This year, the virtual program has expanded under the new name, The Wine Sales Symposium, and added a new program, the Direct2 Sales Symposium, dedicated to the direct channel, to the existing 3-Tier program to ensure that all sales channels are part of the conference. This is to ensure that any wine producer, regardless of size or channel focus will have something to learn.
The FREE 2-day symposium will feature category experts from all facets of the industry. Our mission is to provide every attendee with tools and actionable takeaways to help their business be in the best possible position to make the most of what remains of 2020 and be prepared to thrive in the upcoming year.
2020 Symposium Topics & Schedule
Day 1: 3-Tier Distribution Topics
Wine Industry Network's President & CEO, George Christie, will kick-off the Symposium by giving you a brief overview of what to expect over the next 2 days for both the 3-Tier and Direct2 audiences. George will also be welcoming and introducing our speakers and Symposium Moderators, Laura Webb and Eric Guerra.
Don't miss Eric Guerra's new book, When Great Wine Is Not Enough: A Wine Sales And Marketing Guide For Wineries, Négociants & Wine Brand Owners.
This session, presented by the WSWA, will feature wholesale insights provided by their comprehensive data application, SipSource, the only source for aggregated distributor depletion data. The session will cover sales data through the first half of 2020 along with highlighting buying trends and forecasts for the remainder of the year as well as provide an overview and recap of distributor news and happenings.
COVID-19 has disrupted every sector of the wine industry, but it’s also driven innovation and resourcefulness at a pace never seen before in our industry. The number of wineries embracing technology along with new ways to conduct business have been one positive outcome of the pandemic, in particular with regard to how wineries are managing their business and relations with trade and media.
At a time when wineries traditionally spend time in the market, meeting with distributors, conducting account presentations, introducing new wines, the pandemic rendered those activities nearly impossible. However, producers of all sizes responded by leveraging video conferencing technology, like zoom, to maintain their presence in existing markets and introductions into new ones. How did they do it? What were the results? How did their distributors, media and key accounts respond? What lessons did they learn and what will market work look like once the pandemic is behind us?
This session, featuring winery and public relations perspectives, will share how they quickly responded to a drastically different sales environment and were able to efficiently and effectively maintain their presence in the market and why they will continue to leverage technology to expand their presence post COVID-19.
As wine producers reacted and innovated to an uncertain sales environment and unpredictable future, so have distributors across all markets. Like their winery counterparts, and the accounts they service, the COVID-19 surge required a rapid adjustment to resource allocation, channel strategy and execution of day to day business.
What did they do? How were they able to service winery partners? What did the most successful wineries they represent do differently?
This session will answer those questions along with highlighting how distributors adjusted to ensure that they were able to continue to service their winery partners, the tactics adopted to place new wines and best practices based on observations of wineries that maintained momentum throughout the 1st half of the year. The session will conclude with advice they have for wineries looking to position themselves for a strong finish and even stronger 2021.
Day 2: Direct2 Consumer Topics
Wine Industry Network's President & CEO, George Christie, will kick-off the day by giving you a brief overview of what to expect during the Direct2 Consumer portion of the symposium. George will also be welcoming and introducing our speakers for the day and our Symposium Moderators, Laura Webb and Eric Guerra.
Don't miss Eric Guerra's new book, When Great Wine Is Not Enough: A Wine Sales And Marketing Guide For Wineries, Négociants & Wine Brand Owners.
This session, presented by Commerce7’s Zach Kampuis, will provide a performance overview for the 1st seven months of the year and highlight trends and behavior based on data collected from their extensive list winery clients throughout the country. The session will also present findings pulled from Commerce7’s fastest growing winery clients to showcase what successful wineries are doing to drive online sales prior to, and during, the COVID-19 outbreak.
Key takeaways from this presentation will include a detailed description of the marketing, website, and club tactics and strategies being utilized by top performers, and what actionable steps wineries of all sizes can take to replicate their success.
