If you are considering attending in 2019, we have included the full, 2-day program from 2018 below. The 2019 program will be posted here in fall 2018

Keynote Speakers


CEO Roundtable: Driving Through Fire, Frost and Competition Toward Success

Sudden challenges to our business arise via natural disasters like the October fires in Sonoma and Napa or early frosts in France. Additionally, exponential competition in the DTC marketplace for tourism dollars has affected individual tasting room traffic. We’ve asked a panel of tourism and winery chiefs to open up about agile problem solving for short and long term success via marketing, branding and segmentation. The panelists include Steve Tamburelli, CEO, Clos du Val Winery; Nate Belden, Chief Proprietor, Belden Barns Farmstead & Winery; Claudia Vecchio, CEO, Sonoma County Tourism; Clay Gregory, CEO, Visit Napa Valley and will be moderated by Barbara Gorder, President, Undisclosed Location.

Applications of Mixed Reality, Artificial Intelligence, and the Internet of Things for the Wine Business

Philip van Allen is a professor at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Phil will shed light on what technology and design research tells us about the current state of Immersive Media, including artificial intelligence and virtual reality.  What is possible? How fast is it coming to businesses? How do you deploy these new technologies? He will touch on how VR/AI  could deliver new possibilities for wine marketing and staff training, as well as consumer education and hospitality.

State of the States: A Legislative Update on DTC Legislation

Steve Gross, Vice President, State Relations for Wine Institute will present the “state of the states” legislative update. Steve’s presentation, a perennial favorite, will highlight recent wins, areas of concern, future priorities, and implications for winery compliance in 2018.

First Peek: 2017 DTC Shipping Data

Larry Cormier, General Manager, ShipCompliant by Sovos, will share highlights from 2017 and how to use the 2017 data to increase your DTC sales prior to the widely-anticipated release of Sovos and Wines & Vines’ 2018 Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Report. Which states are buying the most wine? What varietals, regions and price points saw growth in 2017? Join us to get a sneak peek of the 2017 highlights.

Grapes to Grass: How Will Wine and Cannabis Work Together?

This panel discussion will address how new cannabis regulations will affect commerce. What is the potential for future winery partnership as well as competition for market share? What are the similarities to wine marketing, hospitality and consumer trends?  Brian Baker, VP Sales & Marketing, Chateau Montelena, will moderate this panel including Scott Zeramby, consultant to regulators and product manufacturers as well as CEO & Director, Mendocino Agricultural Products; and Omar Figueroa, a pioneering cannabis lawyer in  California’s cannabis industry.



Workshop Sessions


Implementing Customization in Wine Clubs

You’ve heard it again and again… customizable wine clubs bring increased revenues and member retention, are a great sales tool, and so on. But how are people doing this and is it for you? In addition to discussing forecasting challenges and fulfillment options, this session will explore creative ideas to make customization within your club shipments a reality.

Intended Audience: DTC/Wine Club managers looking for ways to add value and update the traditional wine club model; Managers who are looking for ways to manage and enhance customization workflows.

ModeratorChloe Tyer, Huneeus Vintners

Panelists: Jeff Stai, Twisted Oak; Jess Zander, Fidelitas; Cheryl Riedel, Rombauer

Reading Between the Digital Lines: Tips & Tricks for Facebook and Instagram Ad Strategy

Social media not only provides a digital platform to support and tell a brand’s story, but it also provides new ways of advertising and targeting a brand’s consumers. In this workshop, our panel of experts will discuss case studies that use the free and powerful tools available to everyone: Facebook and Instagram. Participants will gain a better understanding of how to utilize some of the more advanced social media tools help achieve their wineries objectives, some of which may include: increasing brand awareness, driving online sales and increasing traffic to tasting rooms.

Intended Audience: Social Media Marketers, Marketing Directors and DTC Managers looking to learn about advanced digital marketing strategy.

Moderator: Kamyn Asher, Benson Marketing Group

Panelists: Louis Calli, Partner, Echo DTC; Susan DeMatei, Owner, Wine Glass Marketing; Carin Oliver, Chief Innovation Officer and Co-Owner, Angelsmith


The 360 Degree Customer View: Leveraging Customer Touchpoint Data to Deliver Exceptional Customer Service, sponsored by Thanx

Wine consumers want more high-touch experiences and meaningful interactions between visits. Learn how winery managers are collecting, managing and using data to build 360-degree customer views and campaigns that support both front-of-house and behind-the-scenes administrative teams.

Intended Audience: DTC Sales Managers looking for practical ways to capture and utilize sales and customer data.

