2014 Conference Sessions
The world of wine is constantly changing. From exciting new breakthroughs in technology to critical issues in sustainability, it is essential that your winery or vineyard remain aware of the trends, challenges and opportunities that are shaping our industry today.
The educational conference sessions featured at the North Coast Wine Industry Expo will highlight changes that have a direct impact on your success in the coming year. Ideas, information and predictions will be presented by some of the most experienced and respected members of the wine and grape community. Our sessions will cover the latest developments in viticulture, finance, production and sales so that you can excel in 2015 and beyond.
Non-Traditional Packaging: The Evolution of Wine on Tap
Pet Projects in the Cellar: Wineries Explore Beer, Cider and Distilled Spirits as Additional Revenue Channels
Wine and the Endangered Species Act (ESA)
What to Expect on the 2015 Financial Front: Mergers and Acquisitions
DTC Technology Solutions: Creating an Engaging Wine Experience Beyond the Tasting Room
Non-Traditional Packaging: The Evolution of Wine on Tap.
Michael Cervin - Author: California Wine Country
Jordan Kivelstadt - Free Flow Wines
Erin O’Brien - City Winery
Packaging is, and always will be, a key component to any successful marketing and sales initiative. This session will focus on the innovative evolution of wine on tap as an increasingly popular and profitable method of wine packaging and distribution. This session’s panelists will offer insights to winery owners, winemakers and sales directors on how to develop a keg wine program or fine tune their current operation.
Moderating this panel will be wine and spirits writer Michael Cervin, author of California Wine Country. Cervin’s unique insight into wine industry trends stems from his work as the wine and spirits writer for The Hollywood Reporter, Contributing Central Coast Editor for The Tasting Panel Magazine, and contributor to Decanter (London), Fine Wine & Liquor (China), Wine & Spirits, Palate Press, and IntoWine. Cervin has served as a wine and spirits judge at numerous wine competitions, and is the restaurant critic and contributing travel writer for the Santa Barbara News-Press as well as the wine and spirits blog Boozehoundz.
Additionally the panel will feature a CEO and winery director who can discuss the multifaceted value of the wine on tap movement. Jordan Kivelstadt, Founder & CEO at Free Flow Wines, is a pioneer and leader in the wine on tap movement and has led the growth of the business since its inception in 2009. Erin O’Brien, Wine Director at City Winery, has worked to incorporate keg wine into City Winery’s existing portfolio and can speak to how wineries interested in expanding their offerings can work to follow this path.
Additional speakers will be coming soon!
Michael Cervin is a wine and spirits writer based in Santa Barbara, and author of “California Wine Country,” and the forthcoming “Santa Barbara Booze.” He is the wine and spirits writer for The Hollywood Reporter, Contributing Central Coast Editor for The Tasting Panel Magazine, and he contributes to Decanter (London), Fine Wine & Liquor (China), Wine & Spirits, Palate Press, and IntoWine – for whom he writes several “Top 100 Most Influential” lists.
He has served as a wine and spirits judge at the Best of Vinho Verde Awards in Portugal, the Taste of Rum Festival in Puerto Rico, the California State Fair Wine Competition, the Central Coast Wine Competition, The San Francisco International Wine Competition, and San Diego International Wine Competition, among others. He is the restaurant critic and contributing travel writer for the Santa Barbara News-Press and his wine and spirits blog, Boozehoundz, reviews beverages from across the globe.
Jordan Kivelstadt founded Free Flow Wines with Dan Donahoe in 2009 and has been leading the growth of the business since the beginning. Based in Napa, California, Free Flow Wines is both the pioneer and leader in the wine on tap movement, and the company’s process of kegging, preserving and serving wine on tap has been vetted and approved by the world’s most respected wineries. More than 450 wines are available in the Free Flow format, whose environmentally friendly system has saved over 2,674,000 bottles from US landfills.
Kivelstadt was trained as an engineer at Tufts University before moving on to management consulting. In 2006, he began his career in the wine industry as production manager for The Donum Estate. Since then Kivelstadt has made wine in four countries, founded his own bottle brand called Kivelstadt Cellars, manages his family’s organic 10-acre vineyard and continues to innovate in the industry he loves.
Speaker 3 Bio.
Speaker 4 Bio.
Pet Projects in the Cellar: Wineries Explore Beer, Cider and Distilled Spirits as Additional Revenue Channels.
Jim Crooks - Firestone BarrelWorks
Paul Scotto - Pacific Coast Ciders
Alex Villicana - Re:Find Distillery
Tom Wark - Fermentation: The Daily Wine Blog
From distilled spirits to ciders to sour beer, our speakers will share how creative passions have come to influence their business undertakings. Winemakers and vineyard owners will leave with a better understanding of how some pet projects became an actual extension of the winery business and how they might get started on a new project of their own.