Sandra Hess, founder of DTC Wine Workshops and Consumer Engagement Specialist, will moderate a panel discussion with three members of the DTC Consultant Network to uncover the Top 5 Wine Consumer Engagement Strategies High-Performing Wine Brands Across the US leverage today. Best practices and case studies for small, mid-size and large wine producers will be shared. Actionable tools will be provided to session attendees.
Over the past several years, many regions have seen declines in winery visitation, long an important driver of DTC sales. This was made particularly apparent in 2020 as tasting rooms across the US shuttered as a result of COVID-19. It’s clear that to maintain healthy growth, wineries must leverage other channels to reduce their reliance on tourism. The single best way to do this is to invest in online sales and marketing.
According to proprietary data from WineDirect’s 1,800+ clients around the world, online orders enjoy an average order value of 2-3x the average tasting room sale. Additionally, the strongest predictor of sales success in spring 2020 was an existing strong focus on online sales. Historically, ecommerce sales were not considered an important revenue driver, but that is clearly changing. At the same time, it can be challenging to shift your focus after years of emphasizing tasting room and wine club sales.
In this session, we'll discuss how you can make your winery’s business model more resilient by leveraging email marketing, crafting effective promotions and merchandising your website to create and nurture relationships beyond the tasting room.
Meet the Experts
An expert in the wine industry with more than 15 years experience in software-as-a-service (SaaS) and logistics, Jim leads WineDirect's Ecommerce team.
Since joining WineDirect, Jim has been instrumental in growing our fulfillment business as well as leading the sales and marketing teams. He is also the driving force behind WineDirect's unique Marketplace Distribution offering that enables wineries to sell direct to consumer via partners including eBay and Vivino.
Previously, Jim held positions with ShipCompliant and FedEx Services. At FedEx, he was Subject Matter Expert in field sales and earned recognition as a top performer and leader (President’s Club and Five Star). He also created the landmark affinity relationship between the Wine Institute and FedEx. Jim was responsible for sales at ShipCompliant, a leading regulatory compliance SaaS provider. He played an integral part during the early years of their explosive growth.
Jim and his family live in Napa. He loves being a dad and all things outdoors.
Philana Bouvier is the Vice President Fine Wine, Supplier Business Development at Republic National Distributing Company. Providing integrated business services for RNDC and Youngs Market, she actively partners with current and potential suppliers to capitalize on market and category opportunities focused on luxury Fine Wine and premium import portfolios. Prior to RNDC, Philana led new business development at Young’s Market Company for lead generation, prospect management & new supplier engagement. She has held several leadership roles to include General Manager for Young’s Hawaii - a move that would make her the industry’s first non-family, female executive to lead statewide sales, marketing, and operations for a major alcohol distributor in the United States. Early in her career, Philana co-founded Waiwera Artesian Water USA and served as it's CEO of U.S. operations. Philana also owned and led B&Co., a boutique brokerage firm specializing in distributor sales support and delivering exceptional client experiences for suppliers.
Philana is the 2019-2020 Chair of the Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) for the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA), and one of the founding members of the Advisory Board. She also serves as an officer for WSWA’s Council of Leadership Development. In the community, Philana is involved in the Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii, Corporate Board Member, serves on the Advisory Council for The Bone Marrow & Cancer Foundation in New York, and a Board Member for the Napa Valley Cannabis Association. Her university studies in European history led her to St. Peter’s College, University of Oxford. Interests include international travel, fine arts, music, and sharing her culinary skills with friends and family.
George Christie, a New Jersey native, settled in Sonoma County after college in 1991 where he quickly realized that the wine industry was where he wanted to concentrate his efforts. Since that time, he has been involved in nearly every aspect of the wine industry, from vineyard operations and grower relations to distributor realignments and national marketing campaigns. Always an active member in the wine community, Christie has also held board positions with the Russian River Wine Road, Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley and the Sonoma County Vintners. In 2008, George and his wife Tami, along with the Saini Family, partnered to create Saini Vineyards, a winery specializing on Old Vine Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley.
