The 2017 DTC Wine Symposium program was divided into three categories:

1. Workshop Topics: Case studies, useful facts and figures, and ideas you can implement tomorrow. See the Schedule for Day 1 and 2 times.

2. Keynote Speakers: Blue ocean marketing inspiration. The first look at 2016 DTC data. The “state of the states” legislative update. Day 2 morning.

3. Sponsor Sessions: Sponsor-directed presentation of best practices, case studies and implications for winery success. Day 1 and 2.


Workshop Topics

Leveraging Metrics: What, Where, When and How?

How can you leverage data for success? This session explores best practices for how and when to collect, analyze and use this information for sales, marketing, club retention, business development, forecasting and more.  You will learn how to plan and implement data collection strategies, and how to translate these strategies into actionable intelligence.

Moderator: Damien WIlson, Hamel Family Chair – Wine Business, Sonoma State University

Panelists: Christian Mullen, General Manager of Chatterbox Wine Marketing; Tammy Boatright, President of VingDIRECT; Clark Terry, Marketing Director of Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant; Mike Bellaran, Finance & Accounting Manager for Gary Farrell Winery.

Audience: DTC Managers (tasting room, club, ecommerce) for small-large sized independently operated wineries; owners or senior-level executives looking to analyze current performance and benchmark operations and growth.

Thank you to ACH Works for sponsoring this session.

Creating the DTC Dream Team – and Keeping Them!

Are you fostering longevity and retention to avoid the pitfalls of turnover? Are you teaching skills and inspiring a ‘strategic mind’ within your team?   Gain insight how to select successful candidates, develop a succession plan, keep key players in place, and manage through turnover.

Moderator: Meghan Ainsworth, Operations Manager at MissingLink Networks

Panelists: Aniysa Fritz, Proprietor of Lynmar Estate; Osmar Rivera, Human Resources Manager for Sonoma-Cutrer; Richard Richardson, CEO & General Manager of Turley Wine Cellars

Audience: Wine Club and Tasting Room Managers that supervise multiple tiers of employees; owners or general managers who oversee human resources

Thank you to WISE Academy for sponsoring this session.

Reservations Revealed: An Investigative Discussion?

Our panel will put on their detective hats and discuss the hot topic of reservation programs. Which work well? How do you integrate one into your consumer experience? How do you ensure information is secure? We will discuss case studies from both established reservation programs and hybrid appointment models.  

Moderator:  Laila Subaie, DTC Business Development & Memberships Manager at Miner Family Winery

Panelists: Meg Barkley, Director of Hospitality at Clif Family Winery; Sandra Hess, Founder of DTC Wine Workshops; Jenny Childers, Director of Sales & Marketing at Sullivan Family Vineyards

Audience: Tasting room managers that deal with visitor appointment requirements; club managers from wineries with tasting rooms; owners or general managers from small, off-the-beat-path wineries.

Private Client Sales – The Art of White Glove Customer Service

Customer service is the new marketing. Whether it’s as broad as a tailored phone campaign or as exclusive as having a dedicated winery representative, how do wineries of all sizes execute against this  lucrative opportunity? Hear from pros both inside and outside the wine industry for actionable tips to make this important  process part of your everyday routine.

Moderator: Dodds Delzell

Panelists: Jonathan Henson of Blackbird Vineyards; Chris O’Connell, Allocations Manager for Repris Wines & Pangloss Cellars; Dave Dobrow, VP of Business Development at Copper Peak Logistics

Audience: Tasting room managers; wine club managers from wineries with physical tasting room locations; marketing managers, general managers and owners from wineries that participate in in-person events; DTC managers from wineries leveraging phone sales

Thank you to Premier Cellar for sponsoring this session.

Enhancing Your Digital Marketing Efforts

Learn about basic (and some free!) tools to help grow your online presence and professionalism, scalable to your digital comfort level and resources. Find out what SEO and SEM stand for, why (and which) response rates are important, what Google analytics and AdWords are, and how these tools and others can help you efficiently expand your digital landscape.

