons Marques & Domaines USA. She spent five years as the managing editor for Wines & Vines magazine before moving on to become the editor-in-chief of Vineyard & Winery Management magazine, a position she held for more than seven years.
Mark L. Chien
Program Coordinator / Oregon Wine Research Institute
Mark was born in Wilmington, Delaware, grew up in New England, and received a psychology degree from Amherst College and M.Ed. from Penn State University. He became interested in vines while traveling and studying in Europe. After traveling extensively through Europe where he caught the wine bug, he enrolled in the graduate viticulture program at the University of California at Davis.
He was the first winemaker and second vineyard manager at Pindar Vineyards, the largest winery on Long Island, NY. He managed Temperance Hill Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA of Oregon for 16 years, growing wine grapes, Christmas trees and timber products. During this time he was a co-founder of Oregon Low Input Enology and Viticulture and the wine studies program at Chemeketa Community College, served on the Oregon Wine Association research committee and the International Pinot Noir Celebration board.
In 1999 he joined Penn State Cooperative Extension as their first viticulture extension educator and worked to improve wine quality in Eastern North America. In May, 2014 he joined the Oregon Wine Research Institute as its program coordinator, and will facilitate viticulture and enology research at Oregon State University.
He is a long time member of the national American Society for Enology and Viticulture and a former secretary of its Eastern Section. He also helped found the National Grape and Wine Initiative, the National Clean Plant Network (NCPN) and the National Viticulture and Enology Extension Conference. He lives in Salem with wife Judi and cat Mandy.
Wine and Beverage Loans / Live Oak Bank
Jeff began his wine lending career in 1993 in Napa Valley. He has worked with wineries, breweries, distilleries and related industries throughout the United States. He managed a private banking group that worked with wine industry owners to develop business succession plans as well as working as a registered representative in the securities industry. A native of Indiana, Jeff grew up farming and has a deep appreciation of the challenges that face people in agribusiness. Jeff owns and operates a grass fed beef company in Sonoma County. He is a locavore and advocate of sustainable agriculture. When not spending time with his family and friends, he loves to be in the saddle.
David M. Collins
Winemaker, Co-Owner / Big Cork Vineyards
David M. Collins has 30 years of wine industry experience and leadership in Virginia and Maryland. He began his career in Virginia at Loudoun County’s first winery, Willowcroft Vineyards, in 1987, became winemaker at Breaux Vineyards in 1997, also in Virginia, and in 2011 partnered with Randy and Jennifer Thompson to form Big Cork Vineyards in Washington County, Maryland. Collins is a horticulture graduate from Virginia Tech.
Collins has spoken at numerous industry seminars and has consulted for many vineyards and wineries. His knowledge and experience in vineyard operations and winemaking techniques is extensive. Collins is widely recognized for his award winning wines, having garnered the Jefferson Cup in Virginia, and the Winemasters Cup, Jack Aellen Cup, and Governor’s Cup in Maryland. Of particular note is his creative work with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Nebbiolo, Viognier, ice wine, and Russian Kiss, a blend using Eastern European grapes.
Currently, Collins is winemaker and co-owner at Big Cork Vineyards, located in Rohrersville, Maryland where he oversees 30.5 acres of wine grapes and bottles 6,000 cases per year.
President / Brack Mountain Wine Company
Honore Comfort joined Brack Mountain Wine Company as President in February, 2015. This mid-sized winery based in Sebastopol, CA, produces a portfolio of handcrafted, age-worthy wines for distribution and direct-to-consumer sales. In her role, Ms. Comfort oversees marketing and administration, brand development and business strategy for the company. Together with CEO Jason Enos they manage distribution in more than 25 states and 3 countries.
Prior to her current role, Honore spent 9 years as the Executive Director of the Sonoma County Vintners. Under her leadership the Sonoma County Vintners organization doubled in membership and launched several significant initiatives including the Conjunctive Labeling legislation for Sonoma County. She developed Sonoma Wine Country Weekend and built the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction to be one of the top three wine auctions in the United States. Formerly with Foster’s Wine Estates Americas (now Treasury Wine Estates), Ms. Comfort has an extensive background in wine marketing, consumer marketing, and not-for profit management. As Group Brand Manager for Luxury Imports for Fosters, Ms. Comfort was responsible for marketing major wine brands to the North American market including Penfolds and Wynn’s along with other boutique luxury brands. Prior to the merger with Foster’s, she managed the Rosemount Estate brand for Southcorp Wines and was responsible for a 2 million case business in the US, Canada, and Latin America. Honore joined the wine industry in 2001 with a small, family-owned and operated winery in the heart of Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley.
Ms. Comfort gained her marketing and advertising expertise while working as Director of Print Media for Macy’s West in San Francisco. Her well-rounded career also includes four years as a successful strategic planner and corporate fundraiser for the Art Institute of Chicago, and other non-profit museums and institutions around the United States.
Honore has a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Arts Administration both from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, along with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the University of California, Berkeley.
Ms. Comfort lives in Healdsburg with her husband, and together they manage their micro-vineyard in Dry Creek Valley.
Senior Correspondent / Wine & Spirits Magazine
Patrick Comiskey is a Senior Correspondent for Wine & Spirits Magazine, where he serves as chief critic for all American wines not from California, and regularly contributes articles devoted to California, Oregon and Washington wine, winegrowing, and wine culture. He is a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times, and his work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, Decanter, Lucky Peach, Zester Daily, and the Robb Report.
He lives in Los Angeles, where he is an instructor on the wine business at UCLA. His book American Rhône: How Maverick Winemakers Changed the Way Americans Drink debuted in October, 2016. The book has been shortlisted for the Andre Simon Book Awards, and the Gourmand Prize for Best New World Wine Book.
Executive Director / Wine Road Northern Sonoma County
Topic: Membership Growth: Recruitment & Retention , All Ships Rise with the Tide: Branding Your Region
Beth Costa has been the Executive Director for Wine Road Northern Sonoma County, an association of 200 wineries and 50 lodgings for the past sixteen years. In that roll she is responsible for creating the budget, managing staff and working with a committee to create and implement a yearly marketing plan. Beth oversees social media with a team that also creates the blog, newsletter and podcast to give visitors an insider’s view of Wine Road. In addition she facilitates the production of the Wine Road map and organizes educational seminars for members.
Beth is currently the chair for the Hospitality Advisory Board for Santa Rosa Junior College. She regularly partners with the tourism bureau in both Sonoma County and San Francisco on various press events.
Prior to working for Wine Road, Beth spent nine years managing the tasting rooms at Kendall-Jackson. While there she hired and trained staff, developed a training manual and managed the tasting room budgets. In addition Beth worked with the club manager to develop sales techniques and was in charge of purchasing and merchandising for the various tasting rooms.
Before learning the ropes in the wine business she was a department manager and clothing buyer for a department store in Northern California.
Associate Client Director / Nielsen CGA
Matthew Crompton is an Associate Client Director for Nielsen CGA and is responsible for the implementation of Nielsen CGA’s on premise services in the US.
Since joining CGA Strategy in January 2010, Matthew has risen through the CGA ranks becoming an expert in all things On Premise. Matthew has managed and provided consultancy for some of the largest Bev Al manufacturers across Europe including Diageo, Anheuser Busch and William Grant & Sons.
In January 2014, Matthew became part of the joint venture between CGA and Nielsen which has helped bring the first ever truly robust on premise measurement service to the US. Matthew comes to the US, having also helped launch services in other territories such as France and Germany.
Matthew is now part of the US On Premise Specialist team, providing first-class insight into an often perceived dark market.
Matthew is originally from the north of England and has embraced American life at every opportunity since relocating to Chicago in August 2015.
