Steering Committee

Brandon Allen, Senior Manager, Wine Club & E-Commerce, Scheid Vineyards

Brandon currently leads strategy and growth for wine clubs and multiple e-commerce platforms at Scheid Vineyards, with tasting rooms in Carmel-by-the-Sea and at their winery in Greenfield, CA. Brandon is a brand ambassador, developing relationships and building a loyal fan base for the Scheid Vineyards brand. Brandon has a proven track record in brand and commercial marketing, wholesale and three-tier compliance, digital strategy, E-Commerce, wine club development, and DTC program growth. Brandon is an active advocate for the Central Coast.

 


Brian Baker, Founder, Cultivar Marketing

Brian-Baker

Brian is the founder of Cultivar Marketing, a sales and marketing agency which specializes in helping wineries increase profitability, optimize channel management and provide a path for importers to launch their brands in the U.S. in the DTC and Wholesale channels. Over the years, Brian has developed a key set of skills in sales, technology, research and traditional brand marketing. He has held a number of management positions in his career in the wine Industry. Most recently, he served as GM of Mayacamas Vineyards–the historic property on Mt. Veeder. Prior to that Brian served as the Vice President Sales and Marketing for Chateau Montelena. He began his career in wine as Vice President of Consumer Relationship Management (CRM) at Jackson Family Wines. (“We called it CRM in those days… and constantly had to explain the acronym”) Brian is somewhat of a self-described corporate “gypsy”. Before pivoting to the wine industry, He spent 18 years in the travel industry including management posts as VP of Sales and Marketing for the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau (now SF Travel) and Director of Global Marketing for Dollar Rent-A-Car. He is a past chair of the California Travel Association and served as Chairman of the DTC Wine Symposium from 2009-2012. He is a sommelier, holds his CSW credential and serves as a distinguished judge for the San Francisco International Wine Competition.

 


Jeremy Benson, President, Benson Marketing Group and Executive Director, Free the Grapes!

Jeremy is founder and president of Benson Marketing Group, a leading wine and spirits marketing agency. The company provides brand strategy, PR, digital marketing and advocacy marketing services from offices in Napa Valley and New York. He also serves as executive director of Free the Grapes!, the presenting organization and beneficiary of the DTC Wine Symposium, now in its 14th year. The team at Benson Marketing Group coordinates the industry summit.

 

 


Nina Depiesse, DTC Manager, Long Shadows Winery

The love of food, family and friends gathering, and travel began very early on for Nina – it was only natural that her passion for the enjoyment of life led her into the wine business. With over 15 years’ experience in the wine and food industry, Nina’s journey in the Washington wine scene has solidified her adoration of local wines while connecting to old world roots. As a graduate of Central Washington University, her Advertising Degree tapped into her creative and business-oriented side. Later on, she rounded out her education and dove into her passionate side head first when she received her Court of Master Sommelier’s Level 1 certification.
Most recently as the DTC Manager for Long Shadows Vintners, she has had the opportunity to spend several years cultivating relationships with her team and guests, sharing in stories and experiences that has shaped her as the hospitality driven professional she is today. Knowing that it’s not always what you know, but who you know, she has been fortunate enough to network and travel to some of her favorite wine regions of the world to extend upon her knowledge of Northwest wines.

With a thirst for learning and a hunger for creating memorable experiences, when she isn’t working Nina can be found reading cookbooks, enjoying new wines and whipping up new recipes (with wine pairings!) for friends and family.


Susan DeMatei, President, WineGlass Marketing

Susan DeMatei founded WineGlass Marketing with a goal to help wineries benefit from direct marketing. WGM is the largest full-service direct marketing agency for the adult beverage agency. The company handles a wide range of DTC, B2B and trade clients that produce everything from wine to printing to software to coffee. Susan poured 30 years of luxury marketing experience into the company from her background in consumer marketing for technology and wine brands. Now in its 9th year, WGM has over 20 employees and 30 clients. Susan currently is the strategic lead on most of the agency’s clients, and continually on the lookout for developing channels and new marketing ideas to bring to WGM’s clients.

 


Barbara Gorder, President/Owner, Undisclosed Location, Inc.

Barbara is a graduate of Northwestern University with extensive senior level corporate, entrepreneurial and advertising agency experience having been an executive creative director, brand strategist, marketer and relationship builder. With broad marketing and advertising expertise across all channels and disciplines with an emphasis in technologies, she has helped to build and design some of the world’s most powerful brands over the past 20 years. She is known as a producer of innovative branding and advertising in wine, beauty, athletics, health and spirits categories, and has received the Coty Award, Clios, Addys, and been a finalist for Cannes Lions. Barbara is the keynote committee chair for the DTC Wine Symposium and serves on the Board of the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County.

