Meet The Experts


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    Ken Albert

    Partner, Founder / Shelburne Vineyard

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    Jim Anderson

    Executive Director / Missouri Wine & Grape Board

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    Michael Attanasi

    Research Exchange Coordinator / Virginia Winemakers Research Exchange

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    Kevin Atticks

    Founder, Executive Director / Grow & Fortify, Maryland Wineries Association

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    Tammy Boatright

    President / VingDirect

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    Annette Ringwood Boyd

    Director, Owner / Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office, Ringwood Boyd Marketing

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    Fran Boyd

    Senior Vice President, Meyers & Associates

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    Dave Breeden

    Winemaker / Sheldrake Point

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    Marin Brennan

    Assistant Winemaker / Bedell Cellars

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    Janie Brooks Heuck

    Managing Director, Board of Directors / Brooks Wines, WineAmerica

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    Nova Cadamatre, MW

    Winemaker

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    Tina Caputo

    Wine, Food and Lifestyle Writer

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    George Christie

    President, CEO / Wine Industry Network

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    Sean Comninos

    Winemaker / William Heritage Vineyards

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    Michael Correia

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

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    Tom Cosentino

    Executive Director / Garden State Wine Growers Association

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    Beth Costa

    Executive Director / Wine Road Northern Sonoma County

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    Carlo Devito

    Owner / Hudson-Chatham Winery

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    Cheryl Durzy

    Founder & CEO / LibDib

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    Jennifer Eckinger

    Executive Director / Pennsylvania Winery Association

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    Monika Elling

    CEO / Foundations Marketing Group

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    Sam Filler

    Executive Director / New York Wine & Grape Foundation

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    Matthieu Finot

    Winemaker / King Family Vineyards

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    Melanie Friedman

    Principal / FMD Architects

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    Denise M. Gardner

    Enology Extension Associate / Penn State University

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    Christopher Goblet

    Executive Director / New Mexico Wine Growers Association

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    Tara Good

    Vice President / WineAmerica

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    Brian Grafton

    Project Architect / FMD Architects

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    Steve Groff

    President / Wyndridge Farm

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    Eric Guerra

    Chief Marketing & Sales Officer / Terravant Wine Company

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    Dr. Nichola Hall

    Technical Representative / Scott Laboratories

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    Jacob Halls

    Owner / Convergence Consulting

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    Kirsty Harmon

    Winemaker, General Manager / Blenheim Vineyards

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    Jordan Harris

    Winemaker, General Manager / Tarara Winery

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    Megan Hereford

    Sales Representative / Scott Laboratories

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    Anna Lee C. Iijima

    Contributing Editor / Wine Enthusiast Magazine

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    Dr. Debra Inglis, PhD

    Director / Cool Climate Oenology & Viticulture Institute, Brock University

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    Michael Jones

    Fermentation Specialist / Scott Laboratories

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    Rick Jones

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

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    Michael Kaiser

    Vice President / WineAmerica

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    Tawnie Logan

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

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    Amy T. Margolis

    Partner, Executive Director / Greenspoon Marder, Oregon Cannabis Association

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    Mario Mazza

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

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    Josh McDonald

    Executive Director / Washington Wine Institute

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    Larry D. Meyers

    President / Meyers & Associates

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    Virginia Mitchell

    Winemaker / Galer Estate Vineyard & Winery

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    Frank Morgan

    Wine Writer

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    Ami Opisso

    General Manager / Lieb Cellars

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    Luca Paschina

    Winemaker, GM / Barboursville Vineyards

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    Jeff Plack

    Director of Business Development / Biltmore Wines

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    Rebecca Ritz

    Founder & Designer / Bauerhaus Design

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    Max Rohn

    General Manager / Wölffer Estate

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    Justin Rose

    Winemaker, General Manager / Blenheim Vineyards

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    Brian Rosen

    Owner & Founder / BevStrat.com

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    Krista Scruggs

    Asst. Winemaker & Winegrower / La Garagista Farm & Winery
    Winemaker & Winegrower / ZAFA Wines

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    Ashley Sebastionelli

    President, Co-Founder / Lucky Clover Packaging

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    Kate Smith

    Loan Officer / Live Oak Bank

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    Lenn Thompson

    Wine Writer

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    Jim Trezise

    President / WineAmerica, International Riesling Foundation

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    Paul Vigna

    Editor, Writer / PennLive.com

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    Melanie Virreira

    Director of Marketing / Ball Corporation

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    Nate Walsh

    Winegrower / Walsh Family Wine
    President / Virginia Vineyards Association

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    Jonathan Wheeler

    Winemaker / Trump Winery

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    Dr. Damien Wilson

    Chair / SSU Wine Business

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    Donniella Winchell

    Executive Director, Chair of SPAAC / Ohio Wine Producers

Speaker Bios



Ken Albert

Partner, Founder / Shelburne Vineyard

Topic: 1A - Canned Wines: Crushing the Stigma by Raising the Quality
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In 1998, after many years as an IBM engineer working on computer chips not bigger than a quarter inch on each side, and growing grapes in my backyard, I made the jump to full-time, commercial scale grape growing and winemaking.

I was born in New York City and grew up on the 4th floor of a typical NYC apartment house. Nevertheless I was always interested in growing things. Upon moving with my wife and two young girls to Shelburne in 1971, I immediately planted some grape vines in our suburban backyard. It was a wet and shaded spot so it did not quench my passion and desire to have a successful vineyard. So, on my retirement from IBM I leased 3 acres of prime farmland on Shelburne Farms. Grapes planted on that plot made up Shelburne Vineyard’s first wines released in 2001 and the plot continues to yield prime wine grapes.

To educate myself on grape growing and winemaking, in the days before the internet, I searched out every wine and vine related book in the UVM library. Since our first planting on the Shelburne Farms site, I have been attending winemaking and viticulture conferences held each winter by Cornell University in the Finger Lakes Region on New York State. My interest in all this may also be genetic, as I learned from my father that my grandfather back in Hungary had a plum orchard and a bonded distillery that make plum brandy (shlivovitz) back in the era before WWI.

After my family and growing grapes, my other compelling interest has been in Shelburne town politics and town planning and Vermont’s unique landscape. I served 10 years on the town Planning Commission and the 18 years as a member of the town Selectboard.


Q

Every region has something special, what do east coast wine producers have going in their favor?

"Any positive concerning our Northern place in the east coast region has a negative as well: Certainly standing out from the crowd, It's local, "localvore", Still a pioneering wine in a new wine region, with unique and interesting wine varieties."

Q

What are some of the biggest misconceptions consumers have about eastern produced wines?

"Pretty much universal expectation is that the wines are all sweet and maybe funky. Only the whites make good wines. This is changing to a considerable extent, with growing quality region wide...starting with Riesling in NY and a bit later with some Reds and some whites in VA, and mabe even some Marquettes and La Crescents in the North Country."

Q

Why did you decide to put wine in a can and how did your customers react?


"Craft beer in single serve size cans have made quality beverages in a can respectable and quite a few brands have reached cult status. Therefore, why not explore cans for wine? The single serve format may also allow for entry into bars where up till now only had a bottle or two under the counter. Restaurants are increasingly serving craft beers in cans...so potential for single serve wine in cans, as well? People after tasting it are surprised. Its tastes good! If its tasted it is likely to be sold by visitors to our tasting room. Sales do seem to slow down with colder weather (relative to traditional bottled wine)."

Q

How did the trade react to your canned wine?

"Convincing a distributor to sell cans to restaurants is a challenge. General overall interest but it looks like distributors see much narrower sales channels."

Q

What predictions do you have for the region over the next 5 years?

"I'll answer this for our Cold Climate region which is pretty much different from the regions ranging from the Finger Lakes in NY going south to VA/NC/GA. The answer: It's too early to tell. Our goal is to continue to grow our quality so that with intelligent marketing our wines are considered by experienced wine drinkers and new comers as OK! We want more people to say after tasting our wines "These wines are good! This does not directly answer the question but attaining this status is what will allow us to continue to grow and hopefully grow our Cold Climate sales by 100% or so in 5 years."

Q

Do you market your canned wine differently to your bottled wine, if so how?

"Yes. The different package suggests a slightly different product. A more portable one, A fresh new item. At first we thought its only the millennials that would accept this package. But its attractive, and it can taste as good as the same wine coming from a bottle...so it appears it has potential for success across the age spectrum."