VP Sales / vinSUITE
Jon has extensive experience in technology within the hospitality industry, including food, wine and retail. With a focus on customer experience, he’s known for his ability to integrate processes which enable growth and profitability for large corporations. He spent a large amount of time as the Director of Channel Development for vinSUITE’s processing partner, Mercury Payment Systems, giving him a keen understanding of the point of sale market. He’s dedicated to installing operations within organizations resulting in long-lasting customer relationships.
Partner / Hinman & Carmichael LLP
Topic: Expanding Distribution: Successfully Negotiating and Managing Distributor Agreements & Relationships
Suzanne DeGalan is a partner at Hinman & Carmichael LLP. Her practice includes counseling on alcoholic beverage licensing and distribution issues, direct to consumer laws and protocols and tied house and regulatory compliance. Suzanne regularly consults with and negotiates on behalf of clients with respect to distribution agreements, state franchise laws, distributor termination and other issues regarding alcoholic beverage importers, distributors and sales agents. Suzanne was previously an associate attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and at Shartsis Friese LLP, where she specialized in corporate and business law with an emphasis on intellectual property and mergers and acquisitions. She earned her law degree at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) in 2006. Prior to becoming an attorney, Suzanne was a publishing executive and book editor, with extensive experience in award-winning food, wine and travel publications as well as national bestselling business books.
Winemaker / Glenora Wine Cellars
Steve DiFrancesco is Winemaker for Glenora Wine Cellars in the Finger Lakes of New York. He earned a BS from Stetson University, and has since enjoyed 38 harvests in the Finger Lakes.
Steve worked with Guy DeVaux and Charles Fournier at Gold Seal Vineyards, with their excellent sparkling wines, from the late ‘70’s to the mid ‘80’s. He then worked with high quality barrel aged red hybrids at Bully Hill Vineyards.
Steve was an assistant winemaker at Glenora in the late ‘80’s, as part of an ambitious expansion program with an emphasis on Sparkling Wines.
Steve became winemaker at Lucas Vineyards in the early 90’s, and helped expand production in high quality still and sparkling wines.
Steve returned to Glenora in 1995 as winemaker and has helped expand their reputation and production.
In 2000 the owners of Glenora purchased Knapp Vineyards, and Steve was responsible for winemaking at both properties until 2015. He is now responsible for Glenora only. Riesling is at the forefront of production, though other varieties produced include other aromatic white viniferas, sparkling wines, and red viniferas, as well as hybrids and natives.
CEO / Foundations Marketing Group
Topic: All Ships Rise with the Tide: Branding Your Region, State of the Wine & Beverage Industry: "The Quality Revolution", Social Media Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Keep Making
Monika Elling is the CEO and Founder of Foundations Marketing Group, a company launched in May 2010 to address the growing strategic communications and brand-building needs of the wine and spirits sector. Monika has years of experience in the global trade on the supply as well as the import/wholesale sides, having most recently served as Director of Public Relations at Lauber Imports, a division of Southern Wines & Spirits, America’s largest wholesaler. Prior to joining Lauber, Monika held the position of Chief Marketing Officer for Monarchia Matt International, where she launched the European Company’s American division.
She is a thought leader and innovator in the global wine & spirits industry, and with FMG, created a unique platform to embrace the latest market innovations in the U.S. wine sector. Monika is a noted speaker and author, with an upcoming book release on the topic of wine education. She is a noted presenter at numerous industry events on topics of Social & Digital Media and the State of the Wine and Spirits sector. Monika is a regular contributor to blogs on LinkedIn and Medium, with her latest article titled: Wine & Spirits: The U.S. Marketing Challenge . She also appears in global industry news such Harper's U.K, Huffington Post, and the Beverage Media Journal.
Winemaker / King Family Vineyards
Matthieu was born in Crozes Hermitage in the Rhone Valley of France. Coming from a family of viticulturists and wine lovers, Matthieu was predisposed to continue his family's pursuit of making and enjoying wine. He first studied viticulture and oenology at Beaune, in the heart of Burgundy.
After graduating in 1995, Matthieu worked in many different wine regions around France including Rhone Valley, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Provence, and Jura. He then worked in Italy and South Africa to gain experience around the world before settling in Virginia. Since arriving in 2003, Matthieu has worked with wineries throughout the state. He enjoys working in the Monticello Appellation most because he likes the excitement of the region’s growth and being close to Charlottesville.
When not at the winery, or with his lovely wife Erin, son Gabin and daughter Tessa, Matthieu likes to play rugby, snowboard, rock climb, cook, and drink wine with friends.
Co-Founder, CEO / TwinLogic Strategies
Named a “Top Lobbyist” by The Hill newspaper, Elizabeth has a 30 year career in Washington that encompasses over a decade working in high-level jobs on Capitol Hill, executive experience at leading tech and entertainment companies and years of successful representation of companies, trade associations and non-profits as a policy advocate and political strategist.
An expert at managing issue campaigns and running industry coalitions, Elizabeth delivers results for her clients by interweaving a thorough understanding of substantive policy, communications, politics and an impressive network of contacts.
A native of North Carolina, Elizabeth began her career working for her home state Senator. She then served as press secretary for the House Energy and Commerce Committee. An attorney, Elizabeth completed her congressional service running the legislative office of then-freshman Representative Bob Goodlatte, who, 20 years later now serves as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
Following her time in Congress Elizabeth was director of government relations at the Walt Disney Company where she served as the motion picture industry’s representative in Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) negotiations which resulted in revisions to the Copyright Act and negotiated with Congress and the FTC to enact the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). She joined AOL in the late 90’s as vice president of public policy and ran its Congressional team. While at AOL she served on the front lines of Internet policy debates, helped navigate the company’s merger with Time Warner and ran a campaign to secure Congressional passage of Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China. In 2003 she built a private lobbying practice which became TwinLogic Strategies when she and co-founder Sharon Ringley launched the firm in 2009.
Elizabeth earned her law degree from the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America, while working full-time for Congress. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Founder, Owner / Vino 301 Wine Concierge
Leslie Frelow is the founder, owner of Vino 301 Wine Concierge, a wine tour and events company. Vino 301 Wine Concierge started in 2013 providing wine tours to Maryland vineyards and wineries. Leslie established the company with two goals in mind (1) celebrate the contributions of the local vintners and boutique wine producers and (2) every wine tour should thrill and delight its customers while having fun. Vino 301 is well on its way of achieving its goal. Recognized by TripAdvisor for its outstanding customer service, it received TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence in 2015 and 2016. Leslie is an advocate for locally sourced food and wine. Prior to joining the wine tourism industry, she worked several years in the public policy industry for public and non-for-profit organizations.
Denise M. Gardner
Enology Extension Associate / Penn State University
Denise M. Gardner is the Enology Extension Associate for Penn State University, offering educational support for the Pennsylvania wine industry. Denise provides several winemaking workshops on topics such as wine defect identification, wine sensory evaluation, winemaking basics, wine taste and flavor manipulation, research winemaking, and winery sanitation. Additionally, she spends time visiting wineries throughout Pennsylvania and aiding them with production questions.
Denise started growing wine grapes at her local high school in 2001, when she was 16-years-old, and spent her high school years following viticulture Extension programs and working for local wineries. She graduated from Penn State’s Food Science program with a minor in Horticulture in 2007, and earned her M.S. in Food Science and Technology, with an emphasis in enology from Virginia Tech in 2009. Her graduate research with Dr. Bruce Zoecklein focused on the use of electronic nose technology for volatile analysis in grapes, juice, and wine.
Following graduate school, Denise worked in Napa, California as Enartis Vinquiry’s Sensory Scientist, assisting wineries with specific wine sensory studies and conducting in-house evaluations on enological products. In 2013, Denise obtained the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) accreditation from the Society of Wine Educators, and earned her Level 3 certification from the Wine and Spirit Educational Trust (WSET) in 2015. In 2016, Denise was elected as the Chair-Elect for the American Society of Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) – Eastern Section organization.
