Winemaking. Life. The Dirt. Alison Crowe is a Winemaker Based in Napa.

A Winemaker Asks: What Does the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium Mean For You?

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The annual Unified Wine & Grape Symposium is the largest wine trade show in the Western Hemisphere and for the last 23 years has attracted thousands of wine industry folks from around the world.  It was started in 1995 by two non-profit groups, the American Society for Enology & Viticulture (ASEV) and the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) as a way for the industry to keep up to date on information and technology.

This January over 14,000 winemakers, executives, grape growers, vineyard workers, consultants, marketing professionals and suppliers converged on the Sacramento Convention Center in what some have described as “The City’s Biggest Party”. Whether one comes for work, pleasure or a little of both, the Unified Symposium is the premier event for education and networking in the U.S. wine industry.

I stopped a few folks in the hallways to ask what they got out of this year’s event and what Unified means for them.  Here’s what they said:

 

Tim McDonald, of Wine Spoken Here PR and Ray Johnson, Executive Director of the Wine Business Institute

Tim McDonald of Wine Spoken Here PR (L) and Ray Johnson (R), Executive Director of the Wine Business Institute

Ray Johnson, Executive Director, Wine Business Institute, Sonoma State University

“It’s an opportunity to connect with the people who are making it happen in the wine industry.”

 

Tim McDonald, Chief Everything Officer, Wine Spoken Here Communications

“I have attended Unified from the start and this year was perhaps my favorite because of the outside-of-the box sessions! It started with a ‘bang’ when a wine journalist speaks about transparency and ingredient labeling. You have to be authentic and have to have a dialogue vs. a monologue with our consumers as well as empathy for them too. Learn, be inspired and most importantly, act! Plus I loved the berry to cannabis exploration… brilliant.”

 

 

Erica Moyer, Broker and Partner, Turrentine Wine Brokerage

Erica Moyer, Broker and Partner, Turrentine Wine Brokerage

 

 

Erica Moyer, Broker and Partner, Turrentine Brokerage

“Unified means being able to get together with friends, drink a little wine and eat good food.  Everyone seems to let their hair down a little.”

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Younger of Vino Farms and Pete Opatz of Silverado Investment Management Corporation

Chris Younger of Vino Farms (L) and Pete Opatz of Silverado Investment Management Corporation (R)

 

Pete Opatz, Vice President Vineyard Operations, Silverado Investment Management Corporation

“Going to the general sessions to get the trends and information is great, but seeing everybody is just as important.  Networking is right up there with content.”

Chris Younger, Vino Farms

“We come to see the technology on the exhibit floor and in the sessions. The State of the Industry talk is great- it’s interesting to see a wide perspective.”

 

 

 

 

Brant, North Carolina

Brant Burgiss, Thistle Meadow Winery, North Carolina

 

 

 

 

Brant Burgiss, Winemaker, Thistle Meadow Winery, North Carolina

“I come for the lectures and to see the vendors.  I wish there were more lectures in fact! Coming all the way from North Carolina was totally worth it.”

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Burch of Radoux Cooperage pours some oak trial wines for Unified attendees

Steve Burch of Radoux Cooperage pours some oak trial wines for Unified attendees

Steve Burch, Regional Sales Manager, Tonnellerie Radoux

“I look forward to the Unified Symposium every year to both catch up on emerging technology in the wine industry and catch up with relationships built over 20 years in the business.”

 

 

 

 

I think the Unified Symposium is our chance to learn, to be inspired and then to act.

I think the Unified Symposium is our chance to learn, to be inspired and then to act.

 

 

Learn, Act and Be Inspired

Part alumni reunion, part deep-dive into technology and trends, it’s our annual industry get-together and learning opportunity.  On Thursday morning, Amy Hoopes, President of Wente Vineyards lead a TED-style panel called “Adapt or go Extinct”.  “Let’s be curious and engage in that which is outside our own silos,”  she said.  “We need to learn, be inspired and act.”

The most important thing we can do after Unified is to act on what we’ve learned. Follow up with that supplier who could really impact your business in a positive way.  Jot down some ideas that inspired you. Write a thank-you note to someone who gave you some great coaching over coffee and shake the hand of a young first-timer.  You never know who you might teach and inspire, or what you might learn to move your business forward.

 

 

 

Did you attend the 2017 Unified?  Please tell us what Unified means to you by filling out our attendee survey form and session surveys:

http://www.unifiedsymposium.org/session/session-surveys

A big thanks to the staff and volunteers that make Unified Symposium possible- from the Sacramento Convention Center workers to the CAWG and ASEV boards to the Unified Symposium Program Committee and beyond.

Alison Crowe is an award-winning consulting winemaker and author based in the Napa Valley.  She is a member of the Program Committee for the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium.

Her wines (among many other wine projects):

www.garnetvineyards.com  www.picketfencevineyards.com

Her book:  The Winemaker’s Answer Book

Email:  ancrowe@hotmail.com

Twitter:  @alisoncrowewine

UW&GS and the UW&GS Logo are licensed trademarks of Unified Wine & Grape Symposium LLC

 

 

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About the author

garnetvineyards.com

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