The panel will feature spokesmen from the beer, cider, distilled spirits and blogging industries. Jim Crooks, Master Blender at Firestone BarrelWorks, will explain how his brewing team’s experiments grew from a pet project into a valuable extension of the Firestone Walker brand. Paul Scotto, co-founder of Pacific Coast Ciders, has worked in tandem with his brother to develop a dedicated line of hard ciders. Alex Villicana, owner of Re:Find Distillery, will describe his foray into the craft distilling business and his process of transforming his winery’s saignée into top-shelf Vodka and Gin. Tom Wark, author of Fermentation: The Daily Wine Blog, will further expound on the exciting benefits that pet projects can bring the table.
Jim Crooks has always had a fascination for bread yeast. Graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a Food Science degree in 1997, his knowledge of what yeast could accomplish in bread led him to home brewing. Crooks began his career at SLO Brewing Co. in 1999 and was hired by Firestone Walker Brewing Company in 2001 as Quality Control Manager. Over the course of 13 years he managed the quality division as annual production grew from 12,000bbls to over 100,000bbls a year.
In 2007 he began working on a side project creating traditional Belgian Lambics. The project, now called Barrelworks, was fully realized in 2012 when operations were moved to a new location in Buellton, CA. Barrelworks is now home to over 800 wine barrels filled with beer in all different stages of maturation. Crooks now holds the title of Masterblender, and is responsible for all aspects of beer production at Barrelworks.
Paul Scotto Bio.
Alex Villicana began his winemaking career in 1990 in Paso Robles. The first Villicana label debuted in 1993, a Cabernet Sauvignon from the famed Tchelistcheff vineyard at HMR.In 1996, after two years of searching for the perfect piece of property to plant a vineyard, Alex and his wife, Monica, purchased 72 acres on the west side of Paso Robles.
In 2000, they broke ground on a small winery in the Adelaida Hills, and in 2002 after ten years of renting production space they opened their own tasting room. By 2011 they had their first crush, and soon thereafter they ventured into the craft distilling business. By capturing their winery’s saignée—the free-run juice removed to improve wine quality before fermentation—they distilled it into top-shelf Vodka and Gin under the brand name Re:Find. Alex and Monica can be found pouring their wine and spirits in their tasting room on Adelaida Road.
Tom Wark Bio.
Wine and the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Peter Kiel - Ellison, Schneider & Harris
Ted Winfield - Ted Winfield & Associates
This interactive session will explore the Endangered Species Act’s impact on grape growing and how specific wineries have been affected. The timely topic offers strategies and recommendations for vineyard owners, winery owners and principals who find themselves facing this important issue.
The panel will feature a lawyer and a biologist who can share their direct experiences of how the ESA impacts the wine industry. Peter Kiel, partner at Ellison, Schneider & Harris, will examine the ESA from a legal perspective and provide insight on what vineyard and winery owners should be aware of. Ted Winfield, sole proprietor at Ted Winfield & Associates, holds a Ph.D. in biology has been consulting on environmental issues since 1972, including addressing compliance with the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and other environmental statutes.
Additional speakers will be coming soon!
Peter Kiel Bio.
Dr. Ted P. Winfield has been consulting on environmental issues since 1972, including addressing compliance with the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and other environmental statutes. He is the Sole Proprietor at Ted Winfield & Associates and has consulted internationally on projects throughout the United States, Germany and Colombia.
Dr. Winfield’s winery background includes conducting numerous biological resource evaluations for potential vineyards, vineyard replants and winery developments throughout California and Oregon, with a focus on possible effects related to (1) plant and animal species protected by the federal and various state endangered species acts, and other statutes designed to protect biological resources, and (2) features protected under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act such as wetlands. Dr. Winfield has also assisted in the establishment of numerous conservation and mitigation banks in Sonoma County established to provide protected habitat for endangered plants and the endangered California tiger salamander.
Speaker 3 Bio.
Speaker 4 Bio.
Tony Linegar - So. Co. Agricultural Commissioner / Sealer of Weights and Measures
Allison Jordan - Executive Director at the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and Vice President of Environmental Affairs for Wine Institute
Matthew Crafton - Winemaker at Chateau Montelena Winery
This session will explore the increasing need to follow sustainable practices and will cover several sustainability certifications currently available to the wine industry. This panel offers insights, advice and resources to winery and vineyard owners and managers who desire a more sustainable business operation.
Moderating this panel will be Tony Linegar, Sonoma County’s Agricultural Commissioner / Sealer of Weights and Measures. Linegar has worked in the agricultural sector for nearly two decades, including positions for Shasta, Mendocino, and Sonoma County. He comes equipped with a deep knowledge base covering both the California wine industry and the sustainability issues and certifications that define the California region.