Jim Anderson

Executive Director / Missouri Wine & Grape Board

Topic: WALC 1 - Operations & Finance: Building a Strong Board & State Funding for Your Initiatives
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Jim Anderson is the Executive Director of the Wine and Grape Board for the Missouri Department of Agriculture. As Wine and Grape Board Director his duties are to coordinate with wholesalers, restaurants, retailers and the general public about Missouri wines and juices. Priorities include building consumer awareness of the quality and availability of Missouri wine and juices. He has spread consumer awareness for wine and juice through events, brochures, news releases and articles of publication. His overall goal is to have a resourceful program that assures quality wine and juice products, and serves to stimulate growth of the grape and wine industry in Missouri.



Michael Attanasi

Research Exchange Coordinator / Virginia Winemakers Research Exchange

Topics: 1B - Exploring Source-Sink Relationships in Vineyard Management and Impact on Wine Quality, 5B - Red Wine Production Trials: Results of Winemaking Effects on Structure and Aroma of Red Wines

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 Atticks

Founder, Executive Director / Grow & Fortify, Maryland Wineries Association

Topics: WALC 4 - Public Policy: Setting and Achieving Legislative Priorities, WALC 5 - Community Relations: Winning in the Backyard
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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 Appentice House Press, the nation’s only campus-based, student-managed book publishing organization.



Stephen Barnard

Winemaker, Vineyard Manager / Keswick Vineyards

Topic: 5B - Red Wine Production Trials: Results of Winemaking Effects on Structure and Aroma of Red Wines

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 wine making. 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.



Tammy Boatright

President / VingDirect

Topic: 1C - Staff Training: Your Best Investment, 6C - Wine Club Excellence; Boost Wine Club Sales, Retention & Loyalty
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Prior to founding VingDirect in 2009, Tammy served as the head of Foster's Wine Estates U.S. Direct to Consumer division. In this role, she was acting President of Windsor Vineyards from 2005-2007 and President of International Wine Accessories from 2004-2007. Windsor Vineyards is the largest U.S. shipper of wine direct to consumer and utilizes outbound telemarketing as the primary sales channel. Tammy has 20+ years direct marketing and general management experience, beginning with her position at Collin Street Bakery in 1990 as General Manager of Cryer Creek Kitchens, a producer of specialty baked goods. She is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and passionate about helping family wineries grow their direct to consumer sales. VingDirect is the recipient of the North Bay Business Journal's 2014 award for direct to consumer in the wine industry.



Annette Boyd

Director / Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office
Owner / Ringwood Boyd Marketing

Topic: WALC 1 - Operations & Finance: Building a Strong Board & State Funding for Your Initiatives
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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.



Fran Boyd

Senior Vice President / Meyers & Associates

Topic: WALC 4 - Public Policy: Setting and Achieving Legislative Priorities

Sr. Vice President, joined the firm in 1990 after serving as Director of Congressional and Public Affairs for the Farm Credit Administration, an independent federal financial regulatory agency. Prior to that appointment, he was the Deputy Director of Congressional Affairs for six years during the Reagan Administration at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He brings to the firm over 20 years of Washington experience having worked extensively with Congress and at the highest levels of the executive branch of government. He holds both a graduate and undergraduate degrees from Arizona State University, and has completed the Senior Managers in Government Program from the Kennedy School for Government at Harvard University.



Dave Breeden

Winemaker / Sheldrake Point

Topic: 6B - Exploring Production Styles of Rosé in the Eastern Wine Industry
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With experience developed in wineries throughout the Fingerlakes, Dave can always be found in our winery or lab, gently and patiently tending to the fermentation and aging of our wines while caring for our tanks, barrels and equipment. Armed with two degrees in chemistry and two in philosophy, Dave not only brings us expertise in the wine lab and on the crush pad, he also can be heard waxing poetic virtues of everything from Plato’s cave to contemporary third-party politics.


Q

Every region has something special, what do east coast wine producers have going in their favor?

"The same thing, I’m guessing, as most other regions—our climate. And I guess I’m speaking really only for the Finger Lakes region, about which I can speak with some amount of experience, as opposed to any other East Coast region, for which I’d just be making stuff up. Anyway, our climate and geography is cool enough to let us grow great cool-climate grapes to make great cool climate wines, but warm enough that the vines don’t die."

Q

What are some of the biggest misconceptions consumers have about eastern produced wines?

"That they’re all made from natives or hybrids, and/or sweet. That was true for a while, but hasn’t been true for a number of decades—we make a lot of quality Vinifera wines."

Q

Why do you think Rose’ has become so popular again?


"I don’t know, but I’m sure grateful! It should ALWAYS have been popular. Properly made, it’s refreshing, great with food and without, and good all year long."

Q

What do you think is driving the surge of attention the eastern wine industry has gotten from wine media over the last few years?

"I’d like to think it’s about our improving quality, but really, I don’t know. In the Finger Lakes, at least, we’ve made great strides viticulturally over the last decade, and the wines showed it."

Q

What predictions do you have for the region over the next 5 years?

"I can only hope that the quality of grapes and wine will continue to grow, and that the recognition we’re starting to get will only increase."


Marin Brennan

Assistant Winemaker / Bedell Cellars

Topic: 2C - The Next Generation: Winemaker’s Perspective on the Future of Wine in the Eastern U.S.

Marin Brennan is the Assistant Winemaker at Bedell Cellars on the North Fork of Long Island. While studying at Johnson & Wales University, a career in the wine industry was always the goal. Upon completing her Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management with a concentration in Beverage Service Management, she made a decision that would quickly jump start her career.

Marin started with Bedell in 2010 as a tasting room employee and transitioned into the cellar for the 2011 harvest. Within three years, hard work and passion led her to become Cellar Master. She has been the Assistant Winemaker since 2015.

She has worked under the tutelage of Bedell Winemaker Richard Olsen-Harbich who created all three Long Island AVA’s and the Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing program. Working alongside two North Fork pioneers, Rich and Kip Bedell have inspired her career immensely. Bedell Cellars is one of the East Coast’s leading wine producers, creating award-winning, world-class wines with sustainability farmed grapes and indigenous fermentations.



Janie Brooks Heuck

Managing Director, Board of Directors / Brooks Wines, WineAmerica

Topic: WALC 2 - Communications: Building an Organization, and a Brand, in the 21st Century, WALC 3 - Promotion: Creating Programs that Work
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Portland native Janie Brooks Heuck spent more than a decade in the healthcare industry before finding herself responsible for the business operations at Brooks Winery. Struck by the generosity and guidance from the Oregon wine community after Jimi’s passing, Janie quickly realized the importance of Jimi’s life work, and she set out to execute Jimi’s wish of turning Brooks into a family legacy – starting with Pascal.

Since taking over as Managing Director in 2004, Janie has increased Brooks’ production from 3,500 to 20,000 cases and, in 2008, purchased the 20 acres that Jimi had farmed biodynamically since 2002. Janie is also on the Board of Directors of the International Riesling Foundation, on the board of Wine America, and on the media committee for the International Pinot Noir Celebration.



Nova Cadamatre, MW

Winemaker

Topic: Session 1 - In Pursuit of Excellence: Trade & Media Weigh In
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Nova Cadamatre is the first female winemaker in the US to achieve the title of Master of Wine and one of only a few American winemakers to do so. Currently she resides in the beautiful Finger Lakes of upstate NY with her husband, Brian, and son, Nathaniel. She is Director of Winemaking for Canandaigua Winery for whom she makes the 240 Days wines; a Riesling, dry Rose, and Cabernet Franc. She is also the owner of Trestle Thirty One, a high end boutique wine brand making age worthy dry Riesling. In 2014, Cadamatre was named to Wine Enthusiast’s Top 40 under 40 list and has numerous 90+ scoring wines to her credit.

Originally from Greer, South Carolina, Cadamatre began her career in wine after moving to New York to pursue horticulture. As one of the first graduates of Cornell’s Viticulture and Enology program in 2006, Nova relocated to California to assume a number of winemaking roles with many iconic wineries including Beringer, Chateau St. Jean, Chateau Souverain, and most recently at Robert Mondavi Winery. There she was the red winemaker focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon from the iconic To Kalon Vineyard. Nova is a WSET Alumni, blogger, wine writer, Ningxia Winemaker Challenge contestant, and is active on social media.


Q

Every region has something special, what do east coast wine producers have going in their favor?