For more information on Denise and current Penn State Extension Enology programs, please visit extension.psu.edu/enology or visit the Wine and Grapes U. blog at psuwineandgrapes.wordpress.com. You can also follow Denise on Twitter (@DeniseMGardner) or “Like” the Facebook pages she manages: Denise M. Gardner, Penn State Extension Enology, or American Society for Enology and Viticulture – Eastern Section.
Executive Director / New Mexico Wine Growers Association
Topics: WALC Advisory Panel
Christopher Goblet is the Executive Director of the New Mexico Wine Growers Association and has spent the past 5 years working in developing the craft beverage sector for New Mexico Wineries and Breweries. Chris brings over a decade of experience in non-profit management, food & beverage marketing and event planning to the table.
In 2015 he passed 5 craft beverage laws during the New Mexico legislative session including a reciprocity bill which allows direct sales between local breweries and wineries. Having spent the past four years working to develop a robust craft beer sector in New Mexico, Mr. Goblet is living up to his last name and dedicating all efforts to raising the profile of New Mexico wine and cider.
Director of Operations / WineAmerica
Tara Marie Good is the Director of Operations where she works to develop and enrich WineAmerica’s partnership with its members across the country. Prior to WineAmerica she worked at Distilled Spirits Council of the United State as the Administrative Assistant for Government Relations.
Previous to working in beverage alcohol she was the Program Manager for the Levantine Cultural Center in Los Angeles where she managed cultural programing related to the Middle East and North Africa. A two time recipient of the United States State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship she lived in Jordan and Oman where she studied Arabic. She received her M.A. from NYU in Performance Studies and her B.A. from Fordham University in International / Inter-cultural Studies and Theater.
Winemaker / RdV Vineyards
An adoration for the outdoors and a passion for all things food and wine related drew Joshua to life on a farm. After earning a degree in environmental science and working in professional kitchens, he began his journey in the wine industry as an apprentice at Linden Vineyards, a pioneering Virginia winery. Josh’s path has led him from the cellars of Bordeaux to the vineyards of Tasmania, and back to his native Virginia, as he continues to hone his craft. At RdV, his vast knowledge and devoted attention to detail has earned him the title of winemaker. In addition to managing all of the technical operations for the vineyard, Josh leads the charge on implementing sustainable practices across the farm.
Owner / Convergence Consulting
Jacob Halls is the owner of Convergence Consulting, a company that helps to market new and existing brands, assist with to locating new markets, conduct launch parties and marketing campaigns, negotiate import and export contracts for producers and distributors alike. Convergence Consulting also assists companies grow from the idea of opening a winery, brewery or distillery, to actually forming the business, gaining a federal and state permit, to maintaining compliance- in production, distribution, marketing and business transactions; as well as expanding the market and growing the brand.
Jacob also is the High Ends Brand Manager for N.H. Scheppers Distributing Company, a premium beverage distributor with offices in Columbia and Jefferson City, Missouri. There he coordinates brand activities at area restaurants, bars, grocery and convenience stores for the company’s portfolio of high end brands, as well as expanding the high end portfolio.
Additionally. Jacob is also the owner and director of the South East Craft Beer Fest, a beer festival that has made its mark in not only celebrating the regional breweries, but in helping breweries that have no distribution in the state of Missouri, be able to come in for the festival legally, and test the waters for potential market expansion, as well as giving the local consumer base a unique experience different from majority of other beer festivals.
Prior to Convergence and being a High Ends Brand Manager, Jacob was employed as an in-house consultant by Caraker Law Firm for their regulated industries division, where he handled regulatory compliance issues for clients nationwide. He also owned Gold Coast International, an import-export, and marketing consulting firm, with a wholesale distributor's license for 11 years, until accepting the contract with N.H. Scheppers, which required that he no longer hold a distributors license while employed by a different distributor. Jacob has been a regular speaker at industry tradeshows and conferences around the country, and has also spoken at several academic institutions regarding the regulatory compliance issues, and general business topics for entrepreneurs.
VP / Hillbilly Stills
In 2010 my dad started building a few Hillbilly Flutes in his garage for some extra spending money. By the spring of 2011 he had purchased a piece of property next door which had a larger shop on it and a little ground for expansion. I started out working for my father building Hobby Stills in the fall of 2011. In January of 2012 I resigned from job in a factory as a leadman/ crane operator and in February he resigned from his job of 32 years in the local paper mill. That mill has since closed it doors. As we grew the Hobby equipment company we began to notice a spike in the commercial market. Dad allowed me to take that side and run with it. We began to grow it and have gone from importing all kettles from China to now we have both Hobby and Commercial lines that we build in the US. In the fall of 2014 we established HBS Copper as our commercial line of distilling equipment. Today we build almost any type of batch still you would like, up to 300 gallons.
Winemaker, General Manager / Tarara Winery
Jordan Harris, Winemaker and General Manager for Tarara Winery, is best described by three words: Passionate, Determined, and Focused. Jordan has always had an incredible passion for all things food and wine. From his young childhood ordering Surf and Turf at hockey tournaments while his friends ordered hot dogs, to his first job working as a bus-boy in fine dining, to his education in Culinary, Enology and Viticulture, Jordan has always only wanted the best.
With Jordan’s determination to be the best at his passion, he has achieved many successes. After managing the same fine dining establishment where he was once a bus-boy, he decided to focus solely on the wine aspect of Food and Wine. It is with that focus that his accolades started to come. While still a student of Enology and Viticulture at Niagara College of Canada, Jordan placed first in Canada at the Inter-Rhone Sommelier Challenge in 2004. Months later he finished third in the world in the International Challenge in Avignon, France. Upon graduation the accolades kept coming, with being awarded one of “Canada’s Up and Coming Winemakers” through Wine Access Magazine in 2005, the Premier Award for the top Recent Graduate from all Ontario college programs in 2008; and top 30 Under 30 in all hospitality in Ontario through the Ontario Hostelry Institute in 2006. In Jordan’s then still short career, he was also able to be a part of making some of Canada’s most celebrated wines in his time there, and so received the Wine Access Canadian Wine Award for “Top Chardonnay in Canada” and the Ontario Wine Award for “Top Pinot Noir in Ontario.”
In 2007, Jordan came to Loudoun with his wife to start a life of new challenges and rewards, as well as a family of their own. Since being at Tarara Winery in Loudoun County, Jordan’s success has continued to climb. He was named in the Top 30 Under 30 professionals through Loudoun Business in 2010 and was featured in Wine Enthusiast’s 2013 “40 Under 40 Tastemakers” Issue. He made 3 of the first 7 Virginia wines ever to be rated 90 points by Wine Enthusiast, and helped Tarara Winery receive Partner of the Year with Visit Loudoun. More recently Jordan was also named as one of the Top 100 Influential Winemakers in the USA by IntoWine. His latest achievement includes being awarded two more top scores from Wine Enthusiast, with Cabernet Franc 2012 being the top Virginia Cabernet Franc again, as well as our partner, Boneyard Wines, receiving 90 points for its Syrah.
Jordan continuously focuses on bettering himself and helping the industry around him. He was part of the technical committee to develop the Sustainable Winegrowing Charter for Ontario. Since arriving in Loudoun, he has sat on the Board of the Virginia Wineries Association and Virginia Wine Council. He now sits as Secretary of the Board for Visit Loudoun and Secretary of the Board of Directors for Legacy Farms. Jordan looks forward to being a part of the thriving DC’s Wine Country for years to come.
