2013 Speakers

We are in the process of finalizing speakers and will be adding names below as we do. You can also look at our list of 2012 WTC Speakers and 2011 WTC Speakers to get a feel for the quality of speakers at the Wine Tourism Confernece

2013 WTC Speakers

Don Bourassa is the Community Director for Yelp.com in the Portland/Vancouver metroplex. Yelp, with over 100 million monthly visitors and 39 million local reviews, is a key player in the world of online consumer ratings. With a glass in one hand and a laptop in the other, Don can usually be spotted deep in the urban core of Portland reviewing bars, restaurants, shopping, or any other business that crosses his path – including wineries.

Michele Boyer is the owner of M&B Concepts, a consultancy working in the area of Direct to Consumer sales in the wine industry. Michele has experience in direct to consumer strategies, customer loyalty programs, wine communications, and social media and combines it all to work with wineries one-on-one to connect their brand with their consumers. Michele previously worked with Canyon Ranch in Arizona, James Beard award-winning chef Janos Wilder, and Domaine Serene.

Michael Kelly Brown is Director of Consumer Sales and Marketing at Sokol Blosser winery, one of the premier wine tourism destinations in Oregon. Michael will be presenting at our pre-conference workshop “Tasting Room Marketing – Increasing Visitation and Improving Sales”.

John Cooper is President & CEO of the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau. A 20-year veteran of the tourism industry, John was previously head of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism, the Southern Oregon Visitors Association, and the Corvallis Oregon Convention and Visitors Bureau. He was awarded Washington State Tourism Professional of the Year in 2003 and Executive of the Year by the Washington Society of Association Executives in 2001.

Thea Dwelle is by day a software developer and by night a wine blogger at Luscious Lushes, one of the more veteran wine blogs. A six-time Wine Bloggers Conference attendee, she is on the advisory board for the WBC, and travels around the world to speak about topics of wine and technology. Thea is also co-founder and chairperson of the Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship Fund, which helps worthy bloggers attend the WBC.  Thea will be speaking on one of her favorite topics, “Who are Wine Bloggers and How Can You Work With Them?”

Andy Hayes is a Creative Web Producer who runs his own company helping clients keep their websites fresh and engaging. Based in Portland, Oregon, Andy frequently gives workshops and speaks at various conferences around the country. We saw him at New Media Expo (previously called Blog World) and can vouch for his excellence. Andy will present a session on Live Website Critiques at the Wine Tourism Conference.

Andrew Healy is the founder and “Chief Social Officer” of 3 rock marketing, a Napa Valley based marketing company that specializes in Social Media & Online Presence. Andrew and his team work with clients in the wine & hospitality industries, the non-profit sector, public figures, and representative bodies. Clients include Visit Napa Valley, The Napa Valley Vintners, Great Wine Capitals Global Network, Wine Market Council, Melka Wines and many more.

Dixie Huey is founder and proprietor of Trellis Growth Partners, which offers marketing strategy and communications solutions for the wine, spirits, food, and hospitality industries. Dixie recently completed a comprehensive sales and marketing survey of wineries and will be presenting the results as part of her presentation of our pre-conference workshop on “Tasting Room Marketing – Increasing Visitation and Improving Sales”.

Andrew Kamphuis is president of Vin65, a website development and e-commerce provider for the wine industry. Andrew has been an expert on how the industry works since 1993 when he created and marketed a book titled “How the Internet Works” which he sold to help him pay his way through university. Andrew through his company helps wineries sell more wine online.

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

Laura Mandala is the head of Mandala Research, one of the leading travel and tourism research firms in the world. Appointed by U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary to serve on the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, Laura has also conducted national studies for resorts, hotels, shopping malls, and destinations. She was previously Vice President of Research for the U.S. Travel Association, where she conducted the only national survey in the US of wine tourism.

Byron Marlowe is Senior Instructor and Hospitality and Tourism Management Program Coordinator at Southern Oregon University, where he moderates the Hospitality & Tourism Management in addition to teaching, writing, and researching. Before that Byron spent several years teaching hospitality management at two culinary schools in Arizona. Byron is conducting an extensive survey of Oregon winery tasting rooms and will present the results during the conference.

Cindy Molchany is the Online Community & Social Media Marketing Manager for Zephyr Adventures‘ conferences, including the wine, food, beer, and fitness blogger conferences in addition to the Wine Tourism Conference. In her role, Cindy maintains the Complete List of Wine Blogs and oversaw the Complete State of Wine Blogging survey, results of which will be presented at the conference. Cindy has extensive experience in wine industry marketing and social media via her past employment and consulting.

Linda Murphy is co-author, with Jancis Robinson MW, of “American Wine: The Ultimate Companion to the Wines and Wineries of the United States.” A former San Diego Union newspaper sportswriter, Linda moved to Sonoma County in 1990 and embarked on a career in wine. After eight years as a cellar worker and winery communications director, she re-entered the journalism field, first as managing editor of The New York Times’ wine website (WineToday.com), then as the first wine section editor of The San Francisco Chronicle, where she won two James Beard Awards.

Sara Teeter is Executive Director of the Calaveras Winegrape Alliance in California’s historic Sierra Foothills region, where she is responsible for membership promotion, event planning, media, and local outreach. Sara was previously the Director of Hospitality at Ridge Vineyards and currently owns and operates La Folia Winery with her husband.

Paul Wilke is the founder of Upright Position Communications, a strategic communications firm with an emphasis in the travel and tourism industry. Paul was previously head of public relations for Splunk, where he led communications around one of 2012’s most successful IPOs, and before that manager of global public relations at Visa Inc. with a focus on the company’s travel and tourism business. While at Visa, Paul founded Visa’s inaugural International Tourism Conference at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games and sat on the US Department of Commerce’s Travel and Tourism Advisory Board.