We will be issuing a Call for Speakers for our 2019 conference shortly. In the meantime, below are just some of the speakers at the 2018 Wine Bloggers Conference.
Publisher and Executive Editor of Wine Industry Insight
Lew is currently Publisher and Executive Editor of Wine Industry Insight, as well as Chairman of the Center for Research on Environmental Chemicals in Humans. Wine Industry Insight’s daily News Fetch email briefing enjoys one of the largest daily subscribership (25,000+) in the North American wine industry. He founded Wine Business Monthly in 1991 and Wines West, a Los Angeles-based wine importer/wholesaler/distributor specializing in high-end Italian brands.
Lew has served as a top aide to a U.S. Senator and a state governor, run Congressional races, worked as a Washington correspondent (Ottaway/Dow-Jones, States News Service), a columnist for Gannett, The Wall Street Journal Online, CBS Marketwatch and TheStreet.Com. He has served on the faculties at UCLA and Cornell University, authored 22 published books including The French Paradox and Beyond, the Wrath of Grapes and several bestselling thrillers (LewisPerdue.Com).
Lew is currently developing Clans, a patent-pending recommendation algorithm that is far more accurate than any other in use for wine, music, books, movies and other products. He is currently Co-Principal Investigator, Stealth Syndromes Human Study and has recently wrapped up three years as Chief Marketing Officer at TM Technologies.
Introduction to Walla Walla
General Manager & Founding Partner, Bergevin Lane Winery
Annette Bergevin loves the wine business—everything about it. The craft of winemaking. The almost magical way it makes any meal or moment memorable. Good friends to drink it with—and sell it to, too! Her family has deep roots in the Walla Walla Valley, over 150 years! A fifth-generation Walla Walla native, co-founding Bergevin Lane Vineyards in 2002 was the fulfillment of a long-time dream, one that started with her father. “In my younger days he would share amazing wines from his collection,” she says. “That’s when I discovered how wonderful the wine world could be.”
Since founding Buty Winery in 2000, Nina Buty has helped to define the vision for the winery’s acclaimed blends, the philosophy that guides their creation and the aesthetic sensibility that informs every aspect of Buty. In addition to the big picture elements that have shaped the success of Buty, Nina has been responsible for establishing Buty’s sales program, opening its Walla Walla tasting room, and building the Buty mailing list and Friends of the Beast Wine Club. Today, Nina oversees every aspect of the winery, working side-by-side with a handpicked team that includes acclaimed winemaker Chris Dowsett and Iegendary consulting winemaker Zelma Long. In the winery, she is instrumental in the evaluation of all wine lots, and the selection of the final blends. At the same time, Nina also oversees Buty’s sales, marketing and public relations programs, with a focus on developing strong and lasting relationships with customers, trade partners, and the Walla Walla Valley community.
General Manager, Otis Kenyon Wine
I moved to Walla Walla in 2005 to learn more about the wine industry. Little did I know that the small wine making project my parents started the year before would keep me in the valley for 14 years and counting. After working for and learning more about the wine business at Pepper Bridge Winery, I moved full time to Otis Kenyon Wine in 2007. We opened up our downtown tasting room in time for Spring Release 2008 and expanded to Woodinville in 2010. I have been traveling across the country to share the Walla Walla Valley and the Otis Kenyon Wine story ever since. The wine community in the Walla Walla Valley is truly special and I could not have asked for a better place and people to work alongside.
Owner/Winemaker, Vital Wines and Brook & Bull Cellars
Wine Bloggers, Wine Writers and Wine Influencers
Thaddeus Buggs, Moderator
The Minority Wine Report
Thaddeus Buggs is a shameless wine enthusiast who has spent more than a decade studying wine, traveling and, of course, drinking it. I’m finally retired after 22 years chasing the bad guys as a FBI Special Agent. He is well known among most wine circles in Chicago and South Florida, a hard character to miss at a wine tasting. I holds an advanced certificate from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a premier wine-education organization. I’m currently studying at the Diploma level with WSET.
Executive Vice President, Vinous & Delectable
Vinous’ renowned critics and writers travel the world visiting the major viticultural regions, meeting with winemakers and tasting wine to bring readers, timely in-depth content on all things wine, from the most iconic estates to up-and- coming producers. On Vinous, readers can search an archive of over 200,000 tasting notes, explore thousands of articles and watch hundreds of video interviews with winemakers. The Vinous App enables wine lovers to take photos of labels to pull up expert tasting notes on the go and link through to relevant real time retailer listings.
President, Balzac Communications
Mike Wangbickler is President of Balzac, a leading marketing communications company for the worlds of beverage, food, and travel. Before following his heart to wine country, Mike followed his head to Silicon Valley where he spent 8 fast-paced years in communications, but finally concluded it wasn’t for him. Armed with a “live to eat” motto and an evident passion for wine, Mike entered Balzac’s life in 2004 and became the agency’s President in 2016. Among his many achievements, Mike holds a WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wine & Spirits and WSET Level 3 Award in Sake. In addition, he is a Certified Wine Educator (CWE) and WSET Certified Educator.