Winemaker / Horton Vineyards
Topic: The Use of Oak Adjuncts in Red Wine Fermentations: Exploring Quality Trends in Eastern Winemaking (part 2 of 2)
Michael Heny has been making wine in Virginia since 1990, actively experiencing the dynamic growth of an industry celebrated for it’s distinct wines from unique grapes. He joined the winemaking team at Horton Vineyards in 1997, entranced by the promise of the unique flavors could be unleashed from the rolling hills of Central Virginia with our unique selection of varieties. To this day Mr. Heny devotes his days to protecting the zip and verve of Rkatsiteli and Albariño, preserving the aromatic richness of Viognier and Petit Manseng, expressing the berry fruit of Cabernet Franc and Nebbiolo, and unleashing the intense potential of Tannat and Norton. When not crafting Horton Vineyard's award winning wines he enjoys exploring the mountains, woods and streams of central Virginia and beyond with his wife and two children.
Sales Representative / Scott Laboratories
Megan joined Scott Laboratories in the spring of 2010. A Virginia native, she received her BS in Biology in 2001 and her MS in Food Microbiology in 2003, both from Virginia Tech. Prior to joining Scott Labs, Megan worked for Novozymes Biologicals for six years. She has also worked at two wineries in Virginia and looks forward to being more deeply involved with the East Coast wine industry.
Co-Founder / Enolytics
Topic: What Big Data Can Do For YOU
Cathy Huyghe is the co-founder of Enolytics, which provides big data services to the wine industry. She is also the author of the award-winning book, Hungry for Wine: Seeing the World through the Lens of a Wine Glass, which has received positive reviews from publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal to NPR to the Village Voice. Huyghe writes for Forbes.com about the business and politics of the wine industry, and she was a finalist in 2016 for the IWSC Wine Communicator of the Year award.
Huyghe’s writing has appeared in print and online for both general-interest and wine industry publications including the Harvard Business Review network, The Atlantic, Decanter, DailyBeast, The Boston Globe, the Washington Post, Wine Enthusiast, GlobalPost, Grist.org, and Daily Candy. She has also been featured on the BBC, WNYC, WGBH, and Nevada Public Radio.
Director of Public Affairs / WineAmerica
As Director of Public Affairs, Michael is the main point of contact for the organization and Congress and the Executive Branch. Working with WineAmerica's government affairs team, Michael works to make sure the interests of WineAmerica's members and the American wine industry are well served in our Nation's Capitol. This includes working with the various state and regional winery associations and WineAmerica's grassroots network as well as our other alcohol commodity partners in Washington, D.C.
Michael also manages all external communications for WineAmerica. This includes press outreach and membership communication. Michael also actively recruits new membership for WineAmerica while getting the association’s message out to the masses. Michael is a regular fixture at industry trade shows and conferences throughout the country. He has been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Associated Press, Vineyard and Winery Management Magazine, Wines and Vines and Wine Spectator. He is a board member of the National Grape and Wine Initiative and Free the Grapes.
Prior to joining WineAmerica in 2006, Michael provided research and logistical support to two DC based lobbying firms. He also handled compliance issues with a major political party. Michael earned his BA in American Studies and Political Science from Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ and a MA in Political Science from American University in Washington, DC.
Laura Knapp Chadwick
Director of Commerce / National Restaurant Association
Laura Knapp Chadwick serves the National Restaurant Association as its Director, Commerce & Entrepreneurship in NRA’s Government Affairs department, where she focuses on legislative and regulatory aspects of payments, cybersecurity and copyright reform. Previously, she worked at the Consumer Technology Association for nearly five years, specializing in public policy concerning data security, privacy and support of innovation. Chadwick has also worked for U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-05) and U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff (CA-28). Laura graduated from Washington & Lee University with a Bachelor’s in Politics and holds a Masters of Public Administration from American University.
Vice President / Nielsen Beverage Alcohol Practice
As Vice President of Nielsen’s Beverage Alcohol Practice, Danelle provides industry thought leadership and best practice solutions to beer, wine, and spirits clients, industry groups, and the media. She is committed to leveraging Nielsen’s breadth of resources to provide an integrated and holistic understanding of consumer behavior and retail trends across beer, wine, and spirits.
Danelle has more than 15 years of marketing experience, and has been with Nielsen for over 10 years, working across various clients in the food, beverage, and consumer goods industries. Prior to joining the Beverage Alcohol Practice, Danelle led Nielsen’s business at MillerCoors in Chicago. Danelle received her MBA from the University of Pittsburgh, and her BA in International Studies and Economics from Allegheny College in Pennsylvania.
President, Co-Founder / Cape May Brewing Company
President / Garden State Craft Brewers Guild
Topics: Social Media Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Keep Making, The Political Horizon for Wine and Craft Beverages
Ryan is the president and co-founder of Cape May Brewing Company, the Jersey Shore's first production brewery, which is quickly becoming one of the state’s largest craft beer producers. He is a member of the New Jersey Alcohol Beverage Control Advisory Committee, a board member for the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce, and a TED(x) talk alum and president of the board of the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild.
Under his guidance, Cape May Brewing Company has produced a treasure trove of viral social media content, including videos with nearly 100,000 views throughout various platforms. Through his work with the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild, Ryan routinely meets with various lawmakers and community leaders to discuss the issues currently facing production breweries in the State of New Jersey.
Ryan holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Villanova University and a Master’s Degree from New York University. He has lived and worked in Spain, California, and New York City, and has traveled to over 40 countries…tasting craft beer wherever he goes. When he’s not working or exploring, he’s flying small planes, cycling, or lusting over 13th century Armenian rugs.
Owner, Winemaker / Linden Vineyards
Jim is the owner/winemaker of Linden Vineyards and winegrower of Hardscrabble. An Ohio native, he was raised in the 1960’s and 1970’s by parents who loved to share their passion for food and wine. Study in Europe and two years’ teaching of agriculture as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zaire (Congo) led to the desire to grow grapes.
Jim’s first vineyard job was in Indiana where he traded work for a place to live. He then got a real job in Ohio at Chalet Debonne where he learned the nuts and bolts of grape growing and cellar work. In 1981 Jim was hired to start a winery in the Shenandoah Valley where he fell in love with the area and viticultural possibilities. In the mid 1980’s, while establishing Linden Vineyards, he consulted for other wineries and taught winegrowing at local community colleges.
He is currently obsessed with growing great wine and happiest in the vineyard. When not amongst the vines he enjoys cooking, eating (especially in France), and writing for trade publications.
Chief Executive Officer / Label Analytics
John Lawlor’s business life has been driven by curiosity and creativity starting with a twenty-year career as a globe-trotting advertising photographer based in London (Grants of St. James Wine, British Airways, Deutsche Bank), New York (Nikon, Citibank, Taylor Wine) and Los Angeles (Marlboro, Polaroid, Honda, Sterling Vineyards) as well as a TV commercial director (McDonald’s, PGA Golf Tour, Prodigy Online Service) before co-founding a venture capital-backed dot.com in the mid 1990s.
In 2014 Lawlor teamed with his old friend Don White to create Label Analytics.
Owner / Please The Palate
Allison Levine is owner of Please The Palate, a boutique agency specializing in marketing and event planning for the wine and spirits industry. With over 15 years of experience in communications, marketing and event planning, Allison is passionate about the world around her and the diverse people in it. Allison holds a Master’s Degree in International Communications with a focus on cross-cultural training from the American University School of International Service. She also holds a WSET Level 2 Intermediate Certificate from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET), an Italian Wine Specialist Diploma from the North American Sommelier Association, a Certified Meeting Professional Certificate (CMP), and is BarSmarts Wired certified. She is currently studying for an Advanced Certificate in Wine and Spirits with WSET.
Prior to launching Please The Palate, Allison worked at The Tasting Panel Magazine/Blue Lifestyle, running the marketing and events division and focusing on organizing over 75 trade events each year across the United States. Always passionate about wine and serious about making her passion her career, she started out at LearnAboutWine where she built and ran the start-up wine education business, organizing classes and private events throughout Los Angeles. After that, she was in the trenches as a sales rep at importer/distributor Chambers and Chambers where she learned about the wholesale aspect of the industry.