In 2009, with Elizabeth 'E' Slater, George launched the Wine Industry Network (WIN). What began as an online directory has evolved over the years into one the leading B2B marketing and media companies serving the wine industry. WIN works with over 600 industry product and service providers and produces the Wine Industry Expo (WIN Expo), the 2nd largest trade show for the wine industry, along with the Wine & Weed Symposium, the Wine Industry Advisor news site and the Afternoon Brief daily news email with over 35,000 industry subscribers.
Born in San Francisco and raised in Sonoma County, Michael De Loach grew up in the wine business: he started working in the vineyard at age 11 and in the cellar at 15. After college De Loach worked as Vice President, Sales and Marketing at fledgling De Loach Vineyards, and completed courses of study in winemaking at the Napa Valley School of Cellaring as well as the University of California at Davis Agricultural Extension.
De Loach learned the world of design, advertising, marketing and media during the 12 years he spent in that industry. During his three years at consumer goods design firm Glenn Martinez and Associates, he worked on branding, packaging, and advertising for top wine industry clients including Rodney Strong Vineyards, De Loach Vineyards, Parducci Winery, Glen Ellen, Far Niente, and many others.
De Loach was a partner in, and Creative Director of, leading regional advertising agency Pathos, where he personally won over 100 American Advertising Awards (The ADDY Awards) for his work. Clients during his career included Comcast, Mitsubishi Motors, and Bethesda Healthcare Systems.
After his advertising days, De Loach served as president of De Loach Vineyards from 2001 to 2005, then as president of Hook & Ladder Winery until 2016. He has served on numerous industry boards and advisory committees.
Currently De Loach is Owner and President of MD Wine Industry Consulting, and is a partner in Michael De Loach Brands, a full-service beverage alcohol brokerage.
De Loach has appeared throughout the country on radio, television and speaking engagements, and has been written about in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Wine Spectator, Wines and Spirits, Wines and Vines, and The Wine Enthusiast. He lives with his wife Lori in Geyserville, California.
As the principal of Cork & Fork Digital Media, Taylor Eason helps food and drink businesses thrive in the digital space. She is a marketing MBA, professional writer, and former European-trained chef with a passion for food and wine plus a penchant for digital marketing. For the past six years, she has honed her brand and online marketing skills at luxury wineries in Napa and Sonoma and, prior to that, spent 14 years in media marketing, sharpening brands, developing and launching websites, and performing multi-tiered email marketing. As a side gig, she also traveled the world as an internationally syndicated wine columnist, and achieved her Certified Specialist of Wine certification. Wineries positions included Senior Brand Manager for J Vineyards & Winery and Director of Marketing for Bundschu Company. She has appeared at numerous industry conferences, including the DTC Wine Symposium and the Wine Blogger’s Conference.
Taylor and her team at Cork & Fork Digital Media create and implement customized digital marketing strategies to help advance sales and branding for food and beverage companies. Cutting through all the complicated vernacular of the online world, they emphasize professional, client-focused customer service. Their comprehensive digital strategies begin with a 360-degree analysis of the brand, pulling data from both on- and off-line footprints, and developing an integrated marketing solution that meets the company’s goals.
Ed Feuchuk is marketer and mistake maker with over 13 years of experience building innovative DTC wine brands. As the Vice President of Marketing for Farm Collective Napa Valley, Ed is responsible for creative, strategic, and technical initiatives for brands like Tank Garage Winery, Regusci Winery, and T-Vine Winery. With a passion for authentic experiences and renegade marketing, Ed and his work have been featured in Adweek, the New York Times, Wine Spectator, and Playboy.
Barbara Gorder is the President of Undisclosed Location, a national marketing and adverting agency serving wineries of all sizes.
