WALC at USBevX 2018

In conjunction with the USBevX conference and trade show, Wine Industry Network (WIN) is pleased to partner with WineAmerica’s State and Regional Associations Advisory Council (SRAAC) to present the 2018 Winery Association Leadership Conference (WALC).

This 2-day conference (February 21—22, 2018) is specifically designed for association leaders; Executive Directors, Board Members, Key Staff, etc. and will run concurrently with other USBevX activities. The goal of this innovative leadership summit is to arm participants with the tools, knowledge and contacts that they need to better serve their organizations and accomplish their initiatives.

The WALC program will feature association experts and peers presenting on topics that challenge all winery organizations and include a networking reception/luncheon. Participating attendees will also have full access to the USBevX conference, trade show and social events.

In an attempt to cover the broad range of issues facing state and regional associations, we have created sessions focusing on:

  • Operations and Finance
  • Communications (Internal and External)
  • Public Policy Development and Execution
  • Community Relations
  • Promotion Programs

All WALC Attendees also have full access passes to a Special WALC only Luncheon, USBevX General Sessions, Trade Show Floor, Welcome Reception and Networking Activities.

WALC Schedule 2018

Wednesday Feb. 21

9:00 AM

General Session #1 - In Pursuit of Excellence: Trade & Media Weigh In

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

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

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

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

With: Dr. Damien Wilson, Anna Lee C. Iijima, Brian Rosen

10:15 AM

Operations & Finance: Building a Strong Board & State Funding for Your Initiatives

10:15 AM – 11:00 AM

An association’s Board of Directors is basically the boss of the Executive Director, but the ED is on the front lines and really knows what’s going on across the industry. So how can the ED also help build a strong and engaged Board that will enhance her or his ability to do the best job possible?

Budgets drive programs, and the more money you have the more you can do for your industry. American trade association funding runs the gamut of public and private sector combinations, with pros and cons for each. Missouri, Virginia, and Pennsylvania have state-funded programs, New York has a public-private partnership, while Oregon and Washington have industry-funded programs. What are the upsides and downsides of each system?

With: Jim Trezise, Jim Anderson, Annette Ringwood Boyd, Donniella Winchell

11:15 AM

Communications: Building an Organization, and a Brand, in the 21st Century

11:15 AM – 12:00 PM

Whether you’re talking about boosting your membership or your region’s visibility, the key is effective and contemporary communications—a.k.a., social media. Old-style membership mailings have been replaced by emails, which are being replaced by texts and other forms of social media. As more young people become involved with the industry, contemporary forms of communications will become more vital to your organization.

The same applies to external communications—building a brand for your region tailored to the people you want to reach. Traditional advertising is essentially extinct, while social media in its many forms has become a versatile vehicle for reaching diverse audiences. Learn some secrets from the experts.

With: Janie Brooks Heuck, Tom Cosentino, Beth Costa, Monika Elling

12:00 PM


12:00 PM – 1:15 PM

1:15 PM

Promotion: Creating Programs that Work

1:15 PM – 2:15 PM

Bring the people to the wine, and take the wine to the people” is the marketing strategy of one state, combining a strong tourism program with urban marketing. “Getting the wine in their mouths” is the objective of another.

Just as wine is incredibly diverse—from grape varieties to vintages and winemaking styles—there are many different ways to promote the fruit of the vine. Learn of some proven successes from around the country that may also work in your region.

With: Jim Trezise, Janie Brooks Heuck, Sam Filler, Donniella Winchell

2:30 PM

Public Policy: Setting and Achieving Legislative Priorities

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

What is a winery? Believe it or not, there are many definitions in different states, often causing confusion and consternation.

Listen to a lively discussion of this issue by members of WineAmerica’s State and Regional Associations Advisory Council (SRAAC) as just one example of how we work together by sharing information and experiences.

WineAmerica Vice President Michael Kaiser, will also lead a discussion and provide tips on how to create and maintain an effective public policy function at the state level.

With: Jim Trezise, Kevin Atticks, Fran Boyd, Michael Kaiser, Donniella Winchell

4:00 PM

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

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

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

With: Jim Trezise, Tara Good, Michael Kaiser, Larry Meyers

5:30 PM

USBevX Welcome Reception

5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Enjoy a special networking event featuring a selection of Wine, Craft Beer, Spirits & Cider carefully paired with a variety of hors d'oeuvres prepared by Marriott Wardman Park Chef.

Thursday Feb. 22

8:45 AM

General Session #3 - The Eastern Wine Industry's Pursuit of Excellence: Winning Against All Odds

8:45 AM – 10:00 AM

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

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

With: Eric Guerra, Dr. Damien Wilson

11:00 AM

Community Relations: Winning in the Backyard

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Nearly every successful winery relies heavily on its direct-to-consumer business, and driving traffic to your region through marketing and events is a proven model for supporting those producers. But striking a balance between promoting your region as a wine country destination and working with local citizens and government can be a delicate dance. Hear from colleagues who have found ways of overcoming this sensitive and often emotional challenge on how they’ve been able to establish and maintain strong relations in their local community.

With: Elizabeth "E" Slater, Kevin Atticks, Beth Costa, Chris Goblet

1:15 PM

Pressing Topics for Wine Industry Associations – Open Forum

1:15 PM – 2:15 PM

This open session time will be dedicated to identifying and addressing topics and issues most pressing to associations not covered specifically in order to set the agenda for upcoming workshops.

With: Jim Trezise

2:30 PM

Hot Topics: Wine, Weed, and Music

WineAmerica Members Only Session

2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

In recent years, medicinal and/or recreational marijuana has been legalized in an increasing number of states, more likely to follow—including those on the east coast. As a preview of what’s to come (east), winery association colleagues from California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington have experienced the change firsthand, and will share its effects on their wine industries.

Music Licensing—being able to legally feature music at a winery—has also become a hot topic all across the country, and WineAmerica Vice President Tara Good has taken the lead in protecting winery interests through creation of winery-specific licenses and a discount for WineAmerica members.

With: Michael Kaiser, Doug Caskey, Michael Correira, Tara Good, Josh McDonald

Pricing & Partnership Program

  WALC Conference Fees

  • *Waived for WineAmerica 2018 National Wine Policy Conference Attendees
  • $145: WALC Partnership Program Participants (see below how to participate and save $250.00)
  • $395 Per Attendee – Standard Price

  WALC Association Partnership Program

The Association Partnership Program was designed to support and assist association representatives that may not have a budget in place to attend the 2nd annual Winery Association Leadership Conference (WALC). Participating attendees will receive a $250 discount on conference fees.

  Participation Requirements for Eligibility

  • Qualifying is easy!

  • Add USBevX Conference Information to your Association Site, Newsletters, and Event Calendars
  • Provide your Association’s Logo & URL for use on the US Wine & Beverage Expo site (usbevx.com)
  • Email USBevX Conference Information to Association Members leading up to the event, 4 times, (November, December, January, February) encouraging their participation.
    • Include your association promotional codes so your members can save on their registration fees.

    Copy, artwork, logos, and individualized association promotional codes will be provided.

For more information contact Samantha Stephey at samantha@wineindustrynetwork.com or call 707-433-2557 ext 107 or click here to be included on all USBevX news and updates.