speakers 2019






Leslie sbrocco=


Leslie Sbrocco

An award-winning author, speaker, consultant and television host, Leslie Sbrocco is known for her entertaining and educational approach to wine. Voted one of the Top 100 most influential people in the American wine business, Sbrocco’s engaging personality, deep wine knowledge and unique ability to connect with readers and viewers are her trademarks.

She has written two books and is working on a third. As host of the PBS restaurant review series “Check Please! Bay Area” Sbrocco has won a coveted James Beard award, three Taste Awards, and three Emmy awards in the span of 11 seasons on air. She appears frequently on national television outlets and is a regular guest on NBC’s “Today Show.” She is currently filming “Taste This!,” a new digital drinks series for PBS. Sbrocco has built wine programs for and consulted with companies such as Target, Virgin America Airlines, Harry & David and Kimpton Hotels.


ChuckHouse


Chuck House

Chuck House is the co-founder, along with his brother-in-law Jeffrey Caldewey, of Icon Design Group, an internationally acclaimed design and marketing firm specializing in wine packaging and brand development.

He has clients on five continents and has created labels for numerous wine brands including Frog's Leap, Bonny Doon Vineyard, Tenuta di Ornellaia, Vina Cobos and Stag's Leap Wine Cellars. In the wine hospitality sector, he developed the brand identity and graphic standards for Meadowood Napa Valley and The Napa Valley Reserve.


He's quite a bit older than you'd guess from looking at this photograph.


Lance Cutler


Lance Cutler

Lance Cutler has been a working winemaker in Sonoma County for 35 years. He has been a contributing editor for Wine Business Monthly for more than 10 years. His unique perspective on winemaking has led to our Industry Roundtable series and our Varietal Focus series. Cutler is also the author of four books, including The Tequila Lover’s Guide to Mexico.


Kelly Nielsen


Kelly Cohn Nielsen

Nielsen is focused on combining business and analysis acumen with creativity to provide compelling insights and consultation. Her passion is partnering with clients to address their business needs and drive innovation and renovation success. She has worked with a wide range of clients in the consumer packaged goods and alcohol beverage industries.

Her specialties are innovation consulting, study design, custom quantitative research, consumer package goods (with particular focus and experience in alcohol beverage industry), volume forecasting, and driving revenue.


Peggy Gsell


Peggy Gsell

For the last 20 years, Gsell has worked across a variety of different functions and departments within the wine industry. She is currently employed at Nielsen, a leading supplier of sales data, analytics, and consumer insight. As a Client Business Partner, she has worked closely with wine clients over the last five years to better understand industry trends and uncover opportunities for growth.

Prior to Nielsen, Gsell worked at Boisset Family Estates, Treasury Wine Estates, and Sebastiani Vineyards in Brand Management, Sales Reporting, and Market Research roles. She has her B.S. in Business Administration from U.C. Berkeley and her M.B.A. from Boston University.


Robert Williams


Robert L. Williams, Jr., Ph.D.

After 20 years as a practitioner in Fortune 50/500 companies, for the last 16 years Dr. Robert Williams has taught Marketing and Business courses, most recently at the AACSB-accredited Sigmund Weis School of Business at Susquehanna University. He has published in peer-reviewed journals, co-authored a textbook (Palgrave Macmillan) and written numerous textbook chapters on marketing and management; as well as presented at international conferences and workshops.

He is a Partner and Co-founder of Mar-Kadam Associates, a firm that specializes in branding, rebranding, and renaming in service industries and entrepreneurial ventures, GastroGatherings.com (focused on gastro-tourism research and consulting) and WICresearch.com, which is a leader in the wine-in-can market. Recent work includes invited presentation at B.E.V. NY; consulting for ProWein; hosting the country’s 1st bottled vs. canned wine blind taste test, and judging at the International Canned Wine Competition. He can be contacted at www.WICresearch.com.


Stacy Briscoe


Stacy Briscoe

Stacy Briscoe is the assistant editor of Wine Business Monthly. She has been with the company since 2018 and writing about wine professionally since 2015, freelancing for multiple publications including The San Francisco Chronicle, Edible Communications, Napa Sonoma Magazine, among others. She also maintains her own website, BriscoeBites.com, dedicated to wine reviews and tasting notes.

In addition to wine writing, Briscoe contributes as a freelance editor for the independent publisher She Writes Press. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English-Language Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz.


Maggie Tillman


Maggie Tillman

Maggie Tillman has worked alongside her father Bob Tillman at Alta Colina since 2011. While Bob oversees the Estate Vineyard and winemaking, Maggie manages nearly everything else.

