Keynote Speakers


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.



Workshop Sessions


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.

Speaker: Tracy Genesen, Vice President, General Counsel, Wine Institute


Sponsor Sessions


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

WISE will present a panel of three winery leaders (from a small, family-run winery to larger, multi-winery and investor-backed wineries) 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


  • Carol Reber, CMO, Duckhorn Wine Company – lessons and insights from a strategic view
  • Mike Reynolds, President, HALL Wines – lessons and insights of using mystery shopping and training to raise the bar with front line staff
  • Devin Joshua, GM, Judd’s Hill Winery – lessons and insights of using metrics to manage the business

Audience: all DTC channels will benefit from this session.

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

With Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, they have shown that they are fully committing to competing not only in ecommerce but in traditional brick and mortar retail. This is going to be extremely disruptive 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 related to their ecommerce experience. With Amazon’s move, consumers’ retail experience expectations are about to be set on the same trajectory. The good news is that simultaneously, more and more consumers are eschewing big box stores in favor of small, boutique, authentic experiences. The rise of brands like Warby Parker and Bonobos are evidence of this. And, unlike other areas where we hear the constant lament that the wine industry  “is ten years behind”, in this space wineries lead the pack with their tasting rooms. In this session we’ll share insights on how your business can prepare for these monumental shifts and be optimally positioned for growth.

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

Sell Compliantly, Sell Successfully, Sponsored 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

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 conversation & statistical tracking. 

Speaker: Ron Scharman, CEO & Ryan Neergaard, Director of Business Development & Social Media

Audience: Marketers, Tasting room managers, CEOs, VPs, DTC Managers, and Industry professionals