Meet the Speakers

Melba Allen

International Communication Coordinator, VESTA Instructor

Melba Allen

Leaving the USA for Europe after her studies at the University of Houston, Melba fell in love with the wine and food culture in France and decided to stay. She obtained a diploma from the well-known Université-du-vin, Suze la Rousse in the Rhone Valley and at the same time succeeded in obtaining Beginning and Advance Certificates from the WSET [Wine & Spirits Education Trust] Program of London in the same year. As a passionate enthusiast, Melba dedicates herself to wine communication and education. Operating her own wine company in France in 1997, Melba has been involved with buying and selling wines Internationally, judging wines in tasting competitions, and writing on-line articles for and Vin & Cuisine Ask an Expert. Melba was also the Director of the Wine Department of the Alain and Marie LeNotre Culinary Institute, a member of the Wine Society of Texas and the Chain des Rotisseurs de l’Etoile Solitaire in Houston, Texas.

Session Schedule:

  • VESTA: Sensory Evaluation Workshop Part 1 - Wednesday, Feb. 10, 8am-5pm (includes boxed lunch)
  • VESTA: Sensory Evaluation Workshop Part 2 - Wednesday, Feb. 10, 8am-5pm


Karen Binder

Co-owner and Head Distiller, Grand River Spirits, craft distillers of Red Eye Corn Whiskey and Grand River Bourbon, Carbondale, Illinois

Binder Karen MUG

Karen's distillery's production is currently focused on whiskey and has plans for gin, rum and brandy. Trained as a journalist, her business journalism led to a tenure as the executive director of the Illinois Grape and Wine Resources Council, where she marketed the Illinois Wine brand and worked with wineries on business and marketing plans. Sipping a traminette grappa which "perfectly captured" the essence of these delicately floral grapes introduced her to craft distilling. 




Session Schedule:

  •  Nuts and Bolts of Distillery Startup - Friday, Feb. 12, 9-11:45am


Jamie Bogner

Chief Content Officer, Craft Beer & Brewing magazine

Jamie Bogner Cmyk

Jamie Bogner launched his first magazine, Ska-tastrophe, from his college dorm room during his senior year. After the third wave crashed, he went on to found and edit the Central Florida culture and lifestyle magazine MCO in 1999, then relocated to New York City in 2001 where he worked for Professional Sports Publications on NBA Hoop & Inside Stuff magazines before joining the iconic figurative art magazine American Artist in 2005. AA was acquired in 2008 by Interweave, and quick promotions ensued- from group art director, to editorial director of the jewelry media group, to VP of Content for all of Interweave, then VP/Group Publisher for the Interweave and Martha Pullen division of F+W Media after the departure of John Bolton. In addition to his publishing career, Jamie is an avid mountain biker and obsessive about craft beer since 1995, and leans toward big beers and sours.

Session Schedule:

  • Acidity Analysis - Wednesday, Feb. 11, 10-10:45am
  • Branding Your Craft Beer Business for Success with 10 Simple Steps - Thursday, Feb. 11, 9-9:45am


John Bolton

CEO, Craft Beer & Brewing magazine

John Bolton Round Head

John built the niche craft publisher from shoestrings into a multimillion dollar business. John first publishing business was acquired by craft publishing heavyweight Interweave in 2007, and John remained with the business as Senior Vice President/Group Publisher, ultimately responsible for the entire P&L of this business, and leading the transition from print-centric publishing model to a diversified media approach featuring 17 frequency magazine titles plus over 25 yearly SIPs, a 40 books per year book publishing program, an internal video studio producing 75+ workshop videos per year, three PBS television programs, nine major online communities sending over 1.5 million emails per day, and more. Interweave was acquired in 2012 by F+W Media, upon which John became a member of the senior executive team, directing strategy and execution for the Interweave and Martha Pullen divisions of F+W Media. John left F+W Media in April 2013 and Co-Founded Unfiltered Media in November of 2013. John has been a craft beer aficionado for many years. He also loves to homebrew. John Enjoys all types if craft beer including IPA’s, Sour, Lagers, Stouts, and Pilsners.

