Below are just some of the speakers at the 2017 Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference. We will put out a Call for Content & Speakers in February and starting listing our 2018 speakers in March.
Michelle Baran | Wine Country – It’s Not Just About Wine Anymore
Michelle is Senior Editor at Travel Weekly, one of the most influential B2B news resources for the travel industry. Before her ten years at Travel Weekly, Michelle wrote for Budget Travel and Conde Nast Next Gen. Michelle wrote an excellent article on Beer Tourism and will be providing her insights to the conference audience.
Jeremy Benson | The PR Expert’s View of the Wine World
Jeremy founded Benson Marketing Group in 1997 and directs client strategy and creative development. Prior to starting Benson Marketing Group, he was brand manager and export sales manager at Franciscan Estates and marketing director for the Napa Valley Vintners Association. He has managed PR campaigns for LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton brands including Domaine Chandon, Moet & Chandon, Hennessy Cognac, and Tanqueray.
Caroline Beteta | Keynote
Caroline is president and CEO of Visit California, a nonprofit organization created to market California as a premier travel destination. She simultaneously serves as the Director of Tourism in California’s Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development (GO-Biz). Beteta is responsible for implementing Visit California’s $116 million global marketing program and serves as the lead spokesperson for California’s $125.7 billion travel industry.
Tammy Boatright | Perfecting the Guest Experience
Tammy is president at VingDirect, which provides tasting room management and sales tools to family wineries. 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.
David Bratton | What We Know About Wine Tourism
Dave is Founder and Managing Director of Destination Analysts, which recently conducted research on the California wine tourist for the Wine Institute. Dave previously spent eight years pioneering new tourism research techniques and e-marketing promotions for the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau as director of electronic marketing and research. He has been named as one of HSMAI’s 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing.
Stephen Brauer | Big Names in Winery Marketing
Stephen is President and CEO of LDV Associates, a drinks industry consultancy, where he uses his incredible breadth of experience in the wine industry. Before that, Stephen was President & CEO of Pasternak Wine Imports, Managing Director for the Americas of Treasury Wine Estates, Managing Director of Champagnes and Wines for Pernod Ricard, Chief Marketing Officer for Beam Wine Estates, and SVP for Marketing at Seagram Chateau & Estates.
Mike Cann | Experiential Travel In A Digital World
Mike is founder and chief executive officer at Wine Country Media, an online media company which runs the platforms winecountry.com, napavalley.com, and sonoma.com. These websites provide visitors to wine country with critical information about accommodations, food, and services in addition to wine. Mike is also a founder and partner of KEMA Partners, a boutique investment banking firm headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Amelia Morán Ceja | Big Names in Winery Marketing
Amelia is President of Ceja Vineyards, twice named “Best Boutique Winery in Napa & Sonoma” by Best of Napa and Sonoma Valleys Magazine. She has been recognized by the state legislature as California’s “Woman of the Year”, as Business Woman of the Year by the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and as the “most outstanding female leader, innovator and visionary in the wine field in the North Bay” by North Bay Business Journal.
Chris Chandler | Wine Country – It’s Not Just About Wine Anymore
Chris is Executive Director of Livermore Valley Wine, an organization dedicated to advance, protect and promote the quality wines, vineyards and experiences of the Livermore Valley Wine Country. Among its many activities, Livermore Valley Wine recently launched a Barrels, Bottles, & Brews event which actively sought both to engage local breweries and distilleries but also to introduce beer and spirits consumers to member wineries. Chris will be discussing this at the conference.
Mark Chandler | The PR Expert’s View of the Wine World
Mike is a 30 year veteran of the wine business, having been a winemaker, grape grower, marketer, educator and CEO. He is most well known for his 20 years at the helm of the Lodi Winegrape Commission, where he transformed the Lodi wine region into one the most vibrant, innovative and rapidly growing wine appellations in North America. At Chandler & Company Mark applies his decades of experience to marketing and promoting wine and wine regions, and he is a widely popular wine educator.
Kimberly Charles | The PR Expert’s View of the Wine World
Kimberly is founder of Charles Communications, which specializes in strategic branding and corporate social responsibility with a focus on launching, reinvigorating, and repositioning brands. She began her career in New York at the premium wine importing company Kobrand Corporation, was Director of Communications for E. & J. Gallo Winery, and served as Senior Vice President of Magnet Communications in San Francisco where she focused on the wine industry.
Beth Costa | Winery Associations and DMOs Summit
Beth is Executive Director of Wine Road Northern Sonoma County, which she has led for 17 years. Beth oversees the organization’s efforts to market the region to visitors from around the world, including via its well-known annual events. Prior to her role with Wine Road, Beth was Tasting Room Manager at Kendall Jackson Wine Estates.