Barbara led creative new business efforts for two of the most successful years in LBC history. Barbara created first LBC integrated campaigns across TV, Digital, print, DM & events for Hallmark, General Motors and Proctor & Gamble. Barbara served for 4.5 years on Reebok Business with emphasis on Women’s business. Barbara was the creative director for internal most popular TV execution for ToysRUs.com business. Won Addys, One Show, Mobius, DNAD, Cannes short list on multiple occasions. In addition, Barbara built scores of websites and microsites for clients.
Undisclosed Location is a virtual marketing and brand consulting firm with deep experience in integrated marketing campaigns across all platforms. Our practice areas include all aspects of design and digital communication applications as well as traditional media. Our recent experiences with clients range from HNW individuals, women, and families as target audiences for mobile and digital efforts. We have offices in the Bay area and participating team members in Cincinnati and Chicago. Specialties: Mobile is our 1st screen and we have attended recent summits in SF and Chicago to continue to utilize the very best of 21st century tactics with solid business-building strategy and remarkable execution. Partners: We are active long-term partners with PixInk and a part of their Brand Boardroom in San Francisco, California. Currently part of the Brand Mentorship program at The Brandery Incubator in Cincinnati, Ohio. Ongoing design and strategy partnership with Mike Zitt Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Author of the highly acclaimed "When Great Wine Is Not Enough: A Wine Sales & Marketing Guide For Wineries, Négociants & Wine Brand Owners", named the 2018 North Bay Business Journal Winery Sales & Marketing Officer Of The Year, with over 17 years of wine experience, having managed or sold over 20 million cases of wine and developed over 500+ wine brands while receiving 14 packaging awards... author, wine executive, label designer, wine blogger, fine wine investor and wine public speaker Eric Guerra has led some of the industry's most iconic wineries and wine brands, including his recent wine venture www.reservetastings.com, a direct-to-consumer private Wine + Music club that offers high-end wines that are paired with musically inspired label artwork and playlists.
Jason Haas is the second-generation proprietor of Tablas Creek, serving in the dual roles of Partner and General Manager. Son of Vineyard Brands founder (and Tablas Creek co-founder) Robert Haas, he grew up in the wine business, including spending two summers working at Château de Beaucastel.
After obtaining a Master's Degree in Archaeology from Cornell and spending a four-year stint managing a tech company in Washington, DC, Jason moved to California to join Tablas Creek in April of 2002, where he oversees the business, winemaking, sales and marketing.
In addition to his work at Tablas Creek, Jason is President of the Rhone Rangers board of directors, past Chairman of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, and a board member of Free the Grapes. His writing has been published in Wine Business Monthly, Wines & Vines, Decanter, Wine Industry Network and Zester Daily. He is principal author of the Tablas Creek blog, a Wine Blog Awards finalist for Best Winery Blog eight times since 2008, winning in 2008 and 2011.
In recognition of his contributions to the Paso Robles wine community, he was voted by his peers 2015 Paso Robles Wine Country Wine Industry Person of the Year and 2017 San Luis Obispo County Wine Industry Person of the Year.
Jake Hegeman is Vice President of Legal and Regulatory Affairs for the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA). In this role, Jake works with state and federal regulatory officials on behalf of WSWA and its members. Jake joined WSWA in 2013 from Stateside Associates, a Virginia based state government affairs firm where he served as Vice President. In this role, Jake managed the company’s regulatory division and worked on advocacy efforts with a wide variety of state regulatory agencies.
Prior to rejoining Stateside Associates, Jake served as National State Liaison at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). As a liaison, Jake worked alongside agency leadership and state agriculture officials to improve regulatory processes and enhance communication and coordination across a range of animal and plant health issues.
Jake previously worked at Stateside Associates from 2004-2008 as Senior Regulatory Counsel where he managed the Regulatory Services Division and managed numerous research and compliance projects in the energy, environment and retail arenas. Jake also helped spearhead a workgroup of state environmental regulators addressing a range of waste and cleanup issues.
Originally from upstate New York, Jake earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and his Juris Doctor from Tulane Law School, both with honors. Jake is a member of the New York State Bar and resides in Alexandria, Virginia.