Session Schedule:

Exploring Additional Revenue Opportunities in the Craft Beer Marketplace - Friday, Feb. 12, 10-10:45am


Thomas Boudreau

Graduate Research Assistant, Virginia Tech

Thomasboudreau Edited

Tom Boudreau is a graduate researcher working in the Enology and Fermentation Laboratory at Virginia Tech. He graduated from the University of Florida in 2014 with a B.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition before pursuing a master’s degree in Food Science and Technology. At UF, Tom conducted research in food safety and food microbiology, and worked as a product development technician and sensory specialist. His current research aims to understand how nitrogen influences flavors and aromas during hard apple cider fermentation, and how storage conditions influence bottled beer flavor.




Session Schedule:

  • Understanding Yeast Assimilable Nitrogen for Optimal Wine and Cider Fermentations - Thurdsay, Feb. 11, 8-9:15am


David Bower

Enologist, Surry Community College, Dobson, North Carolina

David BowerAs an Enologist and Enology Instructor at Surry Community College in Dobson, North Carolina, for the last three years, David has been responsible for teaching all Enology Classes at Surry, with oversight of over 40 students. In addition, he runs the 1200 case winery facility on campus and makes wine from its campus based 6 acre vineyard.  He is responsible for the harvest decisions, production, aging, bottling, sale and marketing of Surry Wines. He also serves as the North Carolina State Cordinator for the Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance a NSF funded grant position as a National Center of Excellence.

Goal driven and goal oriented, David started work last year with his new full service enology consulting firm. He also developed a new Sparkling wine project and Dessert wine project at Surry in addition to its ever growing wine portfolio. Prior to that, Mr. Bower performed  undergraduate research at Cornell University where he worked with Dr. Alan Lakso on canopy management and shading of Riesling as part of the Nelson J. Shaulis Undergraduate Research Program.  As winemaker at Lake Ontario Winery, he also assisted with wine production, tasting room activities, and Viticulture for on-site Vineyard. Responsible for lab work and custom-crush duties.

Session Schedule:

  • Sparkling Wine in the Southeast: Discussion Panel - Friday, Feb. 12, 11-11:45am


Brad Brunson

Cork Capsule Provider, Amorim Cork America

Check back for more info!

Session Schedule:

  • Creating a Brand: Packaging Panel - Thursday, Feb. 11, 9-10:30am


Robert Cassell

Partner, Millstone Spirits Group, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Robert Cassell Round HeadRobert Cassell is a former brewer and Quality Assurance Director turned distiller with over a decade of experience in micro distilling.  He is an international gold medalist in four spirits categoriesand is currently a Master Distiller in both the USA & Ireland.  Robert is the designer of the interchangeable component distilling system by Specific Mechanical. Accolades include:

  • Founder & Master Distiller: Philadelphia Distilling, est. 2004
  • Creator of Bluecoat Gin, Shine Corn Whiskey, Vieux Carré Absinthe, Penn 1681 Vodka
  • International Gold Medalist in Four Spirit Categories: Gin, Whiskey, Vodka, Specialties
  • San Francisco International Spirits Competition: 5 – time Gold / Double Gold Medalist
  • Beverage Tasting Institute: Two-time Gold Medalist
  • International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) Gold Medal Best in Class
  • Heriot Watt International Center for Brewing & Distilling, Edinburgh
  • Brewer: Victory Brewing Company, Harpoon Brewing Company
  • Board Member: American Distilling Institute (ADI)
  • Craft Distiller Advisory Council: Distilled Spirits Council of America (DISCUS)
  • Regional Advisory Panel: Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB)
  • Innovation Sub Committee: American Society of Brewing Chemists

Session Schedule:

  • Distilling 101: A Guide to the Terminology, Process, and Control Points of Microdistilling - Thursday, Feb. 11, 10-11:45am


Eglantine Chauffour

Winemaker, Enartis Vinquiry, Sonoma County, California

Eglanatine ChauffourEglantine is responsible for the research, technical support and consulting services for the wine industry. She holds a double Master Degree in Viticulture-Oenology and Agronomic engineering from Montpellier SupAgro (France). Her international background, with experiences in France, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and now USA, gives her a large view of wines and processes around the world. Working as a winemaker, research projects manager and winemaking consultant, she loves to make Roses and Sparkling!





