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Experts Answer—State of the Wine Industry

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This Expert Q & A features Brian Clements, vice president and partner of Turrentine Brokerage, and Dale Stratton, president of Wine Market Council, both of whom will be speaking at this year’s WINExpo, scheduled for December 2, 9 am to 4 pm, at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, Calif. For more information, including a complete list of session descriptions and speakers, visit the event website. Register here

Wine Industry Advisor (WIA): When it comes to market data and consumer sales, were there any unexpected trends in 2021? If so, what is the most significant trend you saw that you think our audience should be aware of?

Brian Clements (BC): In general, for most major varieties statewide, the 2021 yields were below winery expectations. Well below in some cases.This is one the of the reasons the grape and bulk markets have been very active all year long. So far, the quality feedback from wineries in very positive.

Dale Stratton (DS): Spirits are outpacing Wine and Beer by a significant margin in growth. This is especially true in the on-premise as operators reopen after the pandemic.

WIA: Looking toward 2022, what is one significant trend the wine industry should prepare for in the coming year?

BC: Taking into consideration the short crop of 2021 and with limited quantities of bulk wine currently on the market for sale, the bulk and grape markets will continue to be active to very active in 2022.

DS: The shift in sales across channels, DTC, e-commerce, off/on-premise, will continue to be in flux but have changed for the long term.

WIA: What is the one thing you hope WINExpo attendees take away from your session, State of the North Coast Wine Industry?

BC: Moving forward, the grape and bulk wine markets for most major varieties will, most likely, be in balance or in short positions. Understanding the markets in relation to what that means for attendees’ respective business will be important for 2022 and beyond.

DS: Growth in the wine category is going to be more difficult going forward and we, as an industry, need to address how we are going to overcome current and future challenges.

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Brian Clements, vice president and partner / Turrentine Brokerage
Brian Clements, vice president and partner / Turrentine Brokerage

Brian Clements is vice president and partner at Turrentine Brokerage. His responsibilities include managing Turrentine’s industry-leading grape brokerage team and working with clients throughout California, including the North Coast, Central Coast and the Central Valley.

Clements is an expert in how to effectively balance risks in a volatile market and how to anticipate supply cycles. He has personally negotiated well over $500,000,000 in wine grape contracts, including spot market sales, multiple-year agreements and planting contracts.

A graduate of Fresno State with a Bachelor of Science degree in Plant Science/Viticulture, he lives in Sonoma County and enjoys time with his family and participating in tennis, racquetball and scuba diving.

Dale Stratton, president / Wine Market Council
Dale Stratton, president / Wine Market Council

Dale Stratton is the president of Wine Market Council and brings 35 years of experience to his role as an independent consultant. Stratton recently retired from Constellation Brands where he was the vice president, commercial insights, overseeing consumer and shopper insights, consumer affairs, business analytics, market research, category management initiatives and the wine sensory program.

Stratton is currently involved in projects with Azur Associates, Emetry, Wine Market Council, and Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America’s SipSource Report.

He 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.

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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.

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