Sandra Hess is a wine consumer engagement & direct sales strategist supporting winery teams throughout the US, Canada and Australia. Sandra founded DTC Wine Workshops Consulting Agency, based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, in July 2013 and also launched an online training division in August 2014. Sandra publishes the DTC Wine Case Study Series and is a frequent speaker at wine industry events nationally and globally. Sandra serves as a steering committee member for the DTC Wine Symposium and an advisory board member for the Wine Business Monthly WiVi Conference Central Coast. Sandra formed a partnership with Wine Tourism Australia in 2017 and provides online coaching as well as training programs to winery teams across Australia and New Zealand. In addition to her professional contributions, Sandra is the Past-President of Women for WineSense Napa Sonoma chapter. Prior to joining the wine industry, Sandra supported businesses nationally and globally in the areas of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software solutions, compliance management software solutions, customer engagement workflow automation and sales/marketing strategic planning.
Sandra is considered a thought leader in the DTC Wine Industry and has developed proven methodologies over the past 10 years. Sandra has been featured in Forbes, Wine Business Monthly, Wines & Vines, Market Watch, Silicon Valley Bank on Wine. Sandra was a keynote speaker at the Australian Wine Suppliers “Impact Conference” in Adelaide Australia, October 2018. Wineries of BC featured Sandra as a keynote speaker at the Direct to Consumer Wine Canada Conference in November 2016 and she also provide a keynote address at the International Wine Forum in Mendoza Argentina, October 2014. Sandra developed the first of its kind, Direct-to-Consumer Sales Roadshow Program for Vin65/WineDirect and The Winery CRM (Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution). Sandra publishes a DTC Sales Blog at: https://dtcwineworkshops.com/blog.
This past year, Sandra provided winery association workshops across California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Texas and Virginia. Sandra also moderated a panel discussion at DTC Wine Symposium in Concord, CA – February 2019 on “Growing ROI from Winery Events” and served in a panel discussion at UNIFIED Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento, CA – January 2019 on “Customer Journey Mapping”. In February, 2018 Sandra joined a panel discussion on “Creating 360 Degree Customer Views” at the DTC Wine Symposium in Concord, CA. In March, 2017 Sandra moderated a discussion on “Managing Customer Relationships with CRM Tools” at the WiVi Conference in Paso Robles, CA. In June 2016, Sandra moderated a panel, DTC Wine Case Studies Revealed at the DIRECT ShipCompliant Conference in San Francisco. Sandra joined Rob McMillan in May 2016 for a live Video-Cast to analyze results from the Silicon Valley Bank Tasting Room Survey. In April 2016, The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance invited Sandra to present a workshop on “Customer Engagement & Retention Best Practices”. Sandra is a regular guest presenter on DTC wine sales and marketing fundamentals at Fresno State University wine business program and mentors college students studying wine business.
Sarah is a seasoned communications professional with 20 years of experience generating buzz for wineries, wine brands, and spirits companies, both domestic and international. In her role as Vice President at Benson Marketing Group, Sarah leads a variety of marketing and communications efforts, developing strategy to create pull for clients and their products. She has a keen interest in marketplace trends, what people are drinking, and how they are spending their free time. Thinking like an editor, Sarah has a knack for developing appealing storylines that capture clients’ messages and resonate with writers and influencers. She adheres to the philosophy that it is more valuable to ask the right questions than have all the answers.
Sarah’s experience includes past projects as diverse as marketing and event management for the world’s most recognized wine regions, corporate communications for spirits companies, public relations efforts for wineries and wine brands, both large and small. In addition to Benson Marketing Group, Sarah has held positions with Robert Mondavi Corporation, and U.S. Air Force Services Division (civilian). She resides in Napa Valley, CA, with her husband and two rescue dogs. When she’s not writing or developing strategy for clients, you can find her in the garden. Her favorite vacation destination is, without a doubt, California’s Eastern Sierras.