Moderator: Sandra Hess, Founder, DTC Wine Workshops Consulting Agency

PanelistsDavid Crum, DTC Manager, Duckhorn Wine Company; Matt Wood, General Manager, Elizabeth Spencer; John Curnutt, Revenue & Systems Specialist, Chateau Montelena

Staying Legal with Social Media

As social media channels become more important to DTC communications, how do you keep your social media program both effective and legal? If you re-tweet a post from a retailer or restaurant, is that considered a “thing of value” by alcohol regulators? Can you promote winemaker dinners on Facebook? What about event promotion? This session will explore legal questions, outline restrictions, and recommend guidelines to help you and your team stay legal.

Intended Audience: Social media managers, marketing managers who need to understand regulatory constraints.

SpeakerTracy Genesen, Vice President and General Counsel, Wine Institute

Winery Mystery Shopping Unwrapped, sponsored by WISE

A behind-the-scenes peek at Mystery Shopping. This session will offer a candid dialog among real life mystery shoppers and wineries who have hired secret shoppers. Gain first-hand experience on why they are hired, how they score, and how to optimize an engagement to train staff to sell more wine, convert wine club sales and better connect with guests. Have you considered leveraging mystery shopping? If you are trying to decide, or have used these services and want to get the most out of the feedback, this is the discussion for you.

Intended Audience: Tasting Room and DTC Managers from wineries of all sizes.

ModeratorLaura Larson, Founder, Virtual Vines DTC Sales & Marketing Consulting

Panelists: Alice Hunter, DTC Manager, Miramar Estate; Vanessa Sternick, Director of Client Services, VingDirect; Jennifer Warrington, “The Glue,” WISE Academy

Does Your Tour & Tasting Program Compete in the Experience Economy

The “Experience Economy” is the emerging trend of consumers increasing spending on “experiences” instead of “things”.   This change in consumer behavior has direct application to the in-person winery customer experience and ultimately your bottom line (DTC sales).  In this session, attendees will learn how to use data and a “checklist” to plan their tour’s logistics; how to design their customer experience- from online to in-person; how to use Search Engine Marketing and Media Relations to market the tour and differentiate it from the competition; and finally how to use this opportunity to increase wine club sign-ups and online sales.

Intended Audience: Marketing Managers, Tasting Room Managers, GMs and Owners of small-to-medium sized independent or family wineries.

Speaker: Dave Moser, Vice President, Direct to Consumer, Terravant Wine Company

Home Sweet Homepage: Optimizing Your Website to Achieve Results, Sponsored by Premier Cellar Email Marketing Agency

Often, the website is the first controlled interaction a potential customer will have with your winery. Consider it your virtual tasting room – how do you curate your content and lead them through their journey? This panel will discuss how different tactics on the web can help you achieve your goals. Whether it be higher online sales, more visitation or greater brand exposure,  these experts will lean in and share advice to get you on the right path.

Intended Audience: DTC Managers interested in learning more about web operations; Digital/e-commerce managers seeking updated best practices.

Moderator: Amelia Nanez, Hahn Family Wines

Panelists: Taylor Eason, Cork & Fork Digital Media; Martial Chaput, President, Newtimer Marketing



Sponsor Sessions


DTC Successes and the Data Driven Strategies Behind Them, Presented by WISE

WISE will present a panel of three winery leaders (from a small, family-run winery to larger, multi-winery company and investor backed winery portfolio) who will share lessons learned and tools used to move the needle in this increasingly competitive space. Success in DTC is a mixture of art and science. Learn how these DTC leaders have used various forms of data to drive their DTC strategy – from bottom up budgeting to designing better guest experiences, to driving more customer satisfaction, to making effective staffing and incentive compensation decisions.

Moderator: Lesley Berglund, co-founder and chairman, WISE


  • Mary Grace, Vice President Sales and Marketing, Far Niente
  • Emily Harrison, Vice President of Direct Relationships, HALL/WALT
  • Devin Joshua, Judd’s Hill Winery, General Manager

Intended Audience: all DTC channels will benefit from this session.