"The wide range of varieties and styles that are produced here. We have very cool to very warm climates so the availability of different wines is quite vast. I think once we find out the varieties and styles that work best in each place, the east coast will have a fascinating array of wines for the world to discover."

Q

What are some of the biggest misconceptions consumers have about eastern produced wines?

"They are all sweet. The reds are terrible. Only native or muscadine varieties are used. "

Q

What are some of the greatest similarities you see between the eastern and western winemakers?

"Eastern and western winemakers have many similarities but I think the greatest is the passion that everyone in the winemaking community has for their craft."

Q

What do you enjoy most about growing grapes/making wine in the northeast?


"The challenge. It is not a given that you will make good wine here. You must work hard at it. You should have boots in the vineyard and be creative in the cellar to draw the best from the fruit. It is a very satisfying thing when I can drink a wine that I’ve made here and remember back to all the challenges and issues that arose during it’s growing or production and know that we were able to overcome them. "

Q

What predictions do you have for the region over the next 5 years?

"The challenge. It is not a given that you will make good wine here. You must work hard at it. You should have boots in the vineyard and be creative in the cellar to draw the best from the fruit. It is a very satisfying thing when I can drink a wine that I’ve made here and remember back to all the challenges and issues that arose during it’s growing or production and know that we were able to overcome them."


Tina Caputo

Wine, Food and Lifestyle Writer

Topic: 6A - Wine & Weed: Tales from the West, WALC 5 - Community Relations: Winning in the Backyard
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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.



George Christie

President, CEO / Wine Industry Network

Topic: 1C - Staff Training: Your Best Investment
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George Christie settled in Sonoma County in 1991 where he quickly realized that the wine industry was where he wanted to concentrate his efforts. Since that time, he has been involved in nearly every aspect of the wine industry, from vineyard operations and grower relations to distributor realignments and national marketing campaigns.

In 2006 Christie launched his own marketing company, leveraging his years of industry experience assisting wineries to use both traditional and cutting edge marketing techniques to establish a voice in the sea of winery and wine promotion. An early advocate of video marketing and production, Christie has produced more than 100 marketing videos for wineries such as Domaine Carneros, Wattle Creek and Rodney Strong. Always an active member in the wine community, Christie has also held board positions with the Russian River Wine Road, Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley and the Sonoma County Vintners.

In 2009, along with Elizabeth 'E' Slater, George launched the Wine Industry Network, the Wine Industry's leading business and news resource.



Sean Comninos

Winemaker / William Heritage Vineyards

Topics: 2B - Trends in Eastern Winemaking: Appassimento-Style, 6B - Exploring Production Styles of Rosé in the Eastern Wine Industry
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Sean Comninos has been producing fine wines at William Heritage Winery (formerly Heritage Vineyards) since 2009. Located in southern New Jersey, Sean has the annual opportunity to craft award winning wines from over 50 acres of estate fruit.

Sean studied Marine Biology at the University of the Virgin Islands. After college he traveled Europe extensively, nurturing his love of wine. Sean found his way back to the East coast and decided to pursue a career in the wine industry. After graduating with the highest honors from the Wine School of Philadelphia in 2008, he started working for the Heritage family. Sean quickly worked his way from the tasting room to the cellar, earning the title of Winemaker for the 2009 vintage.

With Sean at the helm, Heritage was named New Jersey’s winery of the year in 2011, 2014, and 2015. As an advocate for sustainability, he is also passionate about the preservation of farmland in New Jersey. When away from the cellar, Sean enjoys wandering the woodlands of the Northeastern U.S. and beyond with his wife Shannon and their dog Rex.


Q

Every region has something special, what do east coast wine producers have going in their favor?

"I think it's primarily the local market. Nobody is gonna tell you it's the climate or the abundant sunshine that makes east coast wines so interesting. It's really always gonna be about how you've created something unique that can only be made in the place you've made it. People are interested in that. They want to buy local."

Q

What are some of the biggest misconceptions consumers have about eastern produced wines?

"I think the biggest misconception is that all the wines made out east are sweet and made from cranberries. Certainly there are quite a few of those, but there are a large number of wineries focused solely on dry wines made from more traditional grape varieties. People often fail to realize there's a guy in every state, California included, making sweet wine from various fruits. Where there's a demand it will be met."

Q

The eastern wine industry has seen a lot of very positive press in the last couple of years, what do you think has changed?


"I think wineries have really turned the public interest in buying local products into a platform for experimentation. People are making money now on products like sparkling wines and Pet- Nat, rose in a can- you name it. The exciting stuff gets the press. Nobody really wants to talk about the barrel fermented chardonnays and super oaky merlots anymore. People have to try new things to get attention and I think that makes everybody more competitive."

Q

What predictions do you have for the region over the next 5 years?

"I think people are gonna do whatever they can to concentrate their reds. Appassimento is one of the last steps you can take after canopy management, green harvest etc. I think people can get a 10%+ increase in concentration if Apassimento is done right. It's definitely going to be something more people try."

Q

Do you envision Appassimento style growing in popularity with eastern winemakers producing dry, red wines?

"I think people are gonna hone in on the varietals that do well for them. They are also gonna find ways to make more interesting products. I think packaging plays a role too. I'd like to see lots more cans."


Michael Correia

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

Topics: 6A - Wine & Weed: Tales from the West, WALC 7 - Hot Topics: Wine, Weed, and Music
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Michael Correia is director of government relations for the National Cannabis Industry Association. His focus is raising awareness and building support for the cannabis industry’s issues on Capitol Hill. In addition, Michael works with other national organizations to increase the cannabis industry profile nationally. Prior to joining NCIA, Michael spent many years working on Capitol Hill, including working for Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA), who retired in 2010, and the House Committee on Resources, serving three different Chairmen. Previously, he was director of federal affairs for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and senior project manager for the Committee for Responsible Federal Budget. In both positions, he advocated for policies in Congress. A campaign veteran, he has worked and volunteered on numerous political campaigns at the local, state, and federal levels over the past two decades. Michael is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego. A native of San Diego, he resides in Washington, D.C.



Tom Cosentino

Executive Director / Garden State Wine Growers Association

Topic: WALC 2 - Communications: Building an Organization, and a Brand, in the 21st Century
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Tom Cosentino is the Executive Director of the Garden State Wine Growers Association (GSWGA), the statewide advocacy and promotional channel of the New Jersey wine industry. He has over 30 years of strategic media relations, marketing communications and brand-building expertise in the public relations industry. Cosentino joined the GSWGA from MWW PR where he coordinated public relations and advocacy programs for the firm’s public affairs division, representing a diverse array of clients including: Atlantic Wind Connection, BioReference Laboratories, JCP&L, NJ 211 and PBA Local 105 among others.

Cosentino oversees the day-to-day administrative and marketing functions of the organization; serves as spokesman for the wine industry in New Jersey; and is the liaison with the Christie Administration, Department of Agriculture, Tourism and other industry groups. Cosentino is also responsible for securing grants and tasked with bringing corporate sponsors to the New Jersey wine industry.

Prior to joining MWW PR, Tom was a principal at Capital Public Affairs in Princeton where he headed up the firm’s media relations division iMedia Public Relations. There, Tom helped develop the grassroots campaign UncorkNJ, which led to the passing of the direct shipping bill in 2012 allowing in-state wineries to ship wine directly to consumers and for out-of-state wineries to do so as well. He also served as the public relations representative for the Garden State Wine Growers while at iMedia and MWW.

Tom was also the founding Co-General Manager of Catalyst Public Relations in New York, where he directed programs for major brands such as Subway, vitaminwater and TicketsNow among others. He also was co-owner of O’Leary & Cosentino Communications for nine years and General Manager of Lapin East/West in New York. He also served as the Publicity Director of Yonkers Raceway in New York and began his career in 1983 as a media relations intern with the New York Yankees.

Tom has managed national programs for major sporting events including championship boxing matches starring Evander Holyfield, George Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns; worked on the 75th Anniversary of the National Hockey League; launched Ted Williams’ trading card company and the Women’s United Soccer Association. In New Jersey, Tom managed programs for Alstede Farms, NJ2-1-1, JCP&L, the Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racetrack, Association of NJ Chiropractors, and NJ Festival of Ballooning among others.

In addition to his professional career, Tom has worked as an Adjunct Professor at Rider University and served on the Board of Directors of Michael’s Feat, a 501c3 charity in Monmouth County that assists families of seriously ill newborns. He is currently a board member of Visit South Jersey, a local Direct Marketing Organization.