As an industry expert, she works with wine regions around the world, organizing trade and media events around the United States. She has traveled extensively and has lived abroad in Italy, Spain and Mexico where she developed her passion for food and wine. Her work allows her to live life to the fullest and, as a freelance writer, Allison communicates her experiences into articles, as well as in her blog (pleasethepalate.com/blog). She is a columnist for the Napa Valley Register, as well as a regular contributor to WineTouristMagazine. Her work has also appeared in California Winery Advisor, Thrillist, LA Weekly, Wine Industry Advisory, BIN (Beverage Industry News), FoodableTV, Drink Me Mag, WeSaidGoTravel.com, Wine Country This Week and The Tasting Panel.
Allison sits on the Board of the non-profit Vintage Hollywood and is the Wine Committee Chair for its annual food and wine charity event.
Paul has been in the wine and spirits industry for over twenty years. He has worked for Napa Ale Works, Niebaum~Coppola, WineShopper/Wine.com and also was the North American Beverage Consultant for Sumitomo Corporation of America from 2002 through 2005. He founded Inertia in 2002 as one of the first major companies established to bridge the barrier between wineries and their customers. He was CEO from 2003 until 2008 creating the largest and most powerful e-commerce platform for the wine industry, the Rethink Engine.
Under his leadership, Inertia created incredible new products for the wine industry to help open up the ability to sell and market direct including the innovative Direct to Trade, ReThink Compliance, Brix Open Source CMS, Marketplace Enablement, and many more. For his last six months at Inertia, Paul was Chief Strategy Officer and EVP of Business Development in charge of creating key strategic direction, business development, and mergers and acquisitions. Inertia successfully evolved into Winedirect.com and is the foremost leader for enabling direct to consumer for the wine industry. VinTank was a continuation of his desire to help revolutionize the wine industry by bridging the gap between wine and the digital world which he sold in 2015 to W2O Group.
A four time American Wine Blog Awards finalist, he has also been a guest lecturer at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, UC Davis and many other symposiums, seminars, blogs, and periodicals for his leadership in the wine industry.
Paul formerly sat on the Board of Directors for the wine business social network Openwineconsortium.org which was sold to FOHBOH, and the Board of Advisors for Snooth.com, Taste.com, and Cruvee.com (which was purchased by VinTank). He now is on the Board of Directors for the theappreciationengine.com.
He lives in Napa with his beautiful wife Angelica and his four children, India, Finn, Dryden and Brooklyn.
Partner / Pepper Hamilton LLP
Alva Mather is partner and chair of Pepper Hamilton’s Alcoholic Beverage Practice Group and co-chair of the Food and Beverage Practice Group.
Alva is a business lawyer, litigator and first-chair trial attorney with more than a decade of experience who has established herself as a leading attorney in matters affecting the highly regulated alcoholic beverage industry. She has advised breweries, distilleries, wineries, wholesalers, distributors, and restaurateurs on all aspects of manufacturing, distributing and selling alcohol. Alva is an active writer and speaker and on social media at @alcohollawyer.
Co-Owner / Mac’s Creek Vineyards & Winery
Being a 30-year veteran in education, Max earned his degrees in Educational Psychology. He has made presentations/conducted workshops across the United States, Pacific Rim, and Europe.
Max and his wife Theresa co-founded and currently co-own/operate Mac’s Creek Vineyards & Winery in Lexington, NE.
Max is a past member of the WineAmerica Board of Directors and is Chairman of the Nebraska Grape and Winery Board. His research in the vineyard has focused on delaying bud break in cold climate hybrids and reducing pesticide usage in disease control.
Max and his son, Seth, (vineyard manager and winemaker) have presented their research in the U.S., Canada, Germany and Poland. Max has consulted extensively with Wine America and state wine/grape associations in developing their strategic planning processes.
Executive Director / U.S. Association of Cider Makers
In July of 2015, Michelle McGrath joined the United States Association of Cider Makers as Executive Director. She has years of food systems experience and passion. Prior to leading the cider association, she coordinated farmer, rancher and value added producer programs as Executive Director of Gorge Grown Food Network in Hood River, Oregon. At Oregon Environmental Council, she drove grassroots engagement for state environmental protections. She is relationship-focused with a knack for fundraising, marketing and cultivating membership participation. She grew up on a Christmas tree farm in the Sierra Nevada mountains and currently lives in Portland, Oregon—the city that drinks more cider per capita than any other city in the U.S.
Account Executive / All American Containers
Lissa McLaughlin started her glass career at an Anchor Glass Container manufacturing plant in 1993. Her fascination with glass bottles began with the process how they were manufactured. It was love at first sight. She worked various jobs at the glass manufacturing plant, forming dept, Quality Assurance Dept, Mould Dept, Decorating Dept. She was asked to transfer to Anchor Glass headquarters in 1998 in Tampa, FL. Her last assignment with them was Manager of Distributor sales for US, Mexico and Canada. She is now currently working for All American Containers. She currently services over 125 distilleries, over 200 wineries and several large breweries.
She enjoys assisting new distilleries, wineries and breweries with the perfect bottle that enhances their packaging, but also that is compatible to their bottling requirements. She is currently the President of the Florida Distillers Guild.
Executive Director / Santa Barbara Vintners Association
Morgen McLaughlin is the Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Vintners Association, a non-profit organization whose membership is made up of wineries, vineyards, business associates, and hospitality partners missioned to promote the Santa Barbara County Appellation. She has been deeply involved in the wine and tourism industries since childhood through her family's various projects on the East Coast and Colorado. Wanting to follow her own path outside of wine, Morgen graduated from Boston College with degrees in English and Secondary Education. She was pulled back into the family wine business as the General Manager and eventual Co-owner of McLaughlin Vineyards. After twelve years at the winery and diversifying the business into special events, direct to consumer initiatives and ag-tourism projects, she left to become the President and CEO of Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association in Corning, New York. Morgen led the organization and region through six and a half years of tremendous growth and national visibility for the Finger Lakes and its wines. Morgen lives in Santa Barbara County with her husband (a fellow wine professional) and three sons. She currently serves on the board of directors of Visit Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation, Santa Barbara County Agriculture Advisory Committee, Santa Barbara County Workforce Development Commission, and the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission.
Larry D. Meyers
President / Meyers & Associates
President, has over 35 years of experience since coming to Washington with then Senator Lloyd Bentsen (D-TX), former chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and former Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. After four years with the senator, serving as legislative director, he received an appointment in the Carter Administration being named Director for Congressional Affairs - U.S. Department of Agriculture, responsible for both USDA and White House lobbying activities.
He began independent consulting in 1981, and in 1989 was named by Beacham's Guide to Key Lobbyists as one of the top 125 lobbyists out of the several thousand in Washington. For the last 15 years, he has served as guest lecturer at the National Defense University on the topic of "Lobbyists and Lobbying in the U.S. Capitol."
Mr. Meyers also serves on the Board of Directors of Washington First Bank headquartered in Reston, Virginia, the Board of Trustees for the Texas State Aquarium, the Board of Trustees for the Leland Seminary and is active with the Boy Scouts of America. He is a graduate of Texas Tech University.
Master of Wine
Sheri Morano MW found her interest in wine initially sparked during a trip to Italy when she was 17. She began her formal wine education at the International Wine Center in New York City in 1997 following graduation from Duke University. At the IWC, where she later became an instructor, Sheri completed the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Intermediate Certificate in 1998 and the WSET Advanced Certificate in 1999. In October of 2000 she completed the WSET Diploma and the following year passed the Certified Wine Educator (CWE) exam designed by the Society of Wine Educators to promote higher standards among wine educators in the United States. In November 2003, Sheri earned the esteemed title Master of Wine.