Additionally the panel will feature a representative from the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and a winemaker. Allison Jordan, Executive Director at the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and Vice President of Environmental Affairs for Wine Institute, heads up the NGO that was incorporated in 2003 by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers to promote environmental and social responsibility in the state’s wine industry. Matthew Crafton, Winemaker at Chateau Montelena Winery, will further discuss the sustainable certification process from a winemaking perspective.
Additional speakers will be coming soon!
Tony Linegar was appointed as Sonoma County’s Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights and Measures in 2011. He began his career in 1995 as an Agricultural Inspector I with the Shasta County Department of Agriculture. In 2001, he accepted a position with the Mendocino County Department of Agriculture as an Agricultural Inspector III, and was promoted the following year to Assistant Agricultural Commissioner. The Board of Supervisors in Mendocino County appointed Linegar as the Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer in 2009, where he served until beginning his current position.
Linegar currently serves as Chair for the California Agricultural Commissioner and Sealers Association’s Food and Resource Protection Committee. Previously, he served a term on the State Board of Directors of Agricultural Commissioners. Linegar graduated from Chico State University in 1993 with a B.S. degree in Biological Science. He possesses eight licenses required for Agricultural Biologist and Standards Specialist and is licensed by the CA Department of Food and Agriculture.
Allison Jordan is Vice President of Environmental Affairs for Wine Institute, a public policy association of nearly 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses. She also serves as Executive Director of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, a non-governmental organization (NGO) incorporated in 2003 by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers to promote environmental and social responsibility in the state’s wine industry.
Previously, Jordan was a Senior Associate at SureHarvest and served as Vice President and Acting Executive Director of Resource Renewal Institute. Since 2001, she has been a fellow in the German Marshall Fund's American Marshall Memorial Fellowship program. She holds a Masters in Public Policy from the Goldman School at UC Berkeley and a B.A. in Psychology from Allegheny College. Jordan and her husband are founding partners of Giordano Bros., a San Francisco restaurant group with North Beach and Mission locations.
Matthew Crafton Bio.
Speaker 4 Bio.
What to Expect on the 2015 Financial Front: Mergers and Acquisitions.
Clay Popko - American AgCredit’s Vineyard and Winery Finance Group
Joe Ciatti - Zepponi & Company
John Mackie - Carle, Mackie, Power & Ross, LLP
This year’s Finance & Economic Outlook session will delve into current events that will impact the wine industry in 2015 and beyond. Financial thought leaders representing the North Coast wine industry will weigh in on trends specific to the financial road that lies ahead. This collaborative session will provide attendees with short and long-term predictions and the tools necessary to prepare for a successful 2015.
The panel will feature financial leaders from the agricultural, wine and legal sectors. Clay Popko, Vice President of Lending at American AgCredit’s Vineyard and Winery Finance Group, will provide an outlook on the Napa Valley region stemming from his 20+-years of career experience. Joe Ciatti, Principal at Zepponi & Company, has over 40 years of wine industry experience, a deep network of industry influencers, and a long track-record of high profile vineyard and winery transactions. John Mackie, Managing Partner at Carle, Mackie, Power & Ross, LLP, will provide a business law perspective garnered from practice’s focuses on finance and lending, business organization and mergers and acquisitions.
Clay Popko is Vice President of lending at American AgCredit’s Vineyard and Winery Finance Group in St. Helena, California. In this role, he is responsible for serving Napa County’s diverse agricultural financing needs. Popko provides a wide range of financing options for businesses in Napa County, including but not limited to real estate acquisition, winery construction, vineyard development, crop financing and equipment acquisition financing. He has served in strategic roles at American AgCredit’s vineyard and winery group for over two decades, including previous positions such as Senior Loan Officer.
Prior to joining American AgCredit, Popko obtained a B.S. in Finance from San Diego State University, in addition to receiving a 30-unit certificate in Accounting from Golden Gate University. In his spare time, Popko enjoys experimenting as a home winemaker and hobby grape grower. He was born and raised in St. Helena.
Joe Ciatti has over forty years of wine industry experience, a deep network of industry influencers, and a long track-record of high profile vineyard and winery transactions in California, Oregon, and Washington. At Zepponi & Company, Ciatti’s long-term relationships and proven track record of successes have proven a great asset during negotiations. His understanding of the wine industry aids in creating mutually beneficially opportunities for both buyers and sellers.
Ciatti was born to be in the wine industry: his grandfather owned Sonoma County's Geyser Peak Winery for several decades after Prohibition ended. Ciatti’s early accomplishments include establishing Joseph W. Ciatti Company and growing it into the world’s largest international brokerage of grapes and bulk wines. In 2005, Ciatti became Chairman and CEO of Vintage Wine Trust, a real estate investment trust devoted to vineyard and winery properties. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon.