Tom resides in Farmingdale, NJ with his wife Ann and has two sons.



Beth Costa

Executive Director / Wine Road Northern Sonoma County

Topics: WALC 2 - Communications: Building an Organization, and a Brand, in the 21st Century, WALC 5 - Community Relations: Winning in the Backyard
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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.



Carlo Devito

Owner / Hudson-Chatham Winery

Topic: 4C - Wine Writers, What Are They Looking For?
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Carlo DeVito is a lifelong publishing executive who has worked for Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, McGraw-Hill, Running Press, Penguin USA, and Sterling Publishing. He has published books with Stephen Hawking, E.O. Wilson, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Dan Rather, Philip Caputo, Michael Lewis, Thomas Hoving, Stanley Crouch, John Edgar Wideman, Dee Brown, Julia Alvarez, Jane Goodall, Budd Schulberg, Haynes Johnson, Dr. Howard Shapiro, Bo Dietl, Malachy McCourt, David Quammen, Peter Golenbock, The Fabulous Beekman Boys, Barton Seaver, Terry Walters, and many others. He published the highly acclaimed book Strange Fruit by Vanity Fair contributing editor David Margolick.

He has published many books with Edible Communities magazines; with numerous brands at Hearst magazines including Good Housekeeping, Country Living, Esquire, Town & Country, Cosmopolitan, House Beautiful and others; as well as working with M. Shanken Communications wherein he published books with Wine Spectator and Cigar Aficionado.

He is one of the most experienced wine, beers, and spirits editors in the world whose list of authors has included The Wine Spectator, The New York Times, Michael Jackson, Kevin Zraly, Matt Kramer, Oz Clarke, Tom Stevenson, Howard G. Goldberg, Josh M. Bernstein, Jim Meehan, Salvatore Calabrase, William Dowd, Clay Risen, and many others. His books and authors over the years have won James Beard, Gourmand, and IAACP awards. He has traveled to wine regions in California, Canada, up and down the east coast, France, Spain and Chile.

Carlo DeVito is the author of more than 15 titles. He has written on dogs, sports, and wine. Carlo he has appeared on television dozens of times including multiple times as guests on CBS, ABC, NBC, and FOX morning shows in New York, as well as throughout the eastern seaboard. He has been a featured guest on WFAN (both TV and Radio), ESPN radio, WCBS and WABC radio, WAMC, and more than 60 radio stations nationwide. He has edited and written more than a dozen books reviewed in The Wall Street Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, and other national newspapers.

His dog books include the critical success 10 Secrets My Dog Taught Me, A Mark Twain Christmas, D. Wayne: The High-Rolling and Fast Times of America’s Premiere Horse Trainer; Wellington: The Maras, The Giants and The City of New York; and Yogi: The Life and Times of an American Original among many.

He also wrote East Coast Wineries: A Complete Guide From Maine to Virginia, and publishes several blogs including East Coast Wineries and Hudson River Valley Wineries.



Cheryl Durzy

Founder & CEO / LibDib

Topic: 5A - New Options for Distribution: Control Your Own Destiny
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Cheryl Durzy, Founder & CEO Cheryl Murphy Durzy has been managing wholesale sales for her family’s 80,000 case winery, Clos LaChance, for over 17 years. She has a full understanding of the industry and issues regarding alcohol distribution in the United States. She is passionate about LibDib and hopes to disrupt the current system by offering all small, family-owned wineries and businesses an opportunity to sell their products to other businesses that want them. Cheryl is truly entrenched in the industry, sitting on several Boards, including the California Sustainable Wine Association and Free the Grapes. Cheryl Durzy, Founder & CEO Cheryl Murphy Durzy has been managing wholesale sales for her family’s 80,000 case winery, Clos LaChance, for over 17 years. She has a full understanding of the industry and issues regarding alcohol distribution in the United States. She is passionate about LibDib and hopes to disrupt the current system by offering all small, family-owned wineries and businesses an opportunity to sell their products to other businesses that want them. Cheryl is truly entrenched in the industry, sitting on several Boards, including the California Sustainable Wine Association and Free the Grapes.



Jennifer Eckinger

Executive Director / Pennsylvania Winery Association

Topic: WALC 2 - Communications: Building an Organization, and a Brand, in the 21st Century

A passionate advocate for PA Wines, Jennifer Eckinger has worked for the Pennsylvania Winery Association for more than a decade as executive director. In her role, she is an educator and industry spokesperson on behalf of Pennsylvania's $4 billion wine industry. Eckinger is excited about the continued growth of the industry in the state, which now has more than 14,000 acres of grapes and more than 260 wineries. PA is home to vineyards growing nearly 60 different varietals and she has made it her mission to educate people about the interesting wines made as a result. She attended Penn State University and holds a BS in Labor Industrial Relations and a M.Ed. in Training & Development.



Monika Elling

CEO / Foundations Marketing Group

Topic: 2A - Beyond Facebook: The Next Social Frontier
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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.



Sam Filler

Executive Director / New York Wine and Grape Foundation

Topic: WALC 3 - Promotion: Creating Programs that Work
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Sam Filler serves as the Executive Director of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, the main trade association responsible for statewide investments in research and promotion on behalf the New York wine and grape industry. He previously served as Director of Industry Development at Empire State Development, New York State’s chief economic development agency. In that role, Sam worked closely with the alcoholic beverage industry and policy-makers to implement Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s craft beverage initiative.



Matthieu Finot

Winemaker / King Family Vineyards

Topic: 5B - Red Wine Production Trials: Results of Winemaking Effects on Structure and Aroma of Red Wines

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.



Melanie Friedman

Owner / FMD Architects

Topic: 3A - Financing the Pursuit of Excellence, 4A - Designing for Excellence; Striking the Balance between Form & Function
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As an owner of FMD Architects, Melanie Friedman has been with FMD for 17 years. Her first winery was completed 9 years ago and received a local design award from the American Institute of Architects. She enjoyed the project so much that FMD created a niche practice area to focus on helping more wineries create amazing experiences for their clientele. She is focused on quality design that enhances the brand of her clients while remaining highly functional and efficient. Melanie enjoys helping Owners understand common challenges and how to overcome them for a smooth design and construction process.



Denise M. Gardner

Winemaking Consultant / Denise Gardner Winemaking, LLC

Topic: 2B - Trends in Eastern Winemaking: Appassimento-Style, 6B - Exploring Production Styles of Rosé in the Eastern Wine Industry
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In the Fall of 2017, Denise Gardner launched her new consulting service, Denise Gardner Winemaking LLC (www.denisegardnerwinemaking.com), specializing in winemaking and educational consulting services for wine industry professionals.

As an enologist, Denise has spent over a decade in the wine production industry, and the last 6 years as Pennsylvania’s enology extension associate at Penn State University. Denise’s passion and enthusiasm for wine began at the age of 16 where she started growing wine grapes in high school, and spent those early years enrolled viticulture extension programs while 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, she worked in Napa as Enartis Vinquiry’s Sensory Scientist, assisting wineries with specific wine sensory studies and conducting in-house evaluations on enological products.

After returning to the eastern U.S., Denise was employed by Penn State Extension and focused on wine quality education covering topics such as sensory evaluation, fermentation nutrition, good sanitation practices, and wine chemistry concepts. 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 Education Trust (WSET) in 2015. In 2017, she became the Chair for the American Society of Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) – Eastern Section organization, which focuses on providing current and research-driven information to the regional wine industry and providing scholarship for students studying viticulture and enology.

You can follow Denise on social media via Twitter (@DeniseMGardner), Instagram (@dgwinemaking) or the 2 Facebook pages she manages: Denise M. Gardner (www.facebook.com/GardnerDeniseM/) and American Society for Enology and Viticulture – Eastern Section.


Q

Every region has something special, what do east coast wine producers have going in their favor?

"What drew me back to the east was the community that exists amongst eastern regions. The people in the eastern industry are one of the most interesting components of my job. I learn so much from them, their knowledge motivates me to learn more, and I really enjoy talking about wine with all of them. Most of the regions east of the Rockies have unique challenges, but no one gives up. This thirst for knowledge and to constantly improve in quality is going to continue to drive Eastern and Midwestern industries. "

Q

What are some of the biggest misconceptions consumers have about eastern produced wines?