After spending her undergraduate years at New York University, and less than a year in the Bay Area after college, Maggie moved to Paso Robles in 2008 to devote herself to the business of wine. She worked with several area wineries, including Villicana, Linne Calodo, and L’Aventure before taking the reins at Alta Colina.

Now she’s the point person for Alta Colina’s members and the Trailer Pond, the chief winery party thrower, marketer, sales rep, the Trailer Pond’s point person and Alta Colina’s social media mastermind.

When not working to further solidify Alta Colina as one of Paso Robles’ premier, sustainable, estate-grown Rhone producers, you’ll find her serving on local community boards, performing some amazing party tricks, and staunchly defending the use of the Oxford comma.


Janu Goelz


Janu Goelz

Winemaker and Owner Janu Goelz opened Alara Cellars in October 2017. Within just a year of opening, Janu received numerous high scores and praise for her wines. The 2017 Grenache Blanc won Best of Class, Best White Wine, Double Gold and the Best of Show Award at the Central Coast Wine Competition. Wine Enthusiast gave her 7 ratings that were 90 points or above.

In 2019, Wine Business Monthly included Alara Cellars in their Annual Top 10 Hot Brands list for 2018. She has been listed as one of the new up and coming winemakers to watch. Alara Cellars is open at The Stomping Ground in Gilroy, CA on Saturdays and Sundays from 12-5pm.


Chip Forsythe


Chip Forsythe

Chip Forsythe founded and exited two wineries (SloDownWines.com & RecklessLoveWines.com). These brands are still being sold in major chains nationally. He has a degree in Enology and Viticulture and more than 15 years of wine industry experience.

Forsythe has spent the last 2 years pioneering alcohol removal and cannabis infusions.


Landon McPherson


Landon McPherson

McPherson was born and raised in Sonoma County and has found that his passion for food, wine, and all things Wine Country lifestyle was the perfect collection of passions that would soon drive the launch of Harvest Card, a luxury experienced-based wine country membership. Getting his start in corporate/social hospitality, McPherson always focused on building relationships and promoting the local artisans. He continued building relationships in his community by working in capacities of marketing, public relations, and sales.

McPherson is a founding board member of Sonoma Family Meal, a non-profit that was born out of the fires of October 2017 that has served over 180,000 chef-prepared meals to fire survivors and provide disaster-relief nourishment to Sonoma County residents. McPherson is also the recipient of the 2019 North Bay Business Journal’s annual ‘Forty Under 40.’


Marc Gallo


Marc Gallo

Marc Gallo is Vice President of Marketing managing Trade Marketing, Private Brands and Innovation for Trinchero Family Estates in Napa, California. Gallo and his team have developed a growing portfolio of Private Brand offerings for customers including Walmart, Sam’s Club, Target, Winn Dixie and Albertson’s Safeway companies.

Trinchero Family Estates was recently awarded an Impact “Hot Brand Award” for their highly successful launch of the California Roots brand in partnership with the Target corporation. The Trinchero team are passionate about building customized brand solutions using the same rigor, creative energy and quality focus deployed in developing national brands.

Gallo has been with Trinchero Family Estates for 19 years. Prior to joining Trinchero, he worked for 10 years in the advertising field with a varied portfolio of food and beverage clients. He lives in Napa Valley with his wife Jennifer and his son Nico.


Aaron Fein


Aaron Fein

Born and raised in New Jersey, Fein came to the wine business after graduating from UNLV and 20 years in hospitality management.

He began his wine journey with Barefoot Cellars helping lead the company to nearly 1M cases as National Sales Director and the eventual sale to E&J Gallo. Following this he worked with Constellation Brands, Kendall-Jackson, Purple Wine Company and Banfi Vintners in similar capacities.

Fein and his wife Kym live in Petaluma, California with their daughter Sydney. He enjoys camping, golf, cycling, cooking and all the delicious fruits the wine industry offers.


Cynthia Sterling


Cynthia Sterling

Cynthia Sterling is Creative Director for the brand design team at Affinity Creative Group, a leading agency based on Mare Island, California serving wine, spirits, beer and other image-intensive categories. Affinity specializes in branding and package design, digital media, and retail activation marketing services.

Using her 25+ years of design experience in the wine and spirits arena, Sterling works closely with clients to clarify their brand vision, articulate brand personality and establish core brand attributes.

Sterling holds a BFA in graphic design from the California College of the Arts. After spending her formative years in the beachside community of Santa Cruz, Sterling developed a love of wine, to the extent she has called Napa home for most of her adult life. In what little spare time she carves away from client assignments, she loves to garden, sketch, and practice her not-quite-fluent Spanish skills.