Session Schedule:

  • Microbes Management in Winemaking - Friday, Feb. 12, 9:30-10:45am
  • Sparkling Wine in the Southeast: Panel Discussion - Friday, Feb. 12, 11-11:45am


Dr. Seth Cohen

Director, Fermentation Sciences, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina

Cohen Photo 1

Dr. Seth Cohen is an Assistant Professor and the Director of the Fermentation Sciences program at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.  He holds a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rhode Island and completed his M.S. and Ph.D. in Food Science and Technology at Oregon State University.  Dr. Cohen oversees the ASU Enology Services Laboratory and has been holding extension outreach and educational workshops for the NC industry over the past four years ranging from production techniques, analytical tools, and sensory analysis to business development strategies.  His research interests include understanding the development of grape metabolites in the berry their impact on wine character and quality, applied research in bioprocessing and fermentation kinetics, chemical and sensory characterization of hops and beer, and evaluation of apples and process variables associated with hard cider production. 

Session Schedule:

  • A Quality Alliance Program for North Carolina Wines - Thursday, Feb. 11, 10:45-11:45am


Bernard Delille

Winemaker, Biltmore Winery, Asheville, North Carolina

Bernard DelilleWhen asked to name his favorite wine, Bernard says, “The one I’m drinking right now!”  A native of France, Bernard joined the Biltmore Wine Company as assistant winemaker in 1986, rising to the position of winemaster in 1991. Bernard is especially fond of sparkling wines and enjoys crafting them according to the traditional méthode champenoise. According to Bernard, sparkling wines aren’t just for celebrations – they’re surprisingly food-friendly as well.  His background includes a master’s degree in biochemistry and certificates in microbiology and enology from the Faculty of Science in Lyon, France. Prior to Biltmore, Bernard was a winemaker in the Pyrenees Atlantiques region.



Session Schedule:

  • Sparkling Wine in the Southeast: Panel Discussion - Friday, Feb. 12, 11-11:45am


Erin Doby

Marketing and Events Manager, RayLen Vineyards and Winery, Mocksville, North Carolina

Erin DobyWhile studying opera at Appalachian State University, Erin Doby cut her teeth in the wine industry as a wine steward for a local resort.  Her love for wine only grew and after 10 years in the restaurant industry, Erin shifted her focus to the local wines of North Carolina.  She has been in the industry for five years and is now dedicated to the marketing and event management of RayLen Vineyards and Winery where she manages all aspects of front of house sales through direct to consumer, staff training and event planning.  Erin is also a member of the Court of Masters Sommeliers and Society of Wine Educators. 


Session Schedule:

  • Maintaining Your Brand Panel - Friday, Feb. 12, 11am-12pm

Angela P. Doughty

Ward and Smith, P.A., Attorneys at Law, New Bern, North Carolina

Angela_DoughtyMs. Doughty leads the Firm’s Intellectual Property Practice Group and is a North Carolina State Bar Board Certified Specialist in Trademark Law.  She routinely counsels and assists clients with identifying, enforcing, and protecting their intellectual property rights, including trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets; anti-counterfeiting and U.S. Customs matters; Internet and domain law issues, including proceedings before the National Arbitration Forum and World Intellectual Property Organization; branding and franchising agreements; software licensing; managing both domestic and international intellectual property portfolios; and negotiating the acquisition, licensing, and transfer of intellectual property rights.  Ms. Doughty is experienced in the trademark selection, clearance, and prosecution process and routinely prepares, files, and prosecutes trademark and service mark applications, as well as litigates opposition and cancellation proceedings before the United States Patent and Trademark Office and foreign jurisdictions.  She has extensive experience in strategic planning and management of intellectual property portfolios, including the acquisition, maintenance, licensing, and disposition of U.S. and foreign intellectual property assets.  Ms. Doughty is rated by her peers as "preeminent" in her respective areas of law and serves on the executive board of the 600+ member Intellectual Property Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association and on the North Carolina State Bar Board of Specialization Trademark Law Committee.

Session Schedule:

  • Cover Your Craft – How Intellectual Property Means Business - Thursday, Feb 11, 11:00 - 11:45 a.m.