"One of the biggest misconceptions about the wines produced in eastern regions is always with regards to their quality: do they taste good? Do they taste “right?” Are they enjoyable? I think we have finally reached a tipping point in which we can adequately relay the information to wine consumers that eastern-produced wines are not better or worse than western-produced counterparts; they are simply different. They are unique just as all wine regions are unique. Eastern Merlot provides a different story than Western Merlot, and that is not only okay, it’s fascinating! We can do so many unique things with the wines produced here, and I always feel fortunate to be engaged in this part of the industry.

There are some wines from the west that I love simply for what they are, and I can say the same about wines I love from the east. Personally, I love sharing eastern produced wines with others. It’s so rewarding to see someone’s eyes light up in their first sip."

Q

The eastern wine industry has seen a lot of very positive press in the last couple of years, what do you think has changed?

"I think that both state and local wine industries have grown in terms of their outreach, both within individual wineries and winery or grower organizations. Additionally, the internet has opened up opportunities for wineries to talk about and promote their wines in ways that could not be done before. Now, social media platforms engage with wine as a beverage, culture, and discussion topic. I think Millennials, especially, are very open to embracing the local wine scene and exploring their local wine regions to taste their wines. Visiting wineries creates unique opportunities for visitors and puts wine consumers in touch with the land as well as the production process. Plus, wineries usually offer a beautiful environment for people to socialize and spend time with friends and family in an appealing and enjoyable setting."

Q

Why do you think Rose’ has grown so popular recently?


"What isn’t to like about rosé? I kid. But in all seriousness, I think rosés offer an option outside of traditional white wine varieties well-known to consumers. Rosés come across to me as being hip, trendy, and easy-to-drink. There seems to be less of a focus on the grape variety used to produce rosé, as many front labels do not immediately indicate the wine grape variety. This may make rosé more approachable for consumers to understand what they are buying instead of getting lost in a varietal name. And finally, I think some people just like pink!"

Q

Do you envision Appassimento style growing in popularity with eastern winemakers producing dry, red wines?

"I am not sure if Appassimento style wines will be popular to the degree oaked Chardonnay or Moscato are popular, but I do think this concentration technique offers wine differentiation. There are undoubtedly challenges associated with making this style of wine, but it may offer some unique marketing advantages for wineries that embrace this style. For example, I imagine it may act as special release for wineries, similar to Ice Wine products. From a winemaking perspective, I think it’s fun to try to create something new out of a technique surrounded in tradition."


Christopher Goblet

Executive Director / New Mexico Wine Growers Association

Topic: WALC 5 - Community Relations: Winning in the Backyard
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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.



Tara Good

Vice President / WineAmerica

Topic: Session 2 - Washington, D.C.: Politics, Policy, and Your Bottom Line, WALC 7 - Hot Topics: Wine, Weed, and Music
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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.



Brian Grafton

Project Architect / FMD Architects

Topic: 4A - Designing for Excellence; Striking the Balance between Form & Function
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Brian is the Studio Lead for FMD Architects’ Winery, Brewery, and Hospitality related projects. Since taking on this Studio, Brian has partnered with banks, and equipment suppliers to help clients make informed decisions that solve their unique challenges.He also shares his expertise with others by doing various speaking engagements and responding to questions in online forums. Brian’s current projects include wineries in Ohio, Oklahoma and Virginia. Brian combines his knowledge of building codes and production area layout best practices to provide clients with both an aesthetic and functional project.



Steve Groff

President / Wyndridge Farm

Topic: 3C - Offering More: Adding Spirits, Cider or Beer to the Lineup
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Steve Groff was born and raised on a dairy farm in Lancaster, PA. Choosing a different path, he pursued a career in medicine, ultimately developing a thriving orthopedic surgery practice in York, PA. The desire for farm lifestyle, however, never left him, purchasing an eighty acre farm in 2000 on which to raise his family. A nearly catastrophic bicycle accident in 2011 forced him to look at other career options.

He, along with his wife and oldest son opened Wyndridge Farm in 2014. Featuring a meticulously renovated 120 year old barn, expo style kitchen and top-notch brewing facility the Farm has quickly become a mid-atlantic destination for food, events, music and craft beverage. They hold PA winery, brewery and brewpub licenses. Their products are distributed in nine east coast states. They manufacture and distribute craft soda, hard cider and craft beer. Diversification of goods and services has been a key part of their success.

He left medicine in 2014 to lead Wyndridge full time. The company has over one-hundred employees and has a full service restaurant, event space and manufacturing capacity of nearly thirty-thousand barrels.



Eric Guerra

Chief Marketing & Sales Officer / Terravant Wine Company

Topic: 4C - Wine Writers, What Are They Looking For?, Session 3 - The Eastern Wine Industry's Pursuit of Excellence: Winning Against All Odds
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With over 14 years of wine experience, executive, wine blogger, fine wine investor and winemaker Eric Guerra has lead some of the industry’s most iconic wineries and wine brands. Having diverse roles from brand, tasting room, D2C, finance, sourcing, production and sales management, to leading such iconic brands as the industry titan Kendall-Jackson, the Napa Valley destination of Mumm Napa, the Rioja gem Campo Viejo, the Russian River boutique Gary Farrell Winery to the ultra-prestigious Maison Perrier-Jouët Champagne, Eric’s unique and diverse exposure of the wine industry truly covers all aspects from grape… to bottle… to consumer.

With over 14 design awards such as the 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Label Contest Sweepstakes Winner, in his most recent role Eric is the Chief Sales & Marketing Officer of the custom winery Terravant Wine Company located in Santa Barbara County, growing the business from 7k to over 500k. Eric travels extensively developing private label wines and brands for the largest wine buyers in the US such as Darden, Kroger, WholeFoods, CPK, Foodlion, HEB, Ruth’s Chris, Albertsons, Target and ABC Liquor… and the list goes on.

As a wine blogger, in 2016 Eric launched Reserve Tastings with Eric Guerra focusing on educating the wine consumer through travel and entertaining.



Dr. Nichola Hall

Technical Representative / Scott Laboratories

Topic: 3B - Breakthrough Technology in Yeast Nutrition: The Quality Impact
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In 1997 Hall graduated from University of Abertay, Dundee, Scotland with a BSc. (HONS) in Microbial Biotechnology. She then traveled to Perugia, Italy to work in the laboratory of Prof. Alessandro Martini on the taxonomic classification of wine yeasts. Upon returning to Scotland, Hall began her Ph. D in Yeast Physiology and Fermentation Science and in 2001; she graduated from the laboratory of Prof. Graeme M. Walker. In 2002, she took up the post of Director of Microbiology at Bronco Wine Company.

In March 2009, Hall joined Scott Laboratories. In her current position she serves as a technical consultant for all areas of enology with a particular focus on fermentation management, microbial nutrition, wine microbiology and analysis and winery hygiene.

Hall is the Past-President of the American Society of Enology and Viticulture (ASEV), and acts as a consultant on fermentation practices and implementation for Mathew Bruno Wines.



Jacob Halls

Owner / Convergence Consulting

Topic: 3C - Offering More: Adding Spirits, Cider or Beer to the Lineup
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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.



Kirsty Harmon

Winemaker, General Manager / Blenheim Vineyards

Topic: 5B - Red Wine Production Trials: Results of Winemaking Effects on Structure and Aroma of Red Wines
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Born in the Netherlands, Kirsty has spent a majority of her life in Charlottesville. After graduating from the University of Virginia in 1998 with a degree in biology, Kirsty developed an appreciation for wine through a job that allowed her to apprentice with famed Virginia winemaker Gabriele Rausse.

After making wine for several years in Virginia, Kirsty moved west to pursue formal training at the University of California at Davis, where she graduated with an M.S. in Viticulture and Enology in 2007. After graduation, Kirsty spent six months at Domaine Faiveley in Nuits St. Georges, France as a recipient of the 2007 Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin Scholarship. In Spring 2008, she worked as a harvest intern at Craggy Range Winery in New Zealand as a recipient of the Dough Wisor Memorial Scholarship. Kirsty joined Blenheim Vineyards as winemaker in June of 2008.



Jordan Harris

Winemaker, General Manager / Tarara Winery

Topic: 1B - Exploring Source-Sink Relationships in Vineyard Management and Impact on Wine Quality

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, Legacy Farms and Virginia Wine Council. He now sits as Vice Chair of the Board for Visit Loudoun. Jordan looks forward to being a part of the thriving DC Wine Country for years to come.



