Home Wine Business Editorial WIN Expo 2021—Increased Focus on Educational Content for the Wine Industry

WIN Expo 2021—Increased Focus on Educational Content for the Wine Industry


December’s conference kicks off with a new format to engage professionals in all sectors of wine.

Barbara Barrielle

Wine Industry Network continues its tradition as a leader in wine and wine-related conferences with its annual Wine Industry Expo Trade Show (WIN Expo), scheduled for December 2, 2021 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. This year’s event includes an increased focus on education, with industry seminars, lectures, and interactive winemakers’ trial tastings.

WINExpo trial tasting
WIN Expo trial tasting

For the first time, WIN Expo will offer four tracks for attendees—Winemaking, Sales & Marketing, Strategy & Leadership, and Viticulture—the latter of which is a new addition to the program. The day will be a learning and sharing vehicle no matter what segment of the wine industry attendees work in or want to explore. WINExpo’s importance to the wine industry means that the voices and ideas that are shaping the future of winemaking and wine marketing come together to share their experiences, knowledge and predictions for the future. Anyone working in the wine industry should be at this conference.

Sustainability will be a key topic at this year’s event. Heather Clauss, chief commercial officer of Free Flow Wines, leads a panel of esteemed sustainability leaders, including Haley Duncan, sustainability manager at Silver Oak Cellars and Julien Gervreau, vice president of sustainability at Jackson Family Wines.  

Julien Gervreau
Julien Gervreau,VP of sustainability / JFW

Jackson Family Wines, in particular, has come out of the gate with their commitment to the environment and hopes that others will follow their lead. “We acknowledge that climate change is a major threat, and the science is very clear that we all need to play a role to reduce our carbon footprint and limit global temperature rise,” says Gervreau. “The wine industry has a great opportunity to show leadership within the agricultural community by creating and advancing solutions to decarbonize our businesses.”

In the same vein, the Vineyard and Growers track will feature a panel of industry experts and scientists to discuss the hot topic of drought management in California. 

Wine Industry Advisor managing editor, Stacy Briscoe, will host a panel discussion on regenerative farming with industry professionals who have implemented this conscientious farming method into their own vineyard estates. Elizabeth Whitlow, executive director of the Regenerative Organic Alliance—the only regenerative agriculture certifying body—will also be present to discuss the Alliance’s initiatives and best practices toward certification.

For those interested in the latest information on sales and marketing, the session exploring “omnichannel marketing” will focus on how wine brands can create more brand awareness by utilizing multiple platforms, allowing consumers to engage with their products, no matter where they are.

Justin Witt Affinity Creative Group
Justin Witt, creative director / Affinity Creative Group

“If the past two years taught us anything, it underscores the importance of wineries creating a seamless brand experience beyond the tasting room,” says Justin Witt, creative director of Affinity Creative Group. “The Affinity team is looking forward to discussing ‘branding in an omnichannel world’ with our panelists on December 2nd, in an effort to help brands enrich customer relationships through omnichannel marketing. We hope to educate the audience on how to authentically connect with their consumers, both on and offline in a harmonious way.”

Reaching new customers is always a touchpoint for wineries, and that is no less true coming out of a worldwide pandemic where old marketing beliefs were tossed in the pursuit of new ways to reach buyers. Although most marketers may say they “never want to do a Zoom tasting again,” how can the industry reach those illusive millennial and Gen-X consumers? The mobile e-commerce session promises to enlighten marketers on increasing their DTC presence where and how wine buyers want their information—in the palm of their hand.

This year’s increased focus on wine industry education comes just as Stacy Briscoe has come to Wine Industry Advisor as managing editor. “The goal is to have the educational seminars, panel discussions, and tastings act as a reflection to the high-standard, quality content produced on our editorial platform,” Briscoe says. “WIN’s goal has always been to be the leading resource for our diverse wine industry—whether at in-person events or online on the Advisor.”

Registration and more information about WIN Expo can be found on the event website, including a complete list of session descriptions and speakers. Register here.


Barbara Barrielle
Barbara Barrielle was a longtime publicist in sports and wine before going to the other side as a wine, travel and entertainment writer. She also produces films and has a documentary “Crushed: Climate Change and the Wine Country Fires” releasing in 2021. Current publications Barbara writes for are AARP Magazine, Northwest Travel & Life, East Hampton Star, Napa Valley Register, Oregon Wine Press as well as Wine Industry Advisor. She lives in Healdsburg, travels extensively and studies wine and languages.
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