Below are some of the speakers for our 2021 Wine Media Conference – we will continue to add speakers as they are confirmed, so check back regularly.
Jill Barth, Freelance Journalist
Jill is a writer, author and journalist focused on wine and food creators–with culture, community, ecology, and travel pivotal to the stories. She is a Provence Wine Master through the Wine Scholar Guild and received a fellowship to the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers. Jill is also a columnist at Forbes and a wine country travel expert panelist and contributor for USA TODAY’s 10Best. Her work has appeared in Wine Enthusiast, Decanter, Relais & Châteaux Instants Magazine, SevenFifty Daily, France-Amérique, Palate Press, Luxe Provence, Courrier International, Provence WineZine, and Perfectly Provence. Jill is the founder and author of L’Occasion, awarded the Best Overall and Best Writing from the prestigious Wine Media Awards, and was a finalist for Millesima’s Blog Awards in food and wine pairing.
Austin Beeman, Vice President of Marketing
Cutting Edge Selections
Austin Beeman is an nineteen-year veteran of the wine business with extensive experience in Marketing and Sales (wholesale, retail, & DTC.) Currently Vice President of Marketing for Cutting Edge Selections, Austin has a deep knowledge of the global wine business with expertise in Direct-to-Consumer sales. While Director of Marketing for Bonny Doon Vineyard, he managed one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns in the wine industry. His video podcast “Understanding Wine with Austin Beeman” has been praised in USA Today. Austin holds an MBA in Wine & Spirits Management from Kedge Business School in Bordeaux.
Christine Deussen, President
Deussen Global Communications, Inc.
Christine founded Deussen Global Communications, Inc. in 2002. Long part of various Who’s Who listings (In American Business, Cambridge, Princeton, etc.), the agency was also named the 2016 “PR Agency of the Year” by UK-based Drinks International. Various plaques on the walls of their Manhattan headquarters celebrate additional awards, for example from UK-based Duty Free News International, Frontier. In 2019, one US award is the “Best of Manhattan” award for Marketing Communications, as well as media coverage in Chilled, Craft Spirits Magazine, and even the covers story of Total Prestige Magazine.
Melissa Dowling, Editor
Melissa Dowling is the editor of Cheers, the award-winning beverage business magazine for full-service restaurants and bars. Founded in 1990, Cheers reaches more than 130,000 on-premise beverage professionals nationwide with each edition. The brand also includes the Cheers@Home digital consumer magazine and the Cheers Beverage Summit professional event, as well as several enewsletters. Prior to joining Cheers in 2012, Melissa was the editor for business magazines targeting executives in the direct marketing, ecommerce and retail industries.
Scott Fish, Chief Growth Officer
Scott works with wineries, AVAs and supporting businesses to refine their customer’s experience and drive sales. Chief Growth Officer at 32° digital, he is responsible for developing new strategies for prospective and existing clients. During the past two decades, he has worked with growing companies around the world in evolving industries such as tourism, wineries, hotels, tourism associations and cultural organizations. History is important to him, and as a Cabinet board member of the Oregon Historical Society, Scott is actively working to connect new generations to the history and culture of the Northwest.
Cyril Penn, Editor-in-Chief
Wine Business Monthly
Cyril Penn is Editor-in-Chief of Wine Business Monthly, the largest circulation magazine serving the North American wine industry. Cyril has followed the U.S. wine industry as editor of Wine Business Monthly for nearly two decades. He has explored wine regions throughout the world, is a frequent speaker at industry events, and is often quoted in the news media. He has more than three decades of wire service, magazine, and broadcast experience.
Brett Rawson, Social Media Manager
Washington State Wine Commission
Brett Rawson runs digital storytelling efforts for the Washington State Wine Commission. In 2018, he was hired to build their social media program, co-steer their website renovation project, and create a voice for the brand. He is also founder of Handwritten, a place in space for pen and paper, and Digital Strategist at the literary arts non-profit organization The Seventh Wave. Brett holds an MFA in Creative (Non-Fiction) Writing from The New School, has been published inThe Rumpus, Narratively, Nowhere Magazine, PANK, and other publications, and was awarded an artist residency at Banff Center for the Arts. He has curated semester- and week-long writing projects in public and private institutions, interpreted for Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, speaks at annual writing symposiums, and teaches via Skype in classrooms around the world.
George Rose, Owner
George Rose Photography
For the past 25 years, Rose was a wine industry executive communications director at four successful wine companies: Fetzer Vineyards, Allied Domecq Wines USA, Kendall-Jackson, and J Vineyards & Winery. During this time, he continued to pursue his passion of photography. Rose is the 2017 recipient of the “Louis Roederer International Wine Writer Award” for “Best Artistry” and was a 1st place winner in the “Errazuriz Wine Photographer of the Year” in 2018. His vineyard photos have been used in numerous publications and calendars throughout the world of wine, and in 2007, Chronicle Books published a collection of those images in a book entitled “The Art of Terroir.” In 2014, the Wine Institute (California Wines) published his book, Down To Earth: A Seasonal Tour of Wine Sustainability in California, with author Janet Fletcher. VINEYARD Sonoma County, his first large format, coffee table-style book, was released in fall, 2017. His new coffee table book, WINE COUNTRY Santa Barbara County, was released on October 1, 2019.
Bob Silver, Owner
Silver Strategic Communications
Bob Silver is the founder of Silver Strategic Communications, a PR company that has worked with global companies such as Amazon, Sun Microsystems and Volkswagen as well as wine industry clients in the Pacific Northwest. Bob spent the first part of his career as an award-winning journalist for regional and national newspapers, including the St. Petersburg Times and the Seattle Times. He was the writing coach / lead writing editor for the sports staff at the St. Petersburg Times when the newspaper was ranked as one of the top 10 newspapers in the country. Bob planned and participated in writing seminars for the Poynter Institute of Media Studies, one of the leading educational organizations for journalism education. He also has been a guest lecturer for journalism and PR students at the University of Washington and Eckerd College, and volunteered as a professional mentor for high school journalism students.
Elizabeth Smith, Owner
Elizabeth Smith Consulting
Sarah Tracey, Owner
The Lush Life
Sarah Tracey is a sommelier, speaker, wine educator and lifestyle expert based in New York City. A veteran of some of the city’s top restaurants, her career has spanned from spit-bucket-emptier to Michelin-starred Wine Director. When not vineyard-hopping, you can find her sharing wine, travel, and lifestyle content for millennial women on her site The Lush Life. An accomplished wine writer and content creator, she is currently the go-to wine authority for Martha Stewart Living, writing their online wine column since 2015. She is widely cited as an industry expert in the media, sharing expertise with outlets like ‘O’ The Oprah Magazine, Food & Wine, The Food Network, Town & Country, Refinery 29, Forbes, Elle, Brides, and CheddarTV. Named one of the Top 20 Wine Influencers in the US, Sarah holds a certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers and is known for her fun and relatable style.
Alder Yarrow, Owner
Alder Yarrow runs Vinography, considered one of the first wine blogs in the world and still updated on a regular basis. San Francisco Magazine has called Alder “The Wine World’s Brightest Cyberstar” and he was nominated for a James Beard Award in 2013. Alder writes occasionally for publications such as World of Fine Wine and Fine Cooking magazine and is the author of The Essence of Wine, which was named one of the best wine books of 2014 by The New York Times and won the coveted Chairman’s Prize at the 2015 Louis Roederer International Wine Writers Awards. Alder is a columnist for Jancis Robinson on her web site jancisrobinson.com. In 2013 Alder was inducted into the Wine Media Guild of New York’s Wine Writers Hall of Fame.