Tom Wark began his career as a wine marketer and publicist in 1990. In 1994 he opened his own consultancy, Wark Communications, which serves small and medium sized wineries and wine-related companies with media, communications and marketing services. He began FERMENTATION: The Daily Wine Blog in 2004, where he has been publishing daily on issues of wine politics, the wine industry, the wine media, wine marketing and the culture of wine. An advocate of wine blogging, Wark helped launch the first Wine Bloggers Conference in 2008.
BREAKOUT SESSION SPEAKERS
CEO, Digital Firefly Marketing
John Cashman is Founder and CEO of Digital Firefly Marketing, a seven year old digital marketing firm. Under Mr. Cashman’s leadership, Digital Firefly Marketing has grown from a one man company working from his dining room table to a $2 million a year company working with companies like Capital One, Chobani and Arm and Hammer. Mr. Cashman is a seasoned start-up veteran with over a decade of experience. He has worked in three venture-backed start-ups in all phases of digital marketing, from website design, to SEO, to pay-per-click, to social media and web analytics. Mr. Cashman holds a B.S. in Biochemistry from California State University – Long Beach and is a two-time rowing world champion.
Mary is a writer, wine educator, Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, a Wine Location Specialist through the Center for Wine Origins, and founder of Vindulge, Wine Education & Consulting — a wine consulting company focusing on enhancing the consumers wine experience through classes, seminars, and private buying. As a freelance writer Mary has contributed to print and online publications such as Wine Enthusiast, Serious Eats, Snooth, Bottlenotes, Barbecue America Magazine, Oregon Wine Press, Wine.4.Me, The Gorge Guide, Multiplicity Magazine, in addition to her blog Vindulge.com.
Communications Director, Stoller Family Estate
Michelle Kaufmann is a Portland, Oregon native, and earned her degree in journalism from the University of Oregon, focusing on public relations and communications. Prior to joining Stoller Family Estate, she served as communications manager for the Oregon Wine Board for six years. Michelle currently serves on the Board of Director for the International Pinot Noir Celebration and marketing committee for the Willamette Valley Wineries Association. In her role, Michelle oversees all media relations and communications efforts for the Stoller Family Estate, Chehalem, and History wine brands.
Director of Content, Digital Firefly Marketing
Nancy is a Wine and Spirits Education Trust student working toward her Level 2 pin. In addition to this formal education, she travels various wine-producing regions touring, tasting, and learning through experience. She is Director of Content writer for a small but fierce digital marketing firm. Nancy lives in downtown Bennington, Vermont with her husband, Kris, two dogs, a cat, and a lot of wine. She leads weekly tastings in her town. When she’s not writing she’s playing outside or traveling with Kris. They particularly enjoy active vacations and road trips to see the world’s best band, My Morning Jacket.
Director of Operations and Editor, GuildSomm
After working in the nonprofit and food technology sectors, Stacy made her way into the wine industry through a stint at Ordinaire Wine Bar. She guides GuildSomm’s internal and external operations, manages member communication, oversees content development, and edits the site.
Founder, Play Nice Public Relations
Kayt began her career in wine distribution and retail before finding wine PR. She worked at Teuwen Communications in New York City, coordinating campaigns and events for restaurants, wine brands and wine regions. Kayt joined First Press Public Relations in 2011, where she managed restaurant and wine clients, including California Wine Month, Cider Week and Aquavit, among others. In August 2015, Kayt moved back home to Oregon and started Play Nice Public Relations with the goal of working with independent companies in the food, beverage and cannabis space. Kayt is a graduate of Portland State University and has a Level 3 Award in Wines from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust. She is fluent in French and Spanish.
CEO, Angelsmith, Inc.
Carin is the CEO of award-winning digital advertising agency Angelsmith, Inc. She developed Intercept & Influence™, a proprietary work process that maps how consumers use digital channels along their path to purchase. She is dedicated to understanding how affluent Americans make purchase decisions in wine, health & fitness, and restaurants. With more than 20 years of marketing experience, she loves to share her knowledge. Although never a high school geometry teacher, Carin is a great lover of test, iterate, and test again. You can find her in her Point Richmond office with her husband and partner, Eric and their intrepid digital advertising team.
Owner/Influencer, Whiskynsunshine.com / GeekGirlDigital.com
Jana is a savvy strategist and clever marketing communicator with extensive marketing, design, and public relations experience. She founded her first company in 1998 and offers nearly 20 years of award-winning experience in corporate communications, print & digital design, marketing strategy, social media strategy, & brand strategy. She’s also the proud mother of four kids, wife, a lifestyle and travel blogger, speaker, and rarely sleeps.