Megan Hereford

Sales Representative / Scott Laboratories

Topic: 3B - Breakthrough Technology in Yeast Nutrition: The Quality Impact
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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.



Anna Lee C. Iijima

Contributing Editor / Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Topic: Session 1 - In Pursuit of Excellence: Trade & Media Weigh In
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Iijima joined Wine Enthusiast in 2010 following a career in corporate law. She holds a Diploma in Wine and Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and is a student in the Masters of Wine Program. She also holds a certification in Viticulture and Vinification from the American Sommelier Association and is a Certified Sake Professional of the Sake Education Council. Her passion for Japanese sake and shōchū often rivals her devotion to wine.



Dr. Debra Inglis, PhD

Director / Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, Brock University

Topic: 2B - Trends in Eastern Winemaking: Appassimento-Style
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Dr. Inglis is currently the Director of Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) and one of the core research scientists within the institute. She attained her PhD in Biochemistry in 1995 and joined Brock as a faculty member in 1999 teaching wine chemistry, wine microbiology and metabolic biochemistry in the oenology and viticulture undergraduate program. Her research focuses on priority areas of the Canadian grape and wine industry for premium wine production: biochemistry-based research strategies to improve wine quality through the reduction of methoxypyrazines associated with greeness in cool climate wines; new emerging wine styles for Ontario such as sparkling and appassimento wines, the causal organisms of grape sour rot, Icewine fermentation and factors affecting Icewine quality; and factors affecting grapevine cold hardiness. Debbie has been involved in the grape and wine industry her entire life as her family are grape growers in the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario, Canada and she and her husband Rob run their own vineyard in Niagara on the Lake.



Michael Jones

Fermentation Specialist / Scott Laboratories

Topic: 2B - Trends in Eastern Winemaking: Appassimento-Style
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Michael came on board with Scott Laboratories in 2007 with over 35 years of winemaking experience under his belt. Since then he shared his wealth of knowledge with North America by traveling extensively to trade shows and seminars throughout the country, many times as a speaker. A UC Davis graduate, Michael has lived and worked in Burgundy, France and the Hunter Valley, Australia. Domestically, Michael built his experience at Novavine, Hanzell Vineyards and Caymus Vineyards. He also spent 19 years at Domaine Chandon where he put on a multitude of hats and was involved with the vineyards, operations, winemaking, laboratory and was part of the team that established the Wine Education program. Prior to his start in the wine industry, Michael spent a year traveling cross-country by freight train, stopping to work on a shrimp boat in the Gulf of Mexico, pitch hay in San Antonio and sell art in New Orleans.



Rick Jones

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

Topic: 4B - The Evolution and Quality Impact of Flash Détente for Eastern Winemakers
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Rick Jones has been a winemaking pioneer and entrepreneur for over 35 years. His journey began at the University of California, Davis, where he earned Bachelor’s (1982) and Master’s (1984) Degrees.

In 1992, he joined up with his former classmate, Clark Smith, to co-found Vinovation, where they developed the use of reverse osmosis to remove VA and alcohol. Since 2004, Rick has been a consulting winemaker, working with both wineries and technology providers. His specialty is in bringing new innovations to the wine industry, such as Reverse Osmosis for VA and Alcohol Adjustment, Sensory Standards For Oak and Tannin, and Micro-Oxygenation. He helped spread the use of micro-oxygenation in California, and his most recent project has been the introduction of ThermoFlash (or Flash Détente) to North America. Thermo Flash is a technology which has enormous potential for enhancing red wine quality especially in Eastern Viniculture.

Rick possesses a rare combination of strong enological skills coupled with notable sales aptitude and is very well regarded and highly influential in the California wine industry. He is an established leader, transforming ideas into thriving, self-sustaining businesses.



Michael Kaiser

Vice President / WineAmerica

Topic: Session 2 - Washington, D.C.: Politics, Policy, and Your Bottom Line, WALC 4 - Public Policy: Setting and Achieving Legislative Priorities, WALC 7 - Hot Topics: Wine, Weed, and Music
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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 TimesThe Washington PostThe Associated Press, Vineyard and Winery Management MagazineWines 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.



Tawnie Logan

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

Topic: 6A - Wine & Weed: Tales from the West
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As a California native, Tawnie has been active in organic and sustainable agriculture including cannabis farming for over 15 years. Her commitment to the environment and to providing cannabis operators pathways to success in a regulated market inspired the founding of the Sonoma County Growers Alliance in 2015 representing the business and policy needs of the entire cannabis supply chain.

A large part of Tawnie's contribution to the industry is realized in the work she has committed to as an active advocate for sensible policy. This work includes her roles as the board chair for the California Growers Association, board chair of SCGA, advisory board member of the Sonoma County Cannabis Advisory Group, and an advisory board member of the Wine and Weed Symposium.

Tawnie has dedicated the past three years to support local and state regulators in developing effective policy through industry education and advocacy. She is an active presenter across a wide array of conferences and industry groups from cannabis conferences, chambers of commerce, Sustainable North Bay to the Farm Bureau, National Appraisal Institute, city and county agencies and many more.

Today her primary work is focused on advancing the professional landscape of successful cannabis businesses as a managing partner in Canna Code Compliance. In California, through collaborative efforts with local, regional and statewide organizations, from economic development to preserving natural resources, Tawnie's commitment to responsible holistic growth is representative of the principal values at the core of this burgeoning industry.



Amy T. Margolis

Partner, Executive Director / Greenspoon Marder, Oregon Cannabis Association

Topic: 6A - Wine & Weed: Tales from the West, WALC 7 - Hot Topics: Wine, Weed, and Music

Amy T. Margolis is a partner with Greenspoon Marder’s Cannabis Law practice group. Her primary practice areas are licensing, compliance and regulatory work in the cannabis industry, as well as continuing to represent clients charged with crimes in either state or federal court. She is also directly involved with the state’s policy discussion around implementation of medical and recreational cannabis and she has been tapped to serve on a number of rulemaking committees.

She frequently testifies at the Oregon legislature and before local governments on both policy and practical issues surrounding cannabis.

Ms. Margolis is the founder and director of the Oregon Cannabis PAC and the Oregon Cannabis Association, which is the largest professional cannabis association in the state of Oregon. She has spoken across the country on issues such as raising capital, managing investors, the struggles with implementation of legal cannabis and federal obstacles to the industry. She frequently speaks at local events like the Cannabis Creative Conference, the Oregon Business Summit and Oregon Bar Association events regarding all things cannabis. She has also led three Oregon lobbying trips to Washington D.C.



Mario Mazza

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

Topic: 3C - Offering More: Adding Spirits, Cider or Beer to the Lineup
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With a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH – Mario went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Enology from the University of Adelaide in Australia. While there, he gained experience in the Barossa Valley and in the Adelaide Hills. In addition to his early exposure to the family business, Mario has 10 years of experience in research & commercial winemaking, as well as sensory training including the PA Wine Quality Initiative. He has a passion for quality & excellence in both process & product.



Josh McDonald

Executive Director / Washington Wine Institute

Topic: WALC 7 - Hot Topics: Wine, Weed, and Music
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Josh McDonald comes to the Washington Wine Institute as their Executive Director after spending 8 years working for the Washington Restaurant Association (WRA) and 10 years of Government Affairs work at our state capitol in Olympia. At the WRA he built their local government program from the ground up, providing restaurants with a voice and influence within city hall and their city and state agencies. He also carried several issues for WRA in Olympia, including tourism, food safety, immigration, the environment, and business taxes and regulations. Josh has 6 years of campaign experience, running successful campaigns for city, state, and congressional candidates. He is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound and lives in Tacoma with his wife Chelsea Levy and his son Liam.



Larry D. Meyers

President / Meyers & Associates

Topic: Session 2 - Washington, D.C.: Politics, Policy, and Your Bottom Line
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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.



Virginia Mitchell

Winemaker & Winery Manager / Galer Estate Vineyard & Winery

Topic: 6B - Exploring Production Styles of Rosé in the Eastern Wine Industry
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Virginia has been the Winemaker at Galer Estate since May of 2014. She graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor's degree in Food Science, while focusing in Enology. She has not only worked under highly regarded winemakers and Enology experts on the East Coast, but also worked a Vintage at Two Hands Wines in South Australia.


Q

Every region has something special, what do east coast wine producers have going in their favor?

