Home Industry News Releases Wine Industry Sales Symposium (WISS) a Success

Wine Industry Sales Symposium (WISS) a Success


In-person event delivered actionable takeaways for attendees seeking to increase sales and make genuine customer connections.

May 15, 2023 (Healdsburg, Calif.) – Last week’s Wine Industry Sales Symposium, presented by Wine Industry Network (WIN), proved to be an unparalleled platform for learning, networking, charting the course towards success in the dynamic world of wine sales to its more than 350 attendees. The one-day educational conference, held at the Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country in Santa Rosa, Calif., featured wine industry experts speaking on all aspects of sales and marketing, including 3-Tier and direct channel strategies, packaging innovations, and pricing and public relations programs.

Paul Mabray and Justin Noland presenting: “What Artificial Intelligence Can Do for Your Wine Brand”

The event buzzed with energy as attendees soaked up knowledge from seasoned wine industry experts. Engaging presentations and interactive discussions delved into the latest trends and tactics shaping the sales landscape. Participants left the symposium armed with a treasure trove of actionable strategies to drive their businesses forward.

“The wine industry has always been and will always be very competitive, but even during the most challenging times, there are brands that continue to out-perform the pack,” says George Christie, President of Wine Industry Network. ”These successful brands are a direct result of staying better informed on trends, best practices and key insights, coupled with a lot of hard work. Many of these companies were represented at the conference, and we look forward to building on the success of this year’s event to make WISS 2024 even better.”

Nadia Kinkade, Leah Varvaro, Susan DeMatei presenting: “Keys to Growth in a Flat Wine Market – Balancing Retention and Acquisition Strategies”

Leveraging experts from all facets of the wine industry, the program began with an in-depth look at how the wine category is performing overall and what the key indicators could mean for near-future sales. The market for wine is flat right now, with baby boomers continuing to lead market share, but that will change in the coming decades. Looking forward, there’s opportunity for growth not just in younger generations but also in less obvious audiences. 

Among the key takeaways was the notion that the competitive set has grown — wine now competes with beer, spirits, RTDs and even cannabis — so finding a way to reach new consumers is vital. These consumers can be found in myriad ways, including experiential marketing, tech savvy outreach, expanding your offerings and, sometimes, boots on the ground in unexpected locales.  

Sandra Beals, Tosha Norris, Dan Zepponi, Cathy Huyghe presenting: “Leveraging DTC Sales Insights to Grow Sales Nationally”

“Stop flying over the flyover states,” said Dan Zepponi, president of Cuvaison and Two Estates Wine Collective. “We’re a small brand on a big dance floor. When I traveled to Memphis, I went out onto the market and went to the best account. There are a lot of good restaurants in places like Memphis, Raleigh-Durham and Bend. I took a few people out to dinner, and that market took off. They’re glad to see you because people don’t usually go there, so they listen to your story. You can be the star on the dance floor.”

Many speakers encouraged attendees to look beyond the wine category for ideas and employees. “Be part of the larger conversation,” advised Alisha Zaveri, account director for Colangelo & Partners. “If you want to reach a younger or more diverse audience, hire [a younger and more diverse workforce]. Bring in people from outside the wine sphere and listen to their ideas. Diverse teams build diverse brands.”

Kristen Reitzell, Jermaine Stone, Alisha Zaveri, Amanda McCrossin, AJ Resnick, presenting: “Strategies & Tactics for Engaging New Wine Enthusiasts”

Throughout the day, it was obvious attendees were thrilled to be back at an in-person event. Overheard conversations included comments such as, “I’ve missed this,” and, “We really needed this.” In addition to the conference sessions, attendees had the opportunity to visit with exhibiting companies, enjoy a beautiful outdoor lunch prepared by the Hyatt Regency Chef and attend a special end-of-day networking social featuring local wines.

A few select sessions will be rebroadcast June 14, 2023, for those who were unable to attend. Sign up for Event Updates to receive a notification when the presentations are available (winesalessymposium.com/updates)

Wine Industry Network would like to thank event sponsors RedChirp, The Digest of Wine & Spirits Law and Comerica Bank for their support in bringing this event to fruition.


About Wine Industry Network (WIN)

Wine Industry Network is THE business resource for the North American Wine Industry sharing news and information, supplying products and service resources, and providing education & industry networking opportunities.




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