With a background anchored in interdisciplinary studies, Sheri enjoys working in a variety of fields within the wine industry. She is a partner at Wine Ring, the market leader in consumer preference technology, and also consults for a number of companies including Nomacorc and Strategic Insights, Inc., a full-service marketing research firm. In 2012, she founded the Triangle Wine School which offers the WSET certifications to wine lovers and trade professionals in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. Sheri also serves as a Senior Account Advisor for Chai Consulting, which under the direction of Maureen Downey specializes in wine cellar planning and inventory management strategies as well as fine & rare wine authentication. An experienced wine judge, Sheri has judged at competitions around the world.
Sheri resides in North Carolina with her husband and son as well as an assortment of cats, dogs, birds and fish. In her spare time she enjoys running, gardening, traveling, cooking and cheering for her beloved Duke Blue Devils.
Associate Editor of Virginia Wine Lover Magazine
Topics: Pioneering the Commitment to Quality: A Roundtable Discussion with Winemaking Trailblazers, The New Press Machine: Bloggers and their Increasing Influence in the Industry
A Virginia native, Frank Morgan works in the Legal and Data Privacy group of a global company by day. He is the author of the DrinkWhatYouLike.com wine blog, started seven years ago to chronicle his wine travel experiences and to share stories of the wines, wineries, and winegrowers of Virginia. His site was recently named one of the top wine news blogs by Millesima. Morgan is also a contributor for edibleDC magazine, the wine site Snooth, and is the associate editor of Virginia Wine Lover Magazine, the only print magazine dedicated to the state’s wine industry.
Director of Communications / Rodney Strong Wine Estates
Topic: Expanding Your Product Line: Wineries Adding Spirits, Cider or Beer to the Lineup, The New Press Machine: Bloggers and their Increasing Influence in the Industry
Chris is a dedicated wine marketing and communications professional with over fifteen years of wine business experience. Growing up in Healdsburg, California, he caught the "wine bug" early, working as cellar hand at wineries in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County.
Following graduation from U.C. Berkeley and a stint as a sports and politics writer, Chris made his way back to the wine business in sales at Scott Street Portfolio, which imported boutique Southern Hemisphere wines with a focus on terroir. After a year, he was managing all of California, the largest wine market in the United States.
In 2002, Chris joined E. & J. Gallo as public relations project manager at their Healdsburg winery. The next five years would be instrumental in learning fine wine public relations and marketing.
In January of 2007, Chris left Gallo for Merryvale Vineyards in St. Helena, where he was Director of Marketing and Communications. In 2013 he joined Paul Hobbs Wines to take over marketing and communications for Paul’s various projects domestically and abroad, and in 2016 Chris became the Director of Communications for Rodney Strong Wine Estates.
Chris has been judging wine professionally for over ten years at some of the most prestigious wine competitions in the world, including Finger Lakes International, San Francisco Chronicle, Jerry Mead, and Bacchus of Spain.
Chris lives in Cloverdale, Northern Sonoma County with his wife Alexandra, son Liam, and daughter Sophia Jane. In their free time, they enjoy raucous dinner parties, tennis, travel, and living a blessed life in wine country.
Winemaker / Bedell Cellars
Topics: Against All Odds - Quality Farming in Eastern & Midwestern Winegrape Growing, Pioneering the Commitment to Quality: A Roundtable Discussion with Winemaking Trailblazers
Richard is a pioneer in Long Island winemaking with over 30 years of experience. He wrote the North Fork of Long Island appellation into existence in 1986, and is the only Winemaker in Eastern North America to use entirely indigenous yeasts. Rich developed the first Bordeaux/Long Island consultation partnership with M. Paul Pontallier of Chateau Margaux and also helped found Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing, the first third party certification program for vineyard sustainability on the East Coast.
General Manager / Lieb Cellars
Ami is the general manager of Lieb Cellars, an 85-acre farm-winery on the North Fork of Long Island, New York, dedicated to crafting clean, bright, fruit-driven still and sparkling (vinifera) wines. Prior to joining Lieb she spent 3 years as the tasting room and wine club manager at another boutique winery on Long Island and 8 years working in wine & spirits account management at advertising and marketing agencies in NYC and Chicago. As Lieb’s GM, she oversees wholesale and retail sales, hospitality, production and marketing for both Lieb Cellars wines and Lieb’s second label, Bridge Lane. Lieb and Bridge Lane have combined 20,000+ followers on Instagram, twitter and Facebook. They post daily on social media and weekly on their blog. With minimal budgets for paid-for social media, they’ve achieved success in building brand awareness and online sales via original content generation and organic reach. Connect with them at @liebcellars and @bridgelanewine.
Winemaker, GM / Barboursville Vineyards
Luca Paschina is the general manager and winemaker at Barboursville Vineyards. He is a third generation winemaker, from Piedmont Italy who studied enology at Istituto Umberto Primo in Alba, Italy. Asked by Gianni Zonin to study his winery operations in a year's consultancy at Barboursville in 1990, he returned to Zonin's headquarters north of Venice with an irresistibly audacious suggestion - if you will systematically re-invest in ideal trellising systems and techniques for this terroir, you will have the finest wines that can be grown on the East Coast. When he arrived at Barboursville in 1990, the winery had 38 acres under vine. Since that time, it has expanded to over 180 planted acres under vines as well as an inn and 5 star restaurant on the property.
Luca is a former member of the Governor-appointed Virginia Wine Board (appointed by 4 different Governors). His wines have won accolades in competitions in San Francisco, New York, Dallas, London and more. Luca enjoys cooking, hiking, fishing, and raising his 3 children with his wife in his home, in Orange, Virginia.
Owner, Winemaker / Pearmund Cellars
Chris has been in the wine industry of Virginia for nearly 30 years. Chris began his career in the kitchen of the restaurant industry at several restaurants in California, England, and ultimately in the northern Virginia area.
Chris transitioned to wine steward then manager for several northern Virginia area restaurants including Wine Manager of Clyde’s Tysons Corner.
In 1990, Chris began working as winemaker and continued to do so through 1996. During those years, he helped start and manage the first winery mobile bottle line in the East working for over 40 wineries in 10 states assembling, filtering, and bottling wine.
From 1996 to 1998, Chris was a wine buyer and store manager for Total Beverage, a 25,000 square foot wine specialty store. He was also in charge of the wine training classes for all of its stores. He then worked for The Country Vintner, a fine wine distributor, until 2003.
Chris was elected President of the Virginia Vineyards Association in 1996, and was the first chairman of the Virginia Wine and Food Society, a board member of the Virginia Wineries Association, Chairman of the Fauquier Chamber of Commerce and previously editor and publisher of ‘The Grape Press’, a quarterly professional vineyard trade publication.
Chris is a nationally certified wine judge by the American Wine Society, has received and taught the Higher Certificate Education course for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, and has organized and taught courses for both amateurs and professionals in wine appreciation and regularly speaks at wine and vineyard seminars and conferences.
To date, he has been instrumental in the founding of more than a dozen new wineries and countless vineyards, and is currently Managing Partner at Pearmund Cellars, Vint Hill Craft Winery and Effingham Manor and Winery. He was recently voted as the best winemaker in Virginia by Virginia Wine Lovers Magazine and Pearmund Cellars as Virginia’s best winery several times.
He has traveled extensively through the wine regions of North and South America, Europe and Africa. For the past 23 year Chris has lived at Meriwether Vineyard, home to Pearmund Cellars, and 15 acres of chardonnay vines, recognized as the oldest in Virginia.
Head Winemaker / Veritas Vineyards & Winery
Topic: The Use of Oak Adjuncts in Red Wine Fermentations: Exploring Quality Trends in Eastern Winemaking (part 2 of 2)
Emily moved to Virginia in 1999 with the intention of taking a year off of school, and to help her parents and sister Chloe transition as they moved from Florida to Virginia. While starting a vineyard in Virginia seemed like a far-flung idea to Emily to start, she quickly fell in love with the beauty of the industry and the area and decided to stay and pursue a career in the wine industry. Emily and Andrew worked alongside each other as a team in the inception of Veritas, and Andrew held down the fort when she went to Virginia Tech to get her Masters degree in oenology (fermentation science).