"East Coast winemakers, especially in the south-eastern corner of Pennsylvania, have the advantage of a cool climate and a decent amount of rain through the growing season. In the past few years, we have experiences hot summers and autumns that allow for ideal growing conditions and proper ripening for our cold-hardy varieties. On the east coast we get to work with varieties like Grüner Veltliner, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Franc that have more of a European style. We also have the opportunity to work with fun hybrid varieties like Vidal Blanc, and educate the consumers on these somewhat unknown wines."

Q

What are some of the biggest misconceptions consumers have about eastern produced wines?

"The biggest misconception is that these wines are sweet and are made out of fruit, hybrid or native varieties. Consumers don't realize that a lot of wineries are making high quality wines from vinifera varieties that are grown right here on the east coast. "

Q

Why do you think Rosé has become so popular again?


"I believe rosés are becoming popular because they are being made well! On the East Coast we have some red varieties that can be picked and processed to make a well-balanced rosé. Dry rosés usually have a beautiful pink hue, a sweet aroma, but a balanced mouthfeel that pairs well with food or can be enjoyed on its own. It is a very versatile wine for the consumer."

Q

What do you think is driving the surge of attention the eastern wine industry has gotten from wine media over the last few years?

"I want to say that the surge of attention has to do with qualified, educated winemakers that are more passionate about making a high quality wine. With better winemakers, comes better wines, and more interested people to enjoy the wine. "

Q

What predictions do you have for the region over the next 5 years?

"My hope is that we continue having ideal growing seasons that promotes great wines for the East Coast. I also hope that the industry becomes saturated with educated viticulturists and enologists that want to make a difference in increasing the quality with our interesting varieties and techniques."


Frank Morgan

Wine Writer

Topics: 2C - The Next Generation: Winemaker’s Perspective on the Future of Wine in the Eastern U.S., 4C - Wine Writers, What Are They Looking For?

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 eight years ago to chronicle his wine travel experiences and to share stories of the wines, wineries, and winegrowers of Virginia. His site was named one of the top wine news blogs by Millesima. Morgan is also a contributor for Piedmont Virginian magazine, edibleDC magazine, the wine site Snooth, and Savor Virginia magazine, the only print magazine dedicated to the state’s food and drinks industry. Morgan lives in Chesapeake, VA, with his wife and daughter.



Ami Opisso

General Manager / Lieb Cellars

Topic: 1A - Canned Wines: Crushing the Stigma by Raising the Quality
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Ami is a certified sommelier and the General Manager of Lieb Cellars, an 85-acre farm-winery on the North Fork of Long Island, New York, dedicated to crafting clean, balanced, 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 and Lieb’s second label, Bridge Lane. Bridge Lane wines are marketed to millennials and focused on delivering value, fun and convenience though alternative packaging. In summer 2017, Bridge Lane introduced the first premium canned wine made in New York and plans to roll out all 5 of their wines in can in early 2018. Their wines are distributed in 10 states across the NE and growing. Follow both brands on Instagram at @liebcellars and @bridgelanewine.



Luca Paschina

Winemaker, GM / Barboursville Vineyards

Topic: Winemaking: Appassimento-Style
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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.


Q

What are some of the biggest misconceptions consumers have about eastern produced wines?

"Indeed there are some misconception but for the most part is a lack of knowledge and experience on East Coast Wines"

Q

What advantages do Virginia winemakers have over other states in the eastern region?

"Weather, a very knit group of vintners, form different continents continually sharing their knowledge and great research support from Virginia Tech and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Tourism."

Q

What predictions do you have for the region over the next 5 years?


"In the vineyards side there is definitely growth in the horizon, accompanied by increasingly accurate site selection and matching the best varietals to the soil character.

In the winemaking side, new styles of wine are arising while a growing number of wines and producers are establishing recognition nationwide.

Unfortunately, Statewide, there is still a grape shortage although I predict that in five years from now we will have cured large part of it."

Q

Do you envision Appassimento style growing in popularity with eastern winemakers producing dry, red wines?

"I have noticed there is a growing number of winemakers that are adopting appassimento seeking more concentration in particular for red varietals."


Jeff Plack

Director of Business Development / Biltmore Estate Wine Company

Topic: 1C - Staff Training: Your Best Investment
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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.



Rebecca Ritz

Founder & Designer / Bauerhaus Design, Inc.

Topic: 5C - Case Study: How 6 Brands Target 6 Different Wine Consumers
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Rebecca is passionate about the wine, spirits and food industry, and making it easier for businesses to achieve their goals. In 2010, she blended two of her loves – design and wine – and began to focus on helping wine brands tell their brand story. Rebecca specializes in integrating this brand story and strategy into print, packaging, website design and development to stand out from the competition. Her motto is: “Will design for wine.”

Rebecca is pleased to teach brands the marketing strategies and tools they can use to get more customers and increase their sales. Based in Illinois she travels coast-to-coast to share her 20 years of design and branding expertise via workshops on marketing, website strategy, wine label design, and social media. Rebecca prides herself on providing tangible takeaways that owners and marketing managers can apply to their specific winery. When not speaking, she partners with wineries and vineyards around the country to create unforgettable brands.

Bauerhaus Design is a member of the Wine Industry Network, Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association, and the Women of the Vine & Spirits, an organization dedicated to the support and advancement of women in the alcohol beverage industry.



Max Rohn

General Manager / Wölffer Estate

Topic: 3C - Offering More: Adding Spirits, Cider or Beer to the Lineup
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As the General Manager of Wölffer Estate Vineyard, Max has helped usher in a new era of lifestyle branding to a traditional quality focused winery. Several examples include the building of “Summer in a Bottle Rosé” from 3000 cases to 25000 cases in 4 years and Wölffer No 139 cider from 4000 cases to over 75,000 cases, the introduction of Wölffer Estate’s pink gin, as well as building the reputation of the top wines with placement in over 25 Michelin star restaurants and some of the highest rated scores ever achieved for the region. Using a combination of quality, lifestyle, hospitality, and sustainability Wolffer Estate has grown to be one of the most pre-eminent and most esteemed wineries on the east coast.

Growing up around the world, Max Rohn has sought diversity in life, work, and experiences, and brings his passion of innovation and culture to the winery. With a Computer Science degree from Vanderbilt University and an MBA in Marketing from NYU's Stern School of Business, Max infuses modern influences into Wölffer Estate Vineyard's storied legacy of winemaking, hospitality and innovation.



Justin Rose

Winemaker, General Manager / Blenheim Vineyards

Topic: 1B - Exploring Source-Sink Relationships in Vineyard Management and Impact on Wine Quality
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Justin started his journey into the wine industry after receiving his Chemical Engineering degree from the University of Virginia in 2004. Upon graduation he returned to the family farm in La Crosse, Virginia to help establish Rosemont Vineyards. He subsequently enrolled at Napa Valley College to study viticulture and oenology, while interning at O’Shaughnessy Winery and Capiaux Cellars. Justin returned home to help oversee the final construction of the Winery and in the Fall of 2007, led the first harvest and production of Rosemont of Virginia wines. He is the vineyard manager of Rosemont’s 25 acre vineyard, and head winemaker of their roughly 6,000 case annual production of 100% estate grown fruit. Justin is also the acting President of the Virginia Wineries Association, and in his free time enjoys golfing, coaching soccer and spending time with his wife and two children.



Brian Rosen

Owner & Founder / BevStrat.com

Topic: Session 1 - In Pursuit of Excellence: Trade & Media Weigh In, 5A - New Options for Distribution: Control Your Own Destiny
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Brian is one of a handful of three tier experts in the USA. Voted "Ones to Watch" in Beverage Dynamics Magazine. Rosen works with brands, distributors, producers and marketing/ position companies to bring brands to market all over the USA.

Rosen has worked with Americas largest consumer companies including Cohen's Fashion Optical (Top 10 Retail Optician/ Nationally, COO) Target, 7-11, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LevelVision, Fallas Parades, Lulu Lemon, Anheiser Busch, National WIne Distributors, Global Adult Beverage brands.

Brian is globally regarded as THE leading authority in the three -tier system, retail off premise, team leadership, marketing, merchandising, ECOMM and go to market strategy.

Brian has been featured for Forbes, American Beverage License Association, Beverage Dynamics, Wine and Spirits Daily, Beer Business Daily, Wines and Vines, Santa Rosa Democrat, Chicago Tribune, Modern Luxury Magazines, Newsweek, Wine Spectator, Market Watch, Wine Enthusiast, San Francisco Chronicle, CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, Food Network, American Distillers Institute, Travel Channel, WCIU, and TNT.