Tim Ferris

Blue Ridge Distilling Company President and self proclaimed "Chief Cook and Bottle Washer", Golden Valley, North Carolina

 Blue Ridge Distilling Co

See Video

Session Schedule:

  • Distilling Field Trip to Blue Ridge Distilling, Bostic, NC - Thursday, Feb. 11, 1-4pm


Mark Friszolowski

General Manager and Winemaker, Childress Vineyards, Lexington, North Carolina

Mark FriszolowskiAll of the wines from North Carolina’s Childress Vineyards are made under the expert care of general manager and celebrated winemaker, Mark Friszolowski.  Childress Vineyards is a 60-acre winery complex in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. Mark is one of the most award-winning winemakers in America today. In competitions from New York to California, he has received hundreds of medals, including many double gold and gold for varietals such as Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Franc, Meritage, and specialty dessert wines. His wines were named to the 50 Best Wines of the World twice. 

A native of Long Island, Mark is from an area that transformed from traditional potato farming to wine country. Mark came to Childress from Pindar Vineyards, the largest premium winery on Long Island, where he apprenticed under famed California enologist Dimitri Tchelistcheff. At Pindar, he rose from cellarmaster to become the winemaker/general manager and director of vineyard operations for 650 acres of grape vines. Mark also ran Pindar's sister winery, Duck Walk Vineyards.

Mark has garnered a world-class reputation for his knowledge in the wine industry and his sophisticated palate. He is often asked to serve as a judge at prestigious wine shows such as the International Eastern Wine Competition, as a guest speaker around the world at technical seminars such as The International Terroir Symposium, and to teach winemaking and viticulture at such renowned institutions as the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. Mark has also served as a worldwide consultant to wineries in the U.S. and Soviet Georgia and barrel cooperages from South Africa to Australia. His consultation includes work with overseas producers and importers from Italy, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Chile, Argentina and New Zealand. Among his creations is a liquor blend called Hpnotiq, which Wine Enthusiast calls "the biggest success story in spirits in the last 5 years. 
An avid runner, reader and former intercollegiate windsurfing champion, Mark is a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army National Guard Reserves. In this capacity, he was involved in the initial clean-up process at the World Trade Center following September 11.

Session Schedule:

  •  Sparkling Wine in the Southeast: Panel Discussion - Friday, Feb. 12, 11-11:45am


Susie Garvin

Senior VP Sales, Terressentia Corporation

Sgarvin Headshot WebAlthough she has never sold ice to eskimos per se, Susie brokered relationships in many other sectors prior to joining the team in 2010. Now she spends her time taking customers to fancy restaurants–and ensuring the rest of us know exactly what she ordered.

Favorite Cocktail: Specialty Gin and hard-to-find tonic


  • Creating a Brand: Packaging Panel - Thursday, Feb. 11, 9-10:30am



Joseph Geller

Viticulture Instructor, Surry Community College, Dobson, North Carolina

Joseph Geller

Joseph Geller earned a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from the University of South Carolina and a master of science in Viticulture and Enology from California State University Fresno. 

Geller has been working at Surry Community College since July 2014 as the Viticulture Instructor. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with others and providing students with professional expertise. 

He enjoys SCC's VEN program because it is practical and hands on, which fits well with his teaching style. While a graduate research assistant at California State University Fresno, Geller managed a large-scale research project with a focus on mechanical canopy management. Previously, Geller served as a viticulturist at Treasury Wine Estates in the Napa, Sonoma, and California Central Coast regions. He also worked in production and sales at Idle Hour Winery in Oakhurst, California.  His research and industry experience on the West Coast is being used to guide decisions on the SCC's teaching vineyard that he oversees. 

Session Schedule:

  • Pruning Workshop at Biltmore Winery - Wednesday, Feb. 10, 1-5pm

Click here for details about checking in for this workshop.

