Home Industry News Releases Speakers Announced for the 2016 DTC Wine Symposium

Speakers Announced for the 2016 DTC Wine Symposium


DTC Wine SymposiumWorkshop Speakers include Senior Winery Marketing Representatives, Legal Experts, Hospitality Directors & Wine Club Managers

Napa, CA, September 23, 2015 – The Steering Committee for the ninth annual Direct to Consumer Wine Symposium is pleased to announce the speaker line up for the 2016 summit taking place January 13-14, 2016 at the Hilton Concord Hotel. www.dtcwinesymposium.com

The 2016 program covers a range of hot-button and timely topics including winery expansion, multi-location tasting rooms, how to optimize telesales and fully leverage off-site events to drive wine club sales. Speakers include:

  • Carolyn Stark, Executive Director of Sonoma County Vintners
  • Chloe Tyer, Membership Manager at Plumpjack, Cade & Odette
  • Michael Brown, Vice President of Consumer Sales at Sokol Blosser Winery
  • Michael Kaiser, Director of Public Affairs of WineAmerica
  • Steve Gross, Vice President, State Relations at Wine Institute
  • Damien Wilson, Hamel Family Chair in Wine Business, Associate Professor at Sonoma State University
  • Jeff Carroll, VP Compliance at ShipCompliant

“I’m delighted to be leading a discussion about winery expansion at this critical juncture,” said Carolyn Stark, Executive Director of Sonoma County Vintners. “In the current political climate, it’s important for wineries to understand how they can best work with policy makers, press and the public to expand our economy while also taking community and agricultural concerns into account.”

“We have a fantastic line up of both speakers and topics” said Karen Barnes, chair of the 2016 summit and founder of Wine Direct Marketing Services. “By drawing on an array of talent, both locally in Napa and Sonoma as well as outside the state, from wineries, law firms, vintner groups and more, we are able to provide conference attendees well-rounded views and actionable insights.”

For more information about the full program and speaker line up, please visit http://dtcwinesymposium.com/program/

While keynote speakers will be announced soon, the 2016 line up of Day 1 and Day 2 Workshop Sessions and speakers includes:

Winery Expansion 2016: Managing the Public, Special Interests and Legal Issues. This panel will provide
different perspectives and experience-based insights into how to balance public and private interests,
including engaging the press and public.

Moderator: Carolyn Stark, Executive Director of Sonoma County Vintners


  • Chris Wade, Real Estate Lawyer at SSL Law Firm, LLP
  • Vicky Farrow, Owner at Amista Vineyards
  • Additional speakers to be announced

Multi-Location Tasting Rooms: Boom or Bust? Considering a second tasting room? This panel of vintners will discuss how they approached this goal, their assumptions, lessons learned, and how it fits into their business models.

Moderator: Damien Wilson, Hamel Family Chair in Wine Business, Associate Professor at Sonoma State University, School of Business & Economics


  • Quinton Jay, Managing Director at Bacchus Consulting Group
  • Laura Booras, General Manager at Riverbench Vineyard and Winery
  • Wendy Keefer, Director – Personal Wine Concierge at Mira
  • George Blanckensee Director of DTC and Hospitality at Chateau Montelena

Telesales Demystified: Is It Right For Your Business? You’ve heard the hype; but is it right for you? This panel will share data on costs, logistics and strategies to make telesales complement their DTC programs.

Moderator: Stephanie Friedman, Director, Consumer Sales & Marketing at Gary Farrell Winery


  • Karen Trippe, Wine Club Manager at Chappellet Vineyard
  • Charlotte Rawa, Customer Service Manager at Treasury Wine Estates
  • Galen Becker Drace, Hospitality and Wine Club Manager at Corison
  • Additional speakers to be announced

Tasting Room Sales Transformation: How to Motivate, Compensate and Train Your Team. This panel will provide insights for wineries large and small on how to train salespeople, create effective incentive programs, and track key metrics for goal-based performance.

Moderator: Chloe Tyer, Membership Manager at Plumpjack, Cade & Odette


  • Geoff Harner, Tasting Room Manager & Wine Club Coordinator, Failla
  • Chris Jahns, Senior Manager, On Property DTC at JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery
  • Brian Shapiro, Hospitality & DTC Manager at Stryker Sonoma
  • Terra Rapoport, Tasting Room Manager at Marimar

Beyond the Cellar Door: Offsite Strategies for Building, Retaining Club Members. This panel of experts will discuss different strategies for moving your club acquisition, conversion and retention strategies off the winery premises using in-market wine events, co-marketing partnerships, and other programs. What works, what fails and why?

Moderator: Brian Teaff, Wine Clubs Manager at Foley


  • Craig Haserot, Proprietor at Sojourn CellarsSonyia Grabski, VP of Sales & Marketing, Sullivan
  • Claire Walsh, Wine Club & Customer Service Director at Vintage Wine Estates

Marketing vs. Tasting Room: Are We Lost In Translation? He said, she said. Marketing and tasting room managers will share the processes and tools that help them make this dichotomy work.

Moderator: Sharon Goldman, Director of Guest Experiences at Signorello


  • Stephanie Peachey, Sr. Director of Marketing at Vintage Wine Estates
  • Michelle Hogan, Marketing Director at Anaba Wines
  • Lisa Barker, Director of Marketing & Public Relations at Miner Family Winery
  • Annette Powell, DTC Manager at La Crema

How are DTC Programs Succeeding for Wineries Outside Napa/Sonoma? How do you start a successful club if you’re located outside Napa and Sonoma Counties? Vintners will share insights and
recommendations for key decisions relative to staffing, growth expectations, marketing, technology, etc.

Moderator: Michael Kaiser, Director of Public Affairs at WineAmerica


  • Melissa Schulte, General Manager at Black Ankle Vineyards
  • Jennifer Breaux Blosser, Sales and Hospitality Director at Breaux Vineyards
  • Michael Brown, Vice President of Consumer Sales at Sokol Blosser Winery

Online registration is available at http://dtcwinesymposium.com/register/. Early Bird pricing is $465 for a 2-day pass, or $365 for Day 2 only. If more than one person from your organization attends, each additional 2-day ticket is only $395, a $70 savings.

About the Direct to Consumer Wine Symposium

The national industry summit on direct marketing and sales is presented by and is a fundraiser for Free the Grapes! After 8 years, the event has raised more than $1 million for Free the Grapes’ PR campaign, and the Coalition for Free Trade’s legal work. These two groups have worked closely with industry representatives and regional associations to streamline onerous regulations and increase the number of legal shipping states from 17 to 42 (43 starting January 2016), which represent 90% of the US population. The DTC Wine Symposium is the primary fundraiser for Free the Grapes! (the Coalition for Free Trade ‘retired’ in 2014). Registration is available at www.dtcwinesymposium.com




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