How to Survive in the New Retail Age, Presented by WineDirect

2017 was the year of retail’s existential reckoning, with 9,400 traditional retail stores being shuttered this year alone. Add to that Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, which shows that they are fully committed to competing not only in ecommerce but also in traditional brick and mortar retail.  It is clear that Amazon’s willingness to provide a solid consumer experience with little or no margin is a critical threat to any kind of business with a retail presence, including wineries. For years we’ve been talking about the huge challenge wineries face in keeping up with rapidly rising consumer expectations, and it is clear that businesses that fail to meet these expectations must adapt or cease to exist. The good news is that simultaneously, more and more consumers are eschewing big box stores in favor of more personalized, authentic experiences. The rise of digitally native brands like Warby Parker, Everlane and Bonobos are evidence of this. Somewhat paradoxically, these digitally native brands are using what they have learned selling online to open and improve on traditional brick and mortar by redefining why a physical store exists. And, unlike other areas where we hear the constant lament that the wine industry “is ten years behind,” in this area many wineries lead the pack by creating “brand experiences” with their tasting rooms. In this session we’ll share insights on how your business can prepare for these monumental shifts in online and traditional retail sales and be optimally positioned for growth.

Speaker:  Jim Agger, VP of Marketing & Business Development, WineDirect

Sell Compliantly, Sell Successfully, Presented by ShipCompliant by Sovos

Succeeding as a DtC seller begins with a firm grasp of the compliance rules that underpin the DtC market. Compliance can be hard, but when you understand the landscape, you can better set up your markets, train your staff and be prepared to handle customer questions. Join Sovos’ regulatory expert as he delves into the regulatory environment, explaining what rules exist, how they affect your business, and how you too can sound like an expert the next time a customer asks why they can’t ship wine to their home in Utah.

Speaker:  Alex Koral, Industry Outreach Advisor, ShipCompliant by Sovos

Winning Social Marketing Strategies & Tactics for Driving Sales, Presented by Astra Digital Marketing Services

In a changing digital landscape you can’t be reactionary, you must be pushing the limits. This session covers the changing environment of the wine industry and focuses on the best techniques to achieve success in the DTC channel leveraging important social media platforms.  Key takeaways will include ways you can improve results leveraging data hygiene, Facebook advertising and conversion & statistical tracking. 

Speakers: Ron Scharman, CEO; Ryan Neergaard, Director of Business Development & Social Media, Astra Digital Marketing Services

Intended Audience: Marketers, tasting room managers, CEOs, VPs, DTC managers, and Industry professionals

Winery Reservations Management, Metrics & Money, Presented by eCellar

More wineries today are implementing reservations in their DTC efforts to help increase meaningful traffic into their tasting room, reduce costs and boost profits. This panel of established wine brands will discuss their logic and workflow surrounding their winery’s reservation system, CRM-related Recency-Frequency-Monetary (RFM) metrics that guide their inbound/outreach decisioning, and pitfalls that may come from restricting visits to reservation only.

Speakers: Tracy McArdle, General Manager, Jessup Cellars, Handwritten & Humanities; Neil Bason, General Manager, Gooscross Cellars; Malanie Anderson, Director of Hospitality, Turley Wine Cellars. Moderator: Paul Thiennes, CEO, eCellar

Next-Level Email Marketing, Presented by Premier Cellar Email Marketing Agency

Savvy wine consumers rely on email to get information about wine, culture and events that surround winery businesses. The cost-effective nature of email marketing can devalue the effort wineries put into proper communication strategies. In this invaluable and entertaining session, winery marketers and decision-makers will learn how to apply winning strategies from other industries to their email programs to achieve next-level results. From implementing an email onboarding program that replicates the tasting room experience to building a 100-point email campaign, this session will empower attendees with information and tools to master the foundations, increase ongoing engagement and ultimately grow DTC Sales.

SpeakersRyan Phelan, VP of Marketing, Adestra MessageFocus; Erica Walter, Vice President, Premier Cellar Email Marketing Agency; Corben Ketelsen, Technical Director, Premier Cellar Email Marketing Agency

Export Wine to International Consumers with Ease, Presented by FedEx

To help expand DTC sales, more wineries are looking to expand DTC business to international markets to generate new revenue streams.  Believe it or not, international wine export DTC is less complicated than you may think and has less requirements than domestic shipping.  This Session will explore international wine markets, tools and resources to help facilitate your international wine export program. Edward Benedict, Sr. International Sales Executive specialized in wine industry, will be presenting export information that could potentially help your company create an international wine club!  Don’t miss the chance to learn about these potential new markets and new revenue opportunities. 

Speaker: Edward Benedict, Sr. International Sales Executive, FedEx


Town Halls


Hospitality, Tasting Room & Events

Moderator (January 17th): Brian Baker, Chateau Montelena

Moderators (January 18th): Vicky Farrow, Proprietor Amista Vineyards; Robert Rainwater, DTC Sales & Marketing Manager, Amista Vineyards

Membership, Phone Sales & eCommerce

Moderator (January 17th & 18th): Tammy Boatright, VingDirect