  • Crop Load Management: Definng Yield and Quality for Your Growing Region, Thursday, Feb. 11, 9:30 - 10:45am
  • Southeast Varieties: Panel Discussion, Friday, Feb. 12, 9:30 - 10:45am


Dr. Barry Gump

Professor of Beverage Management, Harvey Chaplain Eminent Scholar Chair, VESTA Instructor

Barry Gump VestaDr. Barry H. Gump is the first holder of the Harvey R. Chaplin Eminent Scholar’s Chair in Beverage Management at Florida International University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.  In this position Dr. Gump has developed new brewing classes and two new wine classes to expand the offerings of the Beverage Management curriculum.

He is Emeritus Professor of Chemistry and Emeritus Adjunct Professor of Enology at California State University, Fresno, where he taught courses in chemistry, brewing, and wine analysis for almost 40 years.  More recently he has instructed on-line wine chemistry/analysis classes for several programs.  He also gives workshops, seminars, and lectures to grape and wine industry groups.

Dr. Gump serves as a co-Principle Investigator and Enology Curriculum Coordinator for the VESTA program (Viticulture & Enology Science & Technology Alliance - a consortium of Mid-western colleges and universities providing instruction in viticulture and enology).

Dr. Gump has had over 30 years with the wine industry, conducting research in analytical methodology applied to grapes, juices, and wines.  He has led fifty-nine Masters Degree graduate research committees, and served on many more.  Dr. Gump reviews technical manuscripts for a number of national, international, and trade publications. 

Dr. Gump has also been a professional wine judge for many years at a number of major wine competitions (San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, Sonoma County Harvest Fair, International Eastern Wine Competition, Florida State Fair Wine Competition, American Fine Wine Competition, California State Fair Wine Competition, etc.). 

Session Schedule:

  • VESTA: Wine Chemistry Workshop Part 1 - Wednesday, Feb. 10, 1-5pm
  • VESTA: Wine Chemistry Workshop Part 2 - Thursday, Feb. 11, 1-5pm


Tremain Hatch 

Viticulture Extension/Research Associate, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia

Tremain Hatch Vineyard

Tremain works to deliver innovative research to Virginia grape growers to improve their sustainability and fruit quality.  Tremain first became involved in the Virginia Wine industry in 2002 when he helped his father install a vineyard on their multigenerational cattle farm.  Tremain completed a master’s degree in viticulture with Dr. Tony Wolf.  Tremain competed vineyard internships in Italy, New Zealand and Virginia.  He continues to help on his family farm with their livestock, vineyards and winery.  Tremain has been in his current role with Virginia Tech since 2010. 




Session Schedule:

  • Projecting Vineyard Cash Flows - Thursday, Feb. 11, 8-9:15am
  • Converting Training Systems - Friday, Feb. 12, 8-9:15am
  • Varietal Selection for the Southeast: Panel Discussion - Friday, Feb. 12, 9:30-10:45am


Jennie Hess

Wine Club Manager, Childress Vineyards, Lexington, North Carolina

Jennie Hess

Jennie Hess joined the Childress Vineyards team almost two years ago as Manager of the Fast Track Wine Club.  She brought with her 23 years of sales and customer service experience. Her career path has included publishing, advertising and pharmaceuticals sales. Jennie’s passion is event planning, which she is able to implement as wine club manager.   Jennie continues to grow the 1,500+ member club while sharing her passion for wine and helping to deliver a stellar experience to customers nationwide.

 Session Schedule:

  • Maintaining Your Brand Panel - Friday, Feb. 12, 11am-12pm


Michael Jones

Fermentation Specialist, Scott Labs

michael jones.web.jpg

Michael came on board with Scott Laboratories in 2007 with over 35 years of winemaking experience under his belt. Since then he shared his wealth of knowledge with North America by traveling extensively to trade shows and seminars throughout the country, many times as a speaker. A UC Davis graduate, Michael has lived and worked in Burgundy, France and the Hunter Valley, Australia. Domestically, Michael built his experience at Novavine, Hanzell Vineyards and Caymus Vineyards. He also spent 19 years at Domaine Chandon where he put on a multitude of hats and was involved with the vineyards, operations, winemaking, laboratory and was part of the team that established the Wine Education program. Prior to his start in the wine industry, Michael spent a year traveling cross-country by freight train, stopping to work on a shrimp boat in the Gulf of Mexico, pitch hay in San Antonio and sell art in New Orleans.