Moderator: Ingrid Cheng, Digital & Consumer Relations Manager at Rombauer Vineyards

Panelists: Chris Denny, Founder & President of The Engine is Red; Emily Harrison, Director of Marketing for HALL & WALT Wines; Ron Scharman, CEO of Astra Digital Marketing

Audience: DTC managers from small wineries that control multiple sales channels; ecommerce managers from mid-large sized wineries seeking operational baselines; owners and general managers from small wineries that do not currently participate in web sales or have minimal web presence.

Thank you to Black Square for sponsoring this session.

DTC Beyond California: What’s Happening with the “Other 10%”

Take a deep dive into the DTC universe outside California. Learn how wineries like yours are solving regulatory, legal and marketing challenges. Some of the issues are the same in CA; some are not. In either case, we can share ideas on navigating the ever-changing regulatory landscape, establishing and maintaining your customer base online, measuring the ROI of a newly-opened DTC state.

Moderator: Michael Kaiser, Director of Public Affairs, WineAmerica

Panelists: Meaghan Frank, Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery; Frederik Osterberg,Co-president/Founder of Pendernales Winery; Jana McKamey, Director of Government Affairs and Member Relations of Oregon Winegrowers Association


Keynote Speakers

Global Wine Trends and DTC Marketing Implications

Lulie Halstead, chief executive officer of London-based Wine Intelligence Ltd, will return to the DTCWS podium after her stellar 2014 keynote, one of the highest-rated presentations in the summit’s 10-year history. Lulie, regarded as a leading thinker in wine business strategy, will interpret global consumer trends and how they might impact DTC sales and marketing in the U.S.

Applying Digital Marketing Innovations via Social Video

Drew Huening, Director of Strategy, Planning & Optimization for one of the largest ad holding companies. The most effective marketing leverages both right-brained and left-brained thinking. The latest innovations in digital marketing and social video are no exception. For the right brain: live-streaming is super-charging the creative content and delivery of video. Evolve your video strategy to keep your customers engaged and excited with the latest tactics. For the left brain: big tech players like Google, Amazon, and Facebook are revolutionizing the way businesses recruit and analyze customers. Learn how those analytics are changing the digital landscape and pick up practical applications of free or low-cost tools.

State of the States: A Legislative Update on DTC Legislation

Steve Gross, Vice President, State Relations for Wine Institute, will present his annual “state of the states” keynote. Steve’s presentation, a perennial favorite, will be especially relevant in light of significant wins this year in Pennsylvania and Arizona, as well as anticipated changes that may affect shipment regulations in 2017.

First Peek: 2016 DTC Shipping Data

Kent Nowlin, General Manager, Sovos ShipCompliant will give a sneak peek prior to the widely-anticipated release of Sovos’ 2017 Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Report. What states are growing fastest? What price points and varietals are up, or down? How will this affect your winery?


Town Hall Interactive Discussions

Town Hall Meeting: Hospitality

Join this group discussion on best practices for your hospitality program, including tasting room and events, to enhance the customer experience and meet sales and signup goals. Whether you have a reservation-only estate or a visitor center that sees hundreds of visitors every weekend with large-scale events, this town hall meeting is a place to learn more about how to optimize the consumer experience on-site.

Town Hall Meeting: Wine Club & Direct Sales

Bring your thoughts, ideas and questions to a group discussion with other DTC and wine club managers in a town hall style session. Discuss today’s challenges and opportunities facing wine clubs, allocation models, eCommerce and outbound phone channels, and learn best practices from your peers. This is an opportunity to hear what other wineries and managers are facing and solutions they’ve tested.