Zach Kamphuis is the general manager at Commerce7. He's been working there for the past two and a half years since its inception helping wineries create better consumer shopping experiences through all DTC sales channels.
Growing up in the wine industry, the Kramers' eldest daughter, Kim, had no interest in the family business. This all changed in her mid 20’s when she began to work for an Oregon winery. Through education and exploring the wine industry as an adult, she fell in love with sparkling wine and Pinot Noir. Her new found passion is what brought her into the family business by 2008.
In 2010 Kim took over as head winemaker. She plans and implements all aspects of winemaking from harvest through bottling. Kim loves making wine on our 22 acre estate because of the many microclimates, vintage variation, and carrying on her family’s legacy as a second generation winemaker.
Adam Pizer recently joined Breakthru as the VP, Supplier Business Development from Young’s Marketing Company where he played an active leadership role within the Estates Group as well as many other critical leadership positions over a 20-year span. He led a highly-successful expansion of the Estates Group into the Pacific Northwest. Now in his new role, Pizer will help lead Breakthru’s national wine portfolio.
Kim Stare Wallace was literally raised among the vines in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley. Throughout her childhood, she watched as her father, David Stare, pioneered Dry Creek Vineyard, the first new winery to be built in the region following Prohibition. As a teen, she worked in the office, cellar and on the bottling line as well as accompanying her parents on countless sales trips, business dinners and wine tastings. From this early start, Kim grew up with a passion and understanding of the wine industry.
After graduating magna cum laude from San Francisco State University, Kim began a career in the fashion industry that would greatly impact her later role at Dry Creek Vineyard. Joining the winery in 1986 as Director of Marketing, one of her first achievements was the creation of nautical labels for Dry Creek Vineyard’s wines, an unprecedented move that has indelibly linked the winery to sailboats in consumer’s minds. Without a doubt, Kim can be credited for the creation of the winery’s dynamic brand imagery that lives on today with every bottle of wine produced.
In the mid-nineties, Kim took on the increased responsibility of Vice President of the winery, involved in all decisions affecting the quality of the Dry Creek Vineyard experience and winery operations. She has seen the California wine industry mature through its ups and downs and is determined that her family winery will stay in the family.
In 2011, Kim became President of Dry Creek Vineyard. Her vision for the future of this dynamic family business is clear – to honor the past while innovating for the future to come. Together with her husband Don Wallace, the second generation has been instrumental in guiding the winery on its path toward being recognized as a Certified California Sustainable Vineyard and Winery. Without a doubt, the family’s commitment to the environment and good stewardship of the land is tied to their desire to leave the winery to a third generation of family ownership. In addition to her very full plate at the winery, Kim donates her time to several boards in Sonoma County including the Sonoma County Vintners and Santa Rosa Junior College Shone Farm Foundation.
Selected as a finalist for ‘Wine Executive of the Year’ for Wine Enthusiast’s 2019 Wine Star Awards and as a winner of the North Bay Business Journal’s 2018 Women In Business awards, this savvy businesswoman, mother of two, wife, and second-generation winery owner is firmly committed to a “No Compromises” philosophy, producing appellation-focused, terroir-driven, varietal-defining wines.
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.
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.
Dale Stratton brings over 35 years of experience in the Beverage Alcohol Industry to his role as an independent consultant. Dale recently retired from Constellation Brands where he was the Vice President, Commercial Insights working across their Beer, Wine, and Spirits divisions. While at Constellation Brands he oversaw consumer and shopper insights, consumer affairs, business analytics, market research, category management initiatives and the wine sensory program. Dale’s extensive work linking consumer and shopper insights and market analysis with business objectives and strategies enable him to translate insights into action.
Dale is currently involved in projects with Azur Associates, Emetry, Wine Market Council, and Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America’s SipSource Report.
Prior to joining Constellation Brands in 2006, Dale spent 22 years working at E&J Gallo where he began his career. During his tenure, he covered a wide range of responsibilities that included distributor management, account management, strategic insights and Lean Six Sigma. Dale has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations from Colorado State University and an Executive MBA from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.