Rosen had been named, Retailer of the Year 3X, Forbes Best of the Web 2x, and 14 under 40 winner, amongst others.

Rosen was CEO of his own 100M-retail enterprise, partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Retail Performance Improvement/ CPG/ Adult Beverage. Ran his own retail consulting firm and as run Cohen's Fashion Optical. Top 10 optical retailer nationally.

Clients include; Anheuser Busch, Target, 7-11, Nomacorc, Testa Wines, Fallas Paradis, Azeo, Mammoth Distilling, Young’s Market, Wise Guys Liquors, Beckford's Brands, LibDib, Fresh Market and many more.

Rosen has a B.A. in Business Administration from DePaul University and is a graduate of the University of Chicago Executive MBA Leadership program.



Krista Scruggs

Assistant Winemaker and Winegrower / La Garagista Farm & Winery
Winemaker and Winegrower / ZAFA Wines

Topic: 2C - The Next Generation: Winemaker’s Perspective on the Future of Wine in the Eastern U.S.

Krista Scruggs is the assistant winemaker at La Garagista and the owner/winegrower of ZAFA Wines. Born and raised in California she previously worked for Constellation Brands and then ventured to work for an array of growers in Washington, Italy, Southern France, and Texas. While working with these different growers and producers domestically and abroad Krista realised that she wanted to be a vigneron. She currently produces and grows wines in both Vermont and Texas.



Ashley Sebastionelli

President, Co-Founder / Lucky Clover Packaging

Topic: 1A - Canned Wines: Crushing the Stigma by Raising the Quality
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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.



Kate Smith

Loan Officer / Live Oak Bank

Topic: 3A - Financing the Pursuit of Excellence

Kate Smith is a Loan Officer for Live Oak Bank’s Wine and Craft Beverage Lending Division. In 2015, Kate joined this team because of her profound passion for working with craft entrepreneurs, after serving as a successful Loan Closing Specialist. Her commitment to the industry and extensive experience have helped this group be ranked as the Top SBA Lender to wineries & vineyards, craft breweries and distilleries nationwide since 2015. Kate works from the bank’s headquarters in Wilmington, NC, but travels across the country seeking to help craft beverage business owners reach their goals.



Lenn Thompson

Wine Writer

Topic: 4C - Wine Writers, What Are They Looking For?
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Lenn Thompson, a proud Pittsburgh, PA native, moved to Long Island more than a decade ago and quickly fell in love with the region’s dynamic and emerging wine community. A digital and content marketing and community professional by day, he founded NewYorkCorkReport.com in early 2004 to share his passion for the wines, beers and spirits of New York State. After running that site -- which became the premier source for independent New York wine commentary, reviews and news -- for 12 years, he launched TheCorkReport.us in late 2016 to add the wines of Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Vermont and beyond to his beat.

Lenn currently serves as the wine columnist for The Suffolk Times weekly newspaper and is the former editor of the Long Island Wine Gazette. He contributes or has contributed to publications like Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Beverage Media, Edible Brooklyn, Edible East End and Edible Hudson Valley.

Lenn served on the board of directors for Drink Local Wine, and is the creator and founder of TasteCamp, an annual regional wine immersion conference for writers and trade.

An admitted riesling and cabernet franc fanatic, he’s intensely passionate about eating local and the many local wine regions of America. Lenn lives in Miller Place, NY with his wife Nena, son Jackson, daughter Anna and their dog, Casey Lemieux Thompson.



Jim Trezise

President / WineAmerica, International Riesling Foundation

Topics: Session 2 - Washington, D.C.: Politics, Policy, and Your Bottom Line, WALC 1 - Operations & Finance: Building a Strong Board & State Funding for Your Initiatives, WALC 3 - Promotion: Creating Programs that Work, WALC 4 - Public Policy: Setting and Achieving Legislative Priorities, WALC 6 - Pressing Topics for Wine Industry Associations – Open Forum
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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.



Paul Vigna

Editor, Writer / PennLive.com

Topic: 4C - Wine Writers, What Are They Looking For?
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Paul Vigna is an editor and writer for PennLive.com and the Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. He has written a blog covering mid-Atlantic wineries for more than 10 years, focusing largely on the industry and the people who are part of it. That role led to an April 2017 tasting involving winemakers from some of the best East Coast wineries at Waltz Vineyards Estate Winery in Lancaster County. His primary role at PennLive is overseeing projects and investigative stories in addition to coverage of the Capitol.



Melanie Virreira

Director of Marketing / Ball Corporation

Topic: 1A - Canned Wines: Crushing the Stigma by Raising the Quality
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Melanie Virreira, Director of Marketing, Beverage Packaging North and Central America at Ball Corporation, has been in the packaging industry for over 10 years after graduating from Clemson University with a degree in Graphic Communications. She has since completed a Masters of Arts in Communications from Auburn University and an MBA in Marketing and Finance from Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado.

Virreira began her career in label printing at Multi-Color Corporation in Cincinnati where she managed the intersecting relationship between design, marketing, and manufacturing beginning in project management and expanding that role to include marketing and business development.

An international sales role opportunity at an innovative printing inks company, CTI in Colorado Springs, CO, pulled her away and allowed her a chance to travel the world finding ways of using packaging to align with consumer trends.

In 2013, she joined the team at Ball Corporation as a National Account Manager and her role quickly expanded to include Business Development. Her focus was on “new to can” categories and she spearheaded the effort in expanding cans as a viable packaging option for wine. Now as Director of Marketing, Virreira is focused on providing information and support for all wineries looking to capture new, incremental drinking occasions by including cans in their packaging arsenal.



Nate Walsh

Winegrower / Walsh Family Wine
President / Virginia Vineyards Association

Topic: 2C - The Next Generation: Winemaker’s Perspective on the Future of Wine in the Eastern U.S.

Nate Walsh is the owner and winegrower of Walsh Family Wine, with a focus on premium winegrowing in Northern Virginia. Prior to this he has worked in wine production and vineyard management in Virginia, Oregon, and New Zealand. He is currently the president of the Virginia Vineyards Association.



Jonathan Wheeler

Winemaker / Trump Winery

Topic: 4B - The Evolution and Quality Impact of Flash Détente for Eastern Winemakers
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Jonathan leads our award-winning sparkling, white, and red wine programs, and has been with the estate since 2006. Jonathan draws on experience gained from working in Sonoma and Monterey California, Marlborough, New Zealand, and his home in the Finger Lakes of New York State. He brings to Trump Winery a knowledge of old world sparkling wine techniques blended with modern winemaking expertise.

A New York native, Jonathan holds a B.A. in Chemistry from State University of New York at Oswego. He is currently a member of the Winemaker's Research Exchange in Virginia.


Q

Every region has something special, what do east coast wine producers have going in their favor?

"What I think is great on the east coast is that we are not bound by any particular style or varieties. We are still finding what works in our unique climates and experimenting to produce the best wines possible. "

Q

What are some of the biggest misconceptions consumers have about eastern produced wines?

"For me the biggest misconception is that west coast wines are inherently better. There are both good and bad wines made all over the world. You just need to find producers focusing on high quality."

Q

What is it about Flash Technology that makes it a great winemaking tool for the eastern region?


"On the east coast we deal with a lot more late season rains and less than ideal ripening conditions in certain years. Flash technology allows for both water removal and unripe green characteristics in red wines that have been rained on or need to be harvested just prior to an expected rain event."

Q

What predictions do you have for the region over the next 5 years?

"In 5 years I will expect that with so many new producers competing for their share of the market that it will only drive wine quality to go up even further than it has in the last 5 years."


Dr. Damien Wilson

Chair of Wine Business Education / SSU Wine Business Institute

Topic: Session 1 - In Pursuit of Excellence: Trade & Media Weigh In, Session 3 - The Eastern Wine Industry's Pursuit of Excellence: Winning Against All Odds
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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.



Donniella Winchell

Executive Director, Chair of SPAAC / Ohio Wine Producers

Topic: WALC 1 - Operations & Finance: Building a Strong Board & State Funding for Your Initiatives, WALC 3 - Promotion: Creating Programs that Work, WALC 4 - Public Policy: Setting and Achieving Legislative Priorities, WALC 5 - Community Relations: Winning in the Backyard
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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.


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