Brandon Allen, DTC Manager, Van Duzer Vineyards
Brandon currently leads sales and marketing efforts for Van Duzer Vineyards, with a tasting room at their estate property in the Van Duzer Corridor AVA of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. 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. He also has extensive experience with wineries in both Napa and the Central Coast of California.
Brian Baker, Founder, Cultivar Marketing
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 of Benson Marketing Group, a leading wine and spirits marketing agency, and a division of The Brand Leader. The company provides brand strategy, PR, digital marketing and advocacy marketing services to emerging and leading brands. He also serves as executive director of Free the Grapes!, the presenting organization and beneficiary of the DTC Wine Symposium. The team at Benson Marketing Group coordinates the industry summit with this stellar Steering Committee!
Nina Depiesse, DTC Manager, Long Shadows Vintners
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 has over 30 years of luxury direct marketing experience, but in the past 16, she has worked exclusively in the wine industry. In 2012 Susan started WineGlass Marketing, a full-service direct marketing agency for the alcohol space. The firm is based in downtown Napa and supports domestic and international clients with both B2B and DTC marketing in digital as well as traditional channels. For the past two consecutive years, Inc. Magazine recognized WineGlass Marketing as the only Napa company listed in the top 250 hyper-growth tier of the “5000 Series California’s Top Companies”. WineGlass Marketing has also been recognized by the community winning the North Bay Bohemian “Best Creative Agency” spot for 2021 as well as being honored by her clients in the North Bay Business Journal as Napa’s “Best Company to Do Business With.”
Susan holds a B.S. in Communications from Boston University and an A.S. in Viticulture from Napa Valley College. She is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, a Certified Specialist in Wine/Wine Education with the Society of Wine Educators, and awarded a DMA (Direct Marketing Association) award for strategic excellence. She is the marketing columnist for Grapevine Magazine and a frequent freelance writer and speaker at conferences. Susan also is the marketing instructor at WISE and an adjunct professor and lecturer at the Institute for Enology & Viticulture at Walla Walla Community College.
Barbara Gorder, President/Owner, Undisclosed Location, Inc.
Barbara is a graduate of Northwestern University with extensive senior level corporate, entrepreneurial and advertising agency experience. She has been an executive creative director, brand strategist, marketer and relationship team builder. With broad marketing and advertising expertise in omnichannel marketing with an emphasis on digital technology, she has helped to build and design some of the world’s most powerful brands over the past 30 years. She is known as a creative 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 on the keynote committee for the 2022 DTC Wine Symposium and partners with her husband Tim on the Farley Family Charitable Trust.
Chris Grossman, Direct to Consumer Operations Manager, 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 membership, 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. He also serves on the board of the Calistoga Wine Growers Association. 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, Director, DTC Sales and Marketing, Ram’s Gate Winery
With more than 15 years in marketing and managing customer-centric strategies in the art and wine industries, Meredith currently leads the DTC, brand marketing and distribution programs at Ram’s Gate Winery. Her experience includes growing membership, expanding ecommerce sales and driving traffic to art museums and tasting rooms in New Zealand, Arizona and California. With a love of travel, wine and good food, she’s a champion of the wine industry and has enjoyed visiting many of the exciting wine regions of the world. Originally from New England, she is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston is thrilled to be a part of the food and wine scene in Sonoma County.
Tayler started at Willamette Valley Vineyards in 2017 as a Winery Sales Account Manager and quickly moved up to the Wine Club and Ownership Coordinator before taking the position as Wine Club and Ownership Manager. In a unique position she has been instrumental in growing the wine club to over 8,000 Members and ownership to more than 20,000 Shareholders through deeply connected relationships, memorable events, and impeccable customer service. She oversees wine club tiers at 6 locations.