 


Chris Grossman, Manager of DTC Operations, Chateau Montelena

Chris serves as the Direct to Consumer Operations Manager at Chateau Montelena. In his role, he oversees many facets of the winery’s DTC portfolio, including the wine club, ecommerce, email marketing, events, outbound sales, and general customer service, bringing Chateau Montelena to customers nationwide. Chris is a Certified Specialist of Wine and has participated in presenter roles at several industry conferences, including the Wine Institute Technology Symposium and the DTC Wine Symposium. Prior to joining Montelena, he held a variety of roles in the luxury resort industry, bringing a wealth of hospitality and business knowledge to Montelena.

 


Meredith Hayes, DTC Manager, Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards

Meredith leads the strategy and execution for the direct to consumer sales channels managing the delicate balance between creating unforgettable experiences for club members while meeting the sales and business needs of this storied sparkling wine producer. She has gained more than ten years experience in the art and wine industries having worked in marketing and managing member-centric programs and outreach in New Zealand, Arizona and California. Originally from New England, she is a graduate of Northeastern University Boston, and is thrilled to be a part of the food and wine scene in Sonoma County.

 

 

 


Lindsay Kana, Director of Sales and Marketing, Ving Direct

Lindsay has been a consultant with VingDirect since 2013, when her mother Tammy Boatright (yes, the VingDirect Founder) intrigued her with the idea of making VingDirect a family business. Since joining the Ving Team, she has worked closely with family wineries to help them increase their DTC Sales by implementing strategic marketing programs and rethinking their digital presence. Lindsay’s favorite project is VingDirect’s Direct to Consumer Assessment, and she enjoys weekly calls with winery owners across the U.S. to discuss “”new and now”” industry topics!

She earned a Bachelor’s degree in 2006 from Texas State University and lives near Austin, Texas with her husband, two daughters, and a yorkie-poo.

 


Leah McNally, Senior Manager Digital Customer Engagement & Loyalty, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.

As a fourteen year veteran of winery DTC sales, Leah manages the eCommerce and email marketing for the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates DTC brands across Washington, Oregon and California. Her experience includes managing operations, club and ecommerce sales. In 2015 Leah received a Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Cheers Award in the Energizing Customers category for her contribution to outstanding results in the DTC channel. She has an MBA in Wine Business from Sonoma State University. Along with wine, Leah enjoys working with the community through the Direct To Consumer Symposium steering committee, as a mentor for women in business, and as a small business owner selling handmade crafts via online sales.

 


Ron Scharman, CEO, Astra Digital

Ron has been an instructor for 7 years at Sonoma State’s Wine Business Institute, where he teaches courses in Direct to Consumer Marketing and eCommerce for the Wine Industry. Prior to Astra, he was COO of Chatterbox Wine Marketing and VinoVisit.com. Ron served for 7 years as President of eWinery Solutions(Now VinSuite), has extensive experience as a COO and CEO outside of the wine industry, and spent time in investment banking in New York City with major financial institutions. Ron received his MBA in Finance from Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management, and his B.S. degree in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University.

 


Adrienne Stillman, Marketing Director, WineDirect

Adrienne Stillman is the Director of Marketing at WineDirect where she oversees all aspects of marketing and communications. With a passion for wine and technology, she loves helping wineries leverage digital tools to succeed with direct to consumer sales.

In her current role, Adrienne spends much of her time researching industry trends and best practices, from wine clubs to email marketing, hospitality, online sales and events. She is the driving force behind WineDirect’s 2019 Direct-to-Consumer Sales Report, based on transactional data from over 1,200 wineries in 3 countries.

She regularly speaks at industry conferences about DTC marketing and has served as a member of the DTC Wine Symposium Steering Committee since 2016.

Adrienne is a Certified Sommelier, holds a BA in Economics from Barnard College and completed the Wine & Beverage graduate program at the Culinary Institute of America. She has also authored the books “Where Bartenders Drink” and “Spirited: Cocktails From Around the World” (Phaidon, 2017 and 2020). A New York City native, she lives in Napa Valley with her husband and their dog.

 


Patricia O’Brien, Vice President, Sales and Operations, Danza del Sol Winery

As Vice President of Sales and Operations for Danza del Sol Winery, Patricia O’Brien is responsible for the success of the company’s five (DTC) revenue channels tasting room, wine clubs, gift shops, events and tour departments.

Patricia began her career in DTC, 13 years ago as the Wine Club Manager at Miramonte Winery. Then in 2010 she joined the management team to start Danza del Sol Winery. Her experience working in DTC has been in tasting room management, wine club management, email marketing, ecommerce and operations.

Over the last ten years, Patricia has played a pivotal role in the strategic growth of the company’s DTC businesses. A metric-driven leader, and versed in relationship-focused customer service, Patricia has guided the company’s wine clubs since their successful launch in 2010, managed e-mail and web marketing initiatives, and has overseen all DTC channels across both winery brands.

For the past 20 yrs she’s been married to her best friend, Patrick O’Brien and raising three amazing children ages 25, 17, 9. When she not doing the “wine thing” as her kids call it, she’s carpooling to club soccer team training, piano & guitar lessons or call her oldest who lives in Ohio.