Now fifteen vintages in, Emily has become head winemaker and proud mother of two beautiful girls who have grown up on the farm and watched the winery and the vineyard grow. Emily has made wine solely in Virginia and feels very strongly that with select varietals the future of the industry, when it stays true to its roots and Virginia grown fruit, will be unstoppable.
Her philosophy involves trying to achieve natural, balanced expression of the fruit by focusing on attention to detail and cultural practices, but most of all just trying to stay out of the way as she allows the wine to show off the beauty of where the grapes were grown.
Director of Business Development / Biltmore Estate Wine Company
Jeff Plack serves as Director of Business Development for Biltmore Estate Wine Company, whose parent company owns and operates Biltmore in Asheville, NC. Jeff works closely with the estate marketing and operations teams to leverage Biltmore’s 1.4 million annual visitors to maximize the company’s direct-to-consumer sales. With a focus beginning the moment guests enter Biltmore’s gates and culminating in their visit to America’s most-visited winery, DtC sales maintain significant double-digit annual growth year over year.
For Jeff, the infatuation with wine began in college, but it wasn’t until recent years that he’s made wine a career. Having spent almost two decades in both business development and managing operations in multiple industries, Jeff credits those two dynamics with influencing his appreciation for both sides of the equation. Being able to combine his love of wine and business development has made being in the wine industry his dream job.
Jeff holds an MBA from Western Carolina University and lives in the Asheville area with his beautiful wife and two daughters. In his free time, he loves running, reading, and relaxing with a glass of wine at home in the mountains of NC.
Winemaker / Penns Woods Winery
Penns Woods Winery is the result of Gino Razzi's lifetime of experience in the world of wine. A respected importer and distributor of wine, Gino is an Italian immigrant from Abruzzo, in southern Italy. He settled in the Delaware County area in 1962, where he was fostered by the area's Italian-American community. Gino served four years in the United States Marines then attended college in California. After graduation, he returned to Pennsylvania to rejoin family and friends. With three decades of success as a wine importer, in 1995, Gino turned his experience towards the craft of winemaking. He finished his first wine in 1997. Symposium, a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo was his first commercially released wine, and was awarded 95 points by Wine Spectator Magazine. This publication recently honored this wine again with its inclusion in the retrospective article "Italy's Golden Vintage - the 1997 Harvest" in 2007.
Gino's pursuit of perfection led him to his own back yard. In 2002, he began to craft wines from Pennsylvania–grown grapes. To his surprise, he found that great wines can be made in Pennsylvania.
After a two-year search for an ideal vineyard site, Gino decided to purchase the Smithbridge Winery, in 2004, to take advantage of its 25-year-old vines. Gino is convinced that Pennsylvania has the capability to produce world-class wines, and hopes to contribute to the legacy of hard work and artistry of his predecessors. As a symbol of these aspirations, one dollar from the proceeds of each bottle of Penns Woods wines will be donated to furthering wine and grape research in Pennsylvania.
Vineyard & Winery Consultant / Rigby Viniculture
Instructor of Enology & Viticulture / Harrisburg Area Community College
Joyce Rigby is a vineyard and winery design consultant and an instructor for the Enology and Viticulture Program at Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) in Harrisburg, PA. Joyce has been involved with eastern viticulture for over 35 years. She has worked or consulted for vineyards and wineries in NC, VA, PA, TN, and MD. Her various positions have included tasting room and tour guide, vineyard and winery labor, vineyard manager, and winemaker. Her current consulting business, Rigby Viniculture, focuses on site evaluation, viticulture, winery design and business planning.
Joyce is a member of the Virginia Vineyards Association, the Maryland Grape Growers Association, the North Carolina Winegrowers Association and the American Society of Enology and Viticulture -Eastern Section.
Creator / 1winedude.com
Topics: Leading the Commitment: Owners Investing in Quality, The New Press Machine: Bloggers and their Increasing Influence in the Industry
Joe Roberts is the creator of the award-winning website 1WineDude.com, founded in 2007 and regularly cited as one of the most influential independent wine blogs in the U.S.
In 2012, Joe left a career in corporate America to pursue wine writing, speaking, and video work full-time. He has penned articles for a diverse array of publications, including Playboy.com, Answers.com, Thrillist.com, Parade, Palate Press, SOMM Journal, and Wine Business Monthly, and is a frequent judge of wine competitions worldwide.
Good Day Philadelphia (08/28/2016)
President, Co-Founder / Lucky Clover Packaging
After a decade in marketing and business development for ad agencies and tech startups like LivingSocial, Ashley left her lifelong career to start a mobile canning company with her husband in 2013. In just over three years, the company that began as a mobile canner for beer, has quickly morphed into a full-service retail packaging solution for the beverage industry. Today, Lucky Clover Packaging supplies shrink sleeved cans and other packaging materials to over 200 breweries, wineries, and craft beverage producers throughout the U.S., while operating five mobile canning lines on the East coast that have packaged everything from beer, wine, cider, mead, and even pickle brine. Ashley has an MBA from the University of Georgia and a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communications from University of Cincinnati. She lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and their 2-year old daughter.
Cidermaker / Millstone Cellars
My fermentation career began in a high school organic chemistry class when we made ten gallons of local red wine (18 was legal then). This experience inspired me to continue to experiment and learn about winemaking.
After a stint as a cellar rat I attended U.C. Davis to earn a Bachelor of Science in Fermentation Science. For the next ten years I made wine at two local East Coast wineries, then earned a degree in Chemical Engineering from University of Maryland, becoming a U.S. Patent Examiner reviewing alcoholic beverage patent applications. It was during this time that the old Monkton Mill restoration was begun.
In 2010, as the mill restoration approached completion, I realized that reviving the rural tradition of hard cider was the perfect fit for a revitalized mill. Fermenting in earnest began in the 2011 harvest season and the cider has been bubbling along ever since!
Elizabeth "E" Slater
Founding Partner / Wine Industry Network
Founder / In Short Direct Marketing
Topics: Quality Experience = Customer for Life, Membership Growth: Recruitment & Retention, Funding Your Initiatives: Available Grants for Your Organization
Elizabeth “E” Slater is an accomplished trainer, motivational speaker, marketer, writer and teacher. Founder of In Short Direct Marketing, cofounder of the Wine Industry Network, sought after public speaker and seminar leader, E offers trainings and personalized marketing solutions to direct-sales businesses in the wine industry, throughout North America.
Her 25+ years in marketing and experience with many businesses both large and small has helped her create a unique and cheerful approach to the most pressing challenges in the wine business. She also teaches classes in wine sales and marketing for Sonoma State University, SRJC and VESTA. For fifteen years E wrote 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.
Founder / Sterling Creativeworks
Cynthia is a creative director with over 25 years of experience in strategy, branding and packaging design for wine, spirits, beer and specialty food brands. As the founder of Sterling Creativeworks, she is passionate about educating others on best practices for brand design in order to help wineries, breweries and distilleries succeed.
She is the author of the recently published Branding: Distilled and recipient of numerous awards including How Magazine’s International Competition, Communication Arts Design Annual and Print Magazine’s Regional Design Competition. She holds a BFA in graphic design from California College of the Arts, and lives in Napa Valley where she loves to garden, sketch, and practice her not-quite-fluent Spanish.
VP, Strategy & Innovation / Nomacorc
As vice president of strategy and innovation, Malcolm Thompson provides executive oversight to Nomacorc’s strategy development & implementation processes and research and development initiatives.
Malcolm joined Nomacorc in 2003 as vice president of technology, and has subsequently served as the executive globally responsible for quality, sales and marketing, and new business development.