John Mackie is a business lawyer whose practice focuses on finance and lending, business organization, mergers and acquisitions, wine and food law, and real estate. Mackie is the Managing Partner of Carle, Mackie, Power & Ross, LLP, a 15-lawyer firm located in Sonoma County, California.
He began his law career in public service with San Francisco’s Department of City Planning, and worked for ten years in government as California’s Deputy Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing. Mackie practiced real estate and business law in several Bay Area firms, including Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon and Marron Reid, before helping to found his own firm in 1998. Mackie works closely with many non-profit and trade organizations. He is a founder and board member of the North Bay Angels, and holds posts such as Trustee and Chair of the finance committee of Sonoma Academy and Trustee of The Oliver Ranch Foundation.
Speaker 4 Bio.
DTC Technology Solutions: Creating an Engaging Wine Experience Beyond the Tasting Room.
Paul Mabray - VinTank
Miryam Chae - Constellation Wines
Bridgett Amadeck - bLoyal
Andrew Kamphuis - Wine Direct
This session features experts from the technology sector of the wine industry and will focus on the increasingly important role technology plays in the tasting room. Winery Owners, Tasting Room Managers and staff will learn how cutting-edge tools can be used to build consumer loyalty, enhance the customer experience, and increase direct to consumer sales.
The panel will feature technology sector leaders who specialize in product development and DTC strategy. Paul Mabray, Chief Strategy Officer at VinTank, aims to revolutionize the wine industry by bridging the gap between wine and the digital world. Miryam Chae, Director of DTC Sales at Constellation Wines, will discuss ways in which wineries can use technology to access and analyze consumer behavior. Bridgett Amadeck, Marketing Manager at bLoyal, will illustrate how bLoyal’s unique technology works to increase revenue by forming and capitalizing on a loyal customer base. Andrew Kamphuis, Chief Operations Officer at Wine Direct, will discuss the key role of a winery’s software and product offerings. Additional speakers will be coming soon!
Paul Mabray is the Chief Strategy Officer for VinTank, where his leadership is the driver for the overall vision, strategic direction and product development for the company. This role places Mabray in a key position to connect emerging technologies for the wine industry, a field he has worked in for over 20 years. Mabray’s previous experiences include positions at Napa Ale Works, Niebaum~Coppola, WineShopper/Wine.com and acting as the North American Beverage Consultant for Sumitomo Corporation of America.
In 2002 Mabray founded Inertia, one of the first major companies to bridge the barrier between wineries and their customers. Inertia successfully evolved into Winedirect.com and is now the foremost leader for enabling direct to consumer for the wine industry. VinTank is a continuation of Mabray’s desire to help revolutionize the wine industry by bridging the gap between wine and the digital world. He lives in Napa with his wife Angelica and their four children.
Miryam Chae has been on the DTC side of the wine industry for over 11 years. Chae began her wine industry career with Treasury Wine Estates in 2003, where she transformed the wine club business model into a traditional direct marketing channel. She soon became Director of Consumer Marketing, leading all DTC channels.
In 2010, Chae joined Constellation Brands where she is currently the Director of DTC Marketing, overseeing 7 wine clubs and over 11 ecommerce brands. She has spent the last few years testing and learning new data integration points and CRM systems in order to achieve a single view of her customers across all brands and channels.
Prior to joining the wine industry, Chae managed marketing programs at several different companies based in San Francisco. She gained a variety of experience in traditional direct marketing with an international publishing company, brand marketing for Visa as well as database marketing for KPMG.
Bridgett Amadeck Bio.
Andrew Kamphuis Bio.
2014 Session Director
Amanda S. Diefenderfer
Big Red Marketing
Amanda S. Diefenderfer started Big Red Marketing in July of 2012. Drawing on personal, educational and professional experience within the wine, lifestyle and tourism industries, Big Red Marketing works with clients to develop marketing solutions with a particular focus in strategic planning, copywriting, events and digital marketing.
Diefenderfer’s professional career first began with internships with the Wine Institute and Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance (PRWCA), allowing her to gain experience that led to her quickly excelling in her career. Following graduation, she was offered a full-time position with the PRWCA as the promotions coordinator. While working at the PRWCA, Diefenderfer was approached by a local print company and offered a position as the Business Integration Manager, here she was tasked with the goal to develop new business strategy that would allow the company to stay relevant to the quickly evolving needs of their clients.
Recently, Diefenderfer participated in SLO Leadership Class XXI, actively supports the local chapter of the Santa Clara University Alumni Association and attended the Leon and Sylvia Panetta Institute’s Education for Leadership.
Amanda Diefenderfer has named her company after the family ranch she grew up on in Paso Robles – Big Red Vineyard. During her four years at Santa Clara University she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Science in Commerce with a concentration in Marketing.