WTC15 Speakers Update

2015 Wine Tourism Conference Ramping Up
Line-up of speakers aims to educate and inspire

The 2015 Wine Tourism Conference heads to Loudoun County, Virginia this November 18-20.  We are excited to be on the East coast and experience the enthusiasm for the good life in “D.C’s Wine Country” this Fall.

We are also excited to announce the following speakers, experts in the field of wine tourism and some of whom are traveling from across the country to speak.  The 2015 Agenda is being updated, weekly, and we look forward to a valuable conference and one that will provide hard data and takeaways to improve one’s wine and/or tourism business.  We will be announcing the 2015 Keynote Speaker, shortly, too….pssstt….she’s awesome.

Wednesday, November 18TASTING ROOM MANAGEMENT – Pre-Conference Workshop + Thursday, November 19 – GUERILLA MARKETING: NO COST MARKETING STRATEGIES – Breakout Session

Elizabeth Slater

Elizabeth “E” Slater is an accomplished trainer, motivational speaker, marketer writer and teacher. Founder of In Short Direct Marketing, co-founder of the Wine Industry Network, sought after public speaker and seminar leader, she offers trainings and personalized marketing solutions to direct-sales businesses in the wine industry, throughout North America. Her 25+ years in marketing and experience with many wineries both large and small has helped her create a unique and cheerful approach to the most pressing challenges in the wine business.


Gail Thornton

Gail Thornton is Program Director for Southbridge Wine Programs, organizing high-level wine-focused program visits to Chile and other countries in South America. From 2007 to 2012, Gail worked with Wines of Chile (WoC), Chile’s wine industry agency, where she helped launch multiple initiatives including WoC’s Wine Tourism Program, the inaugural Workshop for Wine Tourism in Chile, the 2nd World Carmenere Competition in 2009, the 2010 World’s Best Sommelier Competition in Santiago, and the Annual Wines of Chile Awards.

Wednesday, November 18 -CREATING & GROWING a FOOD, WINE, or BEER TOUR OPERATOR BUSINESS – Pre Conference-Workshop

Jane Gregg

Jane Gregg is the founder and president of Epicurean Ways, which has been offering food tours to Spain since 2008 and now designs custom tours in Portugal and Spain for food and wine travelers. She has spent several years living in Spain and travels frequently to the Iberian peninsula.

Thursday, November 19 – WINE TOURISM IS AG TOURISM – All Group Panel

Kevin Atticks is the founder & CEO of Grow & Fortify, a 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 and currently holds board positions on the Maryland Tourism Council (MTC) and WineAmerica, and is the past president of the Maryland Agriculture Resource Council (MARC).

David King

Thursday, November 19 - WINE TOURISM IS AG TOURISM – All Group Panel

David King is the founder and chairman of King Family Vineyards in Virginia. Winegrape farming since 1999 and producing wine on their estate since 2000, King Family Vineyards is considered one of the more successful wineries in the state both in terms of wine (winners of the Virginia Governor’s Cup for most outstanding wine of 2014) and wine tourism. David is currently Chairman of the Virginia Wine Board, a state advisory and operational board formally appointed by the Governor that advises the Governor and Secretariat on wine matters, and is one of the closest wine industry advisers to Virginia’s secretary of agriculture.


Camron King

Camron King is the Executive Director of theLodi Winegrape Commission, overseeing all of the Commission’s marketing, promotion, strategic planning, and regional branding efforts, as well as grower constituent relations. He is the the primary spokesperson for the Lodi wine industry. In addition to his work at the Commission, Camron serves on the Program Development Committee for the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium, as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Grape and Wine Initiative, and on the Advisory Board of the Wine Tourism Conference.

Thursday, November 19 – IT TAKES A VILLAGE – WORKING TOGETHER TO INCREASE TOURISM – Breakout Session + Friday, November 20 - CUSTOMER SERVICE: HOW TO SET YOUR BRAND APART – Breakout Session

Katy Rogers is Director of Direct-to-Consumer Sales for the South Coast atJackson Family Wines. SKaty Westgaard Rogershe was formerly Director of Direct-to-Consumer for Presqu’ile Winery, helped launch the Byron Winery tasting room and DTC business, worked for Gallo as their Santa Barbara Territory Chain Manager, and managed the DTC business for both Cambria and Byron wineries. Katy has been involved with all aspects of Direct-to-Consumer Sales, including managing a tasting room, growing a successful wine club, increasing social media presence, and building successful teams.


Ron ScharmanRon Scharman is currently the Chief Operating Officer of Chatterbox Wine Marketing Services, Napa-based companies which offer relationship-based wine telesales, visitor reservation and guest management services, and other consumer direct marketing services exclusively for the wine industry.  Previously, for 7 years he was President of eWinery Solutions, a leading provider of complete direct-to-consumer wine ecommerce, POS, and CRM software for wineries and third party wine marketers. Prior to that, he was chief operating officer for New Vine Logistics, a Napa based direct-to-consumer wine fulfillment company, and served as Chief Executive Officer of the Morrell Wine Group in New York, as well as holding major COO and CEO positions with several national specialty retail chains in the cosmetics and fragrance, home decorating, and fashion industries.