Before joining Nomacorc, Malcolm spent 22 years with Netherlands-based DSM Corporation, a global leader in life sciences and materials and one of Nomacorc’s original strategic supply partners. His tenure included leadership positions in research and development, marketing, sales and business management.
Malcolm has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Dalhousie University and a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of New Brunswick. He is actively involved in the Frankie Lemmon School and Foundation for children with special needs, serving as Board Member and Chair for several years.
Malcolm is an avid Crossfit enthusiast and enjoys a variety of sporting activities including golf, skiing and racket sports. Now that his children are grown and independent he travels frequently (for personal pleasure in addition to professional needs) with favorite destinations including southern France, Spain and Italy. In terms of self development, Malcolm is committed to gaining language proficiency in French taking private lessons the weeks he is not on the road.
President / WineAmerica
President / International Riesling Foundation
Topics: The Business Climate for Wine: What You Don't Know, The Political Horizon for Wine and Craft Beverages
James (Jim) Trezise has transitioned from serving over three decades as President of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation to President of both WineAmerica and the International Riesling Foundation.
After serving for more than 20 years on the Executive Committee of the WineAmerica Board of Directors, on January 1, 2017 he because the national organization’s President. Based in Washington, DC, WineAmerica is the national organization of American wineries, and focuses on grassroots public policy advocacy to protect and advance the industry’s interests.
The International Riesling, which he co-founded a decade ago, is a coalition of top Riesling producers from around the world seeking to promote Riesling as the most noble white wine due to its versatility, reflection of terroir, and food compatibility.
Jim has also been involved with numerous national and international organizations involved with grapes and wine. He has served as Communications Director and on the Presidential Council of FIVS (formerly Fédération Internationale des Vins et Spiritueux -- International Federation of Wines and Spirits) based in Paris. He also serves as a Board member of the National Grape and Wine Initiative; as a Board member of the Wine Market Council; and previously served as Director of Communications for the International Organization of Vines and Wines in Paris. He is a frequent speaker on major issues at conferences throughout the United States, as well as a professional wine judge at more than a dozen international competitions, and the author of articles which have appeared in The New York Times and other media.
Jim has been widely recognized for his leadership in the broader American wine industry, having received six national awards or other recognition for his many contributions: The “Grand Award” of the Society of Wine Educators in 2014; one of “The 20 Most Admired People in the American Wine Industry” in 2013 based on a survey by Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine; the Wine Integrity Award in 2006 from the Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Commission; the first-ever “Distinguished Service Award” in 2001 from the American Society for Enology and Viticulture (Eastern Section); the Perpetual Monteith Trophy (Thomas Jefferson Cup) in 1995 from the Vinifera Winegrowers Association; and recognition by "Wines & Vines" magazine as one of the “top 50 movers and shakers" in the United States wine industry. In addition, in 2014 he received the coveted “Chairman’s Award” of the New York Wine & Culinary Center.
Jim has been involved with the grape and wine industry since 1982 when he was hired by the New York State Wine Grape Growers. During a time of crisis in the industry, Jim was instrumental in creating the New York Wine & Grape Foundation as a private, not-for-profit organization which sponsors research and conducts promotion programs in support of New York grapes, grape juice and wine. The Foundation's research and promotion programs have received international recognition, as has its close and productive partnership with the State of New York.
Most recently, largely due to the Foundation’s work over the years, New York State was named 2015 “Wine Region of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast magazine as part of its Wine Star Awards. Other contenders were Champagne, France; Chianti, Italy; Sonoma Coast, California; and Red Mountain, Washington.
Jim holds a Master of Arts degree in International Communications from American University in Washington, DC, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Allegheny College.
A native New Yorker from Rochester, Jim lived in France for three years prior to his involvement with the New York grape and wine industry. He now lives on Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes wine region.
Owner, Vineyard Manager / Ankida Ridge Vineyards
Christine is co-owner of Ankida Ridge Vineyards with her husband, Dennis, and their son and winemaker, Nathan. Ankida Ridge is a family-run, micro-boutique vineyard, planted in 2008 at 1800 ft on an eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Amherst County, VA. Their vineyard, known as “Virginia’s Little Burgundy” was planted with chardonnay and pinot noir, a grape previously thought as incapable of producing quality wine in Virginia. With the assistance of consultants Lucie Morton and Matthew Finot, they would learn at this particular site, Virginia could in fact grow grapes that can produce world class pinot noir.
Christine has played an active role in the creation of The Virginia Sustainable Winegrowers Self-Assessment Guide (VSWAG) and has served on numerous committees within the Virginia winegrowing community. She has been a contributor for the Virginia Vineyard Association’s quarterly newsletter, “The Grape Press,” and is a founding member of The Jefferson Heritage Trail, where she currently serves as its president. Her passion for writing and photography is evident in the blog she maintains, and her photography can be seen in their tasting room. Her dedication to promoting the Virginia wine industry, the quality of its wines and its people and the importance of “place” are part of her passions for Virginia wine.
Dr. Damien Wilson
Chair of Wine Business Education / SSU Wine Business Institute
Topics: State of the Wine & Beverage Industry: "The Quality Revolution", From Here to There: A Look at the Wine and Beverage Industry Today and Tomorrow
Damien Wilson is the inaugural Hamel Family Chair of Wine Business Education with SSU's Wine Spectator-sponsored Wine Business Institute. Dr. Wilson arrived in California with 20 years of professional experience in the wine sector. It was this commercial experience that facilitated him achieving the first-ever Honors Degree in Wine Business, being one of his four degrees in the discipline. He joins us from Burgundy's School of Wine and Spirits Business, having just augmented a European professorial career, which began in Australia in 1999. His professional and research interests have realized an extensive list of trade, consumer and academic publications on crowdfunding, wine consumers, tourism and technology. Dr Wilson’s most recent book chapter on ‘Innovation Management in the Wine Sector’ precedes his presentation theme of Innovation Pioneering Excellence in his 'State of the Wine Industry' address.
Executive Director / Ohio Wine Producers Association
Topics: The Business Climate for Wine: What You Don't Know, All Ships Rise with the Tide: Branding Your Region
Donniella Winchell is currently the Executive Director of the Ohio Wine Producers Association, and chair of their Vintage Ohio wine festival.
She is on the board of the Winegrape Growers of America, is chair of the WineAmerica State Advisory Committee and is a the recipient of Monteith Trophy given annually to one leading figure in the American wine community. She is a member of the Knights of the Vine, received Ohio Travel Association’s Paul Sherlock award, is a member of Ohio Wine Hall of Fame and a recipient of Rotary’s Paul Harris award. She sat on the founding boards of the Ashtabula County and Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureaus, is past trustee of the Ohio Travel Association, sat on the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Board and was on the Ohio Division of Travel Advisory Committee for nearly 20 years. She serves on the Facilities Commission for the Lodge and Conference Center at Geneva on the Lake, and is a member of the board of Pairings, Ohio’s Wine and Culinary Experience. She has contributed to several national wine publications, writes a regional weekly wine newspaper column, authors a marketing e-letter called Tuesday Tidbits, speaks at regional and national wine and tourism conferences and consults with a number tourism and wine marking organizations across the country. In her community, Winchell sits on several additional regional economic development boards.
Winchell is a graduate of Allegheny College with a BA in history and taught in Ohio public schools before retiring to raise a family. She then joined the Ohio Wine Producers as has been in the Executive Director position for over 25 years.
Wine Writer / The Virginia Grape
Brian has worked for many years in the publishing industry and is currently both publisher and editor in chief of Wine Tourist Magazine. In addition, Brian authors The Virginia Grape, a wine blog that concentrates on wine production in Virginia, but has recently expanded to other under-appreciated wine regions in the Eastern United States. He has also contributed to American Winery Guide, Midwest Wine Press and a handful of Virginia publications. Brian believes in the importance of eating and drinking local, but he realizes that there is an entire world out there waiting to be explored.