Tayler’s love of wine started at an early age growing up in the Columbia Valley. She became her parent’s designated driver to wine tastings at 16 and even enjoyed a few tastes of wine at special occasions. After attending college at Linfield University in the heart of the Willamette Valley she decided to stay in Oregon and follow her passion for beverages at Coca Cola as an Account Manager. After successfully maintaining a track record of strong sales growth in her territory and lasting customer relationships she moved to Turner, Oregon with her 3 dogs and headed into the wine industry. When she’s not at work you can find Tayler training for races, cooking (with a glass of rosé of course), or on hikes with her friends and dogs.
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.
Patricia O’Brien, Vice President, Sales and Operations, Danza del Sol Winery
Patricia O’Brien is Vice President of Sales and Operations for Danza del Sol Winery & Masia de la Vinya Winery located in Temecula, CA. Metrics driven and well versed in relationship-focused customer service, Patricia has guided both companies since their successful launch in 2010 and 2015. She’s managed e-mail and web marketing initiatives, and has overseen all DTC channels (tasting room, wine clubs, gift shops, events and tour departments for both winery brands.
A native of California, Patricia has been married to her best friend, Patrick for 20 year and raised three amazing children. Patricia is also a WSET Level II graduate, Certified Hospitality Industry Professional (CHIP) for Temecula Valley graduate and is currently a member of the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Heritage District Marketing & Educational Committees. Away from wine she’s the ultimate soccer Mama, who enjoys spending time with family and friends while enjoying great food and wine.
Kelly Petrillo, Director of Hospitality, Gandona Estates
With 20 years of experience in Sales and Hospitality, Kelly Petrillo was born and raised in the mild climate of Northern California. She graduated with a BA in Liberal Studies from Chapman University. Passionate about wine and people, the move to working in the Napa Valley wine industry was a natural fit. Kelly’s passion for wine pushed her to pursue further education within the industry; she graduated from Sonoma State University in March 2023 with a Global Executive MBA in Wine Business Management. In her role she oversees DTC wine sales, membership growth, ecommerce, events, and outbound sales. Kelly has been a member of the DTCWS Steering Committee for two years and is committed to continued education and growth within the industry.
Kelly has a love and appreciation for California wines, craft beer, kayaking, fishing, traveling, and enjoying life with her family and friends.
Jessah Diaz, Assistant Manager, Consumer Relations-Wine Club, Pernod Ricard USA
Jessah is an experienced manager in wine sales specializing in direct-to-consumer initiatives, eCommerce, and accelerated wine club growth. At Pernod Ricard USA, she has successfully helped to generate new revenue through her focus on user experience for newly developed eCommerce sites, customer service, marketing strategy, and new business development. Her prior experience in wholesale distribution at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits informs her work today and provided an early start with a diverse portfolio of brands from Constellation to Pernod Ricard.
Jessah is a WSET Level II graduate with Distinction, and she is currently studying for the WSET Level III. She is a McBride Sisters Scholarship recipient and is currently pursuing a Wine Business Management certificate at Sonoma State University. Originally from New York City, she lives in Lake County and enjoys running in the beautiful landscape and spending time with her two dogs.
Kasey Helt, Director of Hospitality, Center of Effort Winery
Kasey began her career in the wine industry over 17 years ago working with a vineyard management company in Paso Robles CA where she was able to get hands-on experience. This led to her next opportunity working for Still Waters Vineyard, a small estate family vineyard also in Paso Robles, CA. At Still Waters, Kasey started in wine production but quickly transitioned to hospitality and was eventually named General Manager.
Currently Kasey leads the hospitality program at Center of Effort Winery where she was named Director of Hospitality in 2018. In April 2019, Kasey was instrumental in opening the newly built, state of the art member hospitality center. She manages a team of wine educators that have a passion for service and delivering elevated and luxurious wine experiences to VIP members and other guests through private tastings, tours and member events.
When not sharing her knowledge of wine with others, Kasey and her husband spend time with their two young sons looking for the perfect campsite, playing baseball or hiking the beautiful local trails.