Mark Elcombe | Tasting Room Management
Mark is Hospitality Manager at Sonoma-Cutrer based in Sonoma County. Before his time at Sonoma Cutrer, Mark also worked at Wilson Winery and St. Francis Winery. He is a regular judge at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and guest lectures at Santa Rosa Junior College for the Professional Wine Judging class.
Bill Farmer | Tasting Room Management
Bill is Tasting Room Manager at Raymond Vineyards in Napa Valley, where he has worked for seven years. Bill has worked closely with owner Jean-Charles Boisset in creating a myriad of experiences for visitors, culminating with Raymond being awarded Wine Enthusiast’s 2012 American Winery of the Year. In a prior life Bill was a consultant in Asset Management with clients ranging from JoAnn Fabrics and K-Mart to Tower Records.
Tim Hanni, MW | Rethinking the Wine Consumer
Tim is an internationally renowned ‘flavor maven’ and dubbed the ‘wine anti-snob’ by the Wall Street Journal. A professionally-trained chef, he is one of the first two resident Americans to successfully complete the examination and earn the title Master of Wine. He is a Certified Wine Educator accredited by the Society of Wine Educators. MyVinotype assesses individual taste sensitivities and tolerances, then introduces consumers to wines that will appeal to their unique, personal combination of sensitivities and values.
Andrew Healy | Getting Visual on Social Media
Andrew is the founder and “Chief Social Officer” of 3 Rock Marketing, a Napa Valley-based company that specializes in social media and online presence. Andrew is a native Irishman who has lived in five countries and traveled the world. 3 Rock Marketing offers services primarily to the wine industry but also to businesses in craft beer, travel, food, and events.
Sandra Hess | Tasting Room Management
Sandra is the founder of DTC Wine Workshops, which supports wineries of all sizes in the areas of e-commerce, CRM, DTC Strategic Planning, and Training Services to grow direct to consumer wine sales and retain loyal customers. Prior to joining the wine industry, Sandra served small to mid-sized businesses as well as global corporations in the areas of CRM software, website design, online marketing, public relations, compliance management and workflow automation solutions.
Stacie Jacob | The PR Expert’s View of the Wine World
Stacie is the Founder and Chief Strategist of Solterra Strategies. Her experience includes work at global public relations agency Fleishman-Hillard, the first-ever public relations director for the Washington Wine Commission, a seven-year tenure as Executive Director of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, and Chief Executive Officer of Visit San Luis Obispo County.
LisaMarie Kennedy | Maximizing Tasting Room Sales
Lisamarie is Hospitality and Events Manager at MacRostie Winery & Vineyards. She previously worked as a Buyer and Merchandiser in the tasting room at Hop Kiln Winery and as Public Relations and Marketing Director at Per Sempre Winery. Lisamarie also has merchandising experience at The Gap and Macy’s.
Karissa Kruse | Winery Associations & DMO Summit
Karissa is President of the Sonoma County Winegrowers, a marketing and educational organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier grape growing regions. She has 20 years of experience in various aspects of marketing, brand management, strategic planning and business development. Karissa has worked for companies such as General Mills, Universal Studios, Mattel, and Dairy Management.
Carole Lawson | Craft Wine
Carole is CEO/Founder of the Craft Wine Association, created as a platform to raise the awareness of the Craft Wine industry. The association awards the designation of Certified Craft Wine to wineries which have made a commitment to small-run, winemaker-directed wines. Previously, Carole was Chief Information Officer, California Public Utilities Commission, and Director of eServices for the State of California, where she directed the state’s web presence, winning Center for Digital Government’s “Best of the Web” for the CA.gov primary site.
Susanna Marin | Tasting Room Management
Susanna is Estate Winery & Tasting Room Manager at Wente Vineyards. She started with Wente in 1999 when was responsible for creating customized wine and gift orders, managing group tour logistics and later became a front-line member of the hospitality team. Today, Susanna manages the Estate Tasting room along with the diverse club and wine tasting experiences including The Winemakers Studio, the Nth Degree Club Lounge and events held on property.
Lisa Mattson | Practical Photography & Videography
Lisa is Director of Marketing & Communications and Jordan Vineyard & Winery. She possesses nearly twenty years of experience in writing, event planning, public relations, marketing and digital media strategy in the wine industry. She is particularly noted as a leader in social media and video marketing and will be teaching a workshop on Practical Photography & Videography.