Sponsor Sessions

Unlikely Lessons from More Than $1 Billion in DTC Wine Sales

Jim Agger, Vice President of Business Development, WineDirect

What is the one thing you should do in 2017 to increase your wine club retention? What about the single most impactful email you should send? Which piece of hardware should you get rid of to dramatically grow your email list and online sales? When it comes to questions like these, there’s no shortage of opinions. So we turned to our data, collected from over $1bn in DTC wine sales from 1,500+ global wineries. In this session we’ll share our most surprising and unusual findings. If you’re looking for actionable ideas that will help you grow your DTC business in 2017 and beyond, this session is for you.

Revolutionizing Profitability 

Ryan McCurry, President, ACHWorks
Dave Kirk, National Sales Manager, ACHWorks

Learn how adding another payment option for your club offer or new release program can increase profitability, reduce member attrition, and appeal to Millennials all while saving your staff time by avoiding credit card defaults. Hear industry experts talk about how ACH payments have revolutionized other industries—payroll, insurance premiums, car loans, etc. — and how those lessons apply to the DtC sales channel.

–     See how Millennials are making buying decisions that differ from prior generations.

–      Discuss Life Time Value of club membership and see how to increase it both from cost savings, and reduced attrition.

–      Review examples of how adopting ACH can improve your bottom line.

–      Hear an expert describe the payment process and where it can be best leveraged in your organization.

–      Discuss how easy, safe and secure adding this new money saving solution to your customer experience is.

Measuring & Driving Great Guest Experiences

Lesley Berglund, WISE Academy Co-Founder & Chairman

Differentiating your brand and building brand ambassadors is pivotal to your guest experiences and the service you provide. Superb service is a fluid process that while choreographed and rehearsed is never complete. It’s a work in process that demands continual improvements. In this session, help your team become a better learning organization by providing them tools to help them evolve and provide superb service.

This session will include:

– How to best use Guest Journey Mapping to design, codify and enhance great guest experiences

–  How to measure success: through TR metrics (what’s happening), Mystery Shopping, and Social Feedback – TripAdvisor, Yelp! (both about why it is happening)

–  How to use all these data points to continue to evolve the guest experience to raise the bar.

Retail Sales Tax and Regulations for Wineries

Charles Maniace, Director of Tax, SOVOS ShipCompliant

Sales and use tax regulations are ever-changing and growing increasingly complicated. Compliance is especially tricky for wineries due to unique circumstances. Our expert panel will do a regulatory “deep dive” on updates around the country and explore the special circumstances and differences for wineries. Join us to get ahead of the changing sales and use tax regulations!

Wine Without Borders: The Next Generation of International DTC

David Gluzman, Co-Founder & President, BlackSquare Inc.

International DTC is more than shipping a case of wine every so often to a customer in a different country. It’s about enabling an entire new channel to grow and prosper as if you had a local presence. Learn about the complexities of today’s market of exporting, regulations, duties and shipping and get ready for a revolution in selling wine without borders.

Changes Driving Innovation: The FedEx Perspective

D. John Jackson, Vice President of Strategy, Planning, Engineering, Innovation & Customer Identity, FedEx

Dramatic technological changes are impacting the marketplace, customer experience, customer demand and customer psyche. The proliferation and growth of e-commerce is being spurred on by new technology and customer capabilities. Artificial intelligence combined with natural language is the next stage of the digital revolution. D. John Jackson from FedEx brings a unique perspective to these macro topics that will affect each business, and drive the need to innovate.

Become a CRM Powerhouse: Advanced Tactics to Sell More Wine 

Paul Thienes, Founder & CEO, eCellar & Liz Mercer, WISE Academy

eCellar will present a working definition of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) as it relates to the wine industry.Key topics will include RFM (Recency, Frequency, Monetary Value) and LTV (Lifetime Value), and how these topics apply to multiple sales channels including the Tasting Room, Wine Club, eCommerce, Allocation and Reservations. From theoretical best practices and experience, tactical examples will be demonstrated live, empowering attendees with takeaways to become a CRM Powerhouse!