Mike Wangbickler is President of Balzac, a leading marketing communications company for the worlds of beverage, food, and travel. Before following his heart to wine country, Mike followed his head to Silicon Valley where he spent 8 fast-paced years in technology communications, where he caught the bug for following the latest trends in marketing tech. Armed with a “live to eat” motto and an evident passion for wine, Mike entered Balzac’s life in 2004 and became the agency’s President in 2016.
As a studied disciple of Walt Disney, Mike thinks it’s fun to do the impossible. He believes leadership, imagination, and innovation require a certain level of fearlessness and he encourages his team not to play by the rules. He leads a team who are driven forward by the stories that inspire people to share in a dream. It is with this philosophy that he’s guided successful marketing and communications campaigns for more than 70 global wineries and regions from a dozen countries. Among his many achievements, Mike holds a WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wine & Spirits and WSET Level 3 Award in Sake. In addition, he is a Certified Wine Educator (CWE) and WSET Certified Educator.
But he’d trade it all to be a Jedi.
Laura has nearly 20 years of business management and execution experience, working in strategy, marketing, and innovation within the B2B and B2C sectors. For a decade she led marketing strategy and execution for several branded portfolios and managed global innovation for Brown-Forman’s $3 billion business.
As founder of Webb Brand Consulting and partner at Okos Partners, she has worked with multitudes of start-ups, private equity portfolio companies, and some of the best known Fortune 500 brands in the world. In a consulting capacity, she helps CEO’s, leadership teams and their organizations craft effective, measurable business and marketing strategies for growth, develop robust product portfolios through innovation, and help leadership teams gain greater alignment and engage their organizations more effectively for growth and productivity.
Laura holds a BA from Colgate University, and a MBA from Vanderbilt University. She is on the board of Mentis, River Charter School and also serves her community by assisting non-profit firms with strategic planning and marketing.
Matt Wood is a member management specialist and also assists winery teams with top-notch communication strategies. Matt has been engaged with the US wine industry since he moved to Napa in the early 1990’s.
Working first with Mark Pope on the second issue of the bounty Hunter Catalogue, he developed their wine club program, while learning about direct to consumer wine sales from scratch.
Moving into the wine industry proper in 1997 he joined Franciscan as a tasting room host. Soon Matt became the Wine Club Manager, then also assumed the duties of Tasting Room Manager.
With the acquisition of Franciscan by Constellation Brands, Matt assumed responsibility for the DTC operations at Simi Winery, followed in 2000 by Ravenswood winery. As Constellation continued to acquire wineries in the early part of the century, Matt’s responsibility grew to cover all aspects of DTC sales as Vice President of DTC Operations.
A move to 1-800 Flowers exposed Matt to more traditional catalog marketing and a much more robust e-commerce model.
Following immediately was the role of VP DTC Sales with Foley Family Wines, where Matt streamlined operations, developed brand appropriate selling strategies and drove a rapid increase in profitability.
After Foley, Matt became CEO of Domaine Chandon and Newton Vineyards, responsible for all winery operations and winery profitability. Matt drove marketing and operational changes which led to record profits in 2014 and 2015.
Matt has demonstrated a thorough understanding of the consumer and how to provide the correct mix of products and offers to engage with them successfully. With exposure to many brands he has developed programs appropriate to $10 wines and $250 wines. Matt stays close to buying trends to understand where the consumer is headed and ensures his programs create and cultivate brand loyalists. Matt has been at the cutting edge of technology; helping to develop an App based loyalty program, using tools like text messaging and has helped many wine brands think out of the box. He challenges current wisdom and seeks to empower clients to meet the future needs of their consumers.
As a member of the DTC Consultant Network, Matt brings a tremendous amount of expertise in all facets of direct wine sales. Matt provides membership program consulting and consumer communications strategies to clients throughout the US.