Alf Nucifora | Marketing to the Luxury Consumer
Alf is the Chairman and Founder of The Luxury Marketing Council of San Francisco. He is considered one of America’s leading marketing consultants, having retired from the responsibilities as Chairman of the Southeast office of a $310 million advertising agency in 1990. A native of Brisbane, Australia, Alf entered the advertising and marketing business on the corporate side working for two Fortune 500 companies, first in Australia and then in the United States.
Cyril Penn | Maximizing Tasting Room Sales
Cyril is Editor in Chief of Wine Communications Group, which includes WineBusiness.com. He began his career as a journalist in New York at Reuters in 1987. Cyril joined Wine Communications Group in September 1998 as editor of Wine Business Insider, and in January 2000 he was named editor in chief of Wine Business Monthly.
Ron Scharman | Astra Digital Marketing
Ron is the founder and CEO of Astra Digital Marketing, which provides social media marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing, and content creation services specifically for the wine industry. Ron was previously COO of Chatterbox Wine Marketing and VinoVisit.com as well as President and COO of eWinerySolutions. He continues to be an instructor at Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute, where he teaches courses in Wine eCommerce and Direct to Consumer Marketing.
Jean Arnold Sessions | Winery Associations & DMO Summit
Jean is Executive Director of Sonoma County Vintners, for more than 70 years the leading voice of Sonoma County Wine. Jean has served as the former president of Hanzell Vineyards in Sonoma, a consultant to the wine industry, and creator of Women in the Business of Wine, a mentoring service for women in the wine industry.
Elizabeth Slater | Keep Customers Coming Back
Elizabeth is the founder of In Short Direct Marketing, recognized throughout North America as an authority on marketing wines, wineries and wine regions to consumers. The company, led by Elizabeth, is a loosely-formed alliance of marketers, public relations and design professionals. Elizabeth focuses most of her efforts on seminars and workshops, which are presented on a variety of marketing and sales subjects to wineries and winery associations throughout North America.
Dr. Liz Thach, MW | Best Practices in Global Wine Tourism
Liz is the Distinguished Professor of Wine and a Professor of Management at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California. Her areas of expertise include Wine Business Strategy, Human Resource Management, and Leadership Development. In addition to teaching, she currently conducts research and does consulting with multiple wineries and other local businesses. Prior to coming to SSU, she worked more than 10 years as an HR manager and executive in Fortune 100 companies.
Douglas Thornley | Maximizing Tasting Room Sales Through the Visitor Experience
Douglas is Principal at Gould Evans, a San Francisco architecture firm. He has a variety of specialties which includes designing winery tasting rooms. Douglas has 28 years as an architect including 23 as Principal of a firm.
Paul Wagner | Big Names in Winery Marketing
Paul is president of Balzac Communications & Marketing and is also an instructor for Napa Valley College’s Viticulture and Enology department, Sonoma State’s Wine Business Program, and the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. With Rick Kushman of Capital Public Radio, he hosts “Bottle Talk”, a weekly conversation about wine. Paul Wagner has judged many national and international wine competitions, is a founding member of the Academy of Wine Communications, a member of the nominations committee of the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintner’s Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Spadarini della Castellania di Soave in 2005. In 2009 he was honored with a “Life Dedicated to Wine” award at the Feria Nacional del Vino (FENAVIN) in Spain. With Liz Thach and Janeen Olsen, he authored: Wine Marketing & Sales, Strategies for a Saturated Market.
Judd Wallenbrock | Big Names in Winery Marketing
Juddy is President & CEO of C. Mondavi & Family, which operates the brands Charles Krug Winery, CK Mondavi and Family, Purple Heart and Divining Rod. Judd has more than 35 years of experience in the wine industry with well-known brands including De Loach Vineyards, Jessup Cellars, Michel-Schlumberger, and Robert Mondavi. As founder of Brand-Aid Wine Consulting, Judd played a strategic role in the evolution of popular brands such as Chalk Hill Winery, Roshambo and Signorello Estate.
Dr. Damien Wilson | Maximizing Tasting Room Sales
Damien is Hamel Family Chair of Wine Business Education at Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute. He has 20 years of international wine industry experience in Australia, France, and the U.S. and is former Director of Wine Business programs at Burgundy School of Business in Dijon, France.
Tim Zahner | Winery Associations & DMO Summit
Tim is Interim CEO of Sonoma County Tourism, the agency that promotes Sonoma County – and its more than 425 wineries – to the world. He previously worked for 11 years as chief marketing officer and also has experience as Public Relations Media Manager for San Francisco Travel.