Session Schedule:

  • An Overview of Sparkling Wine Production - Friday, Feb. 11, 8:00 - 9:15am



Lissa McLaughlin

Bottle Supplier, All American Containers

Lissa McLaughlinLissa McLaughlin started her glass career at an Anchor Glass Container manufacturing plant in 1993.  Her fascination with glass bottles began with the process how they were manufactured. It was love at first sight.  She worked various jobs at the glass manufacturing plant, Forming dept, Quality Assurance Dept, Mould Dept, Decorating Dept.   She was asked to transfer to Anchor Glass headquarters in 1998 in Tampa, FL,  Her last assignment with them was Manager of Distributor sales for US,  Mexico and Canada.  She is now currently working for All American Containers.  She currently services over 125 distilleries, over 200 wineries and several large breweries. She enjoys assisting new distilleries, wineries and breweries with the perfect bottle that enhances their packaging, but also that is compatible to their bottling requirements.   She is currently the President of the Florida Distillers Guild.


Session Schedule:

  • Creating a Brand: Packaging Panel - Thursday, Feb. 11, 9-10:30am


Jeremy Meyers

Owner and Head Brewer of Neshaminy Creek Brewing Co., Croydon, PA

Jeremy MeyersJeremy Myers career path has taken him through the ins and outs of creative indie business. His punk rock record label, Jump Start Records, began as a side project while in college and continues to release records to this day. Unhappy with the options for band t-shirts, he launched a screen printing business (Jump Start Screenprinting) in the mid 2000’s that today prints shirts for bands and breweries across the mid-Atlantic region. In the late 2000’s, he was bit by the brewing bug, and active homebrewing led to a professional brewing job at River Horse Brewery, then a stint at Siebel, and the eventual launch of Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company in 2011. In 2013, at their very first GABF as a brewery, Neshaminy Creek won a gold medal for their Churchville Lager. Now, in 2015, they’re on track to brew over 13,000 barrels distributed throughout Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Session Schedule:

  • Branding Your Craft Beer Business for Success with 10 Simple Steps - Thursday, Feb. 11, 9-9:45am
  • Exploring Additional Revenue Opportunities in the Craft Beer Marketplace - Friday, Feb. 12, 10-10:45am

Bill Owens

Founder and President, The American Distilling Institute

Bill OwensBill Owens has thirty years’ experience in the alcoholic beverage industry. As founder of Buffalo Bill’s Brewery (1982), Owens was one of the pioneers in the micro-brewing industry. Owens spent nearly two decades as publisher of Beer and American Brewer magazines and has published a book on brewing draft beer. Since founding the American Distilling Institute (ADI), Owens has seen the craft distilling industry grow from 60 to over 200 licensed artisan distillers. ADI is membership organization serving as an information hub collecting and disseminating essential information regarding the art and science of distilling. The current membership of ADI is 300 people from Hawaii to Florida and from Scotland to Japan.



Session Schedule:

  • Distilling Field Trip to Blue Ridge Distilling, Bostic, NC - Thursday, Feb. 11, 1-4pm


Steve Parkes

Founder, Owner and Lead Instructor, American Brewers Guild

Steve ParkesSteve Parkes is an industry icon. Among his accomplishments, Steve was awarded the 2009 Russell Schehrer award by the Brewers Association for Innovation in Craft Brewing, the industry equivalent of a “Hall of Fame”. He has been a regular speaker on the National Craft Brewers Conference and National Brewpub Conference stage. He has hosted the Institute of Brewing Studies “Ask the Expert” Q & A forum and is a former member of the IBS troubleshooting committee, and National Board of Advisors. He has served as chairman of the Northern California Section of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas, and Technical chair in California and New England. The Ronn Owens FM radio show has hosted Steve twice a year as their featured beer expert guest. He was also technical editor of the highly successful Brewpub magazine, and contributing columnist to American Brewer Magazine, and All About Beer magazine. Steve has contributed material to two brewing science textbooks, including the chapter on brewhouse practices to the Master Brewers Association of the Americas book Practical Handbook for the Specialty Brewer Vol. 1, and provided several entries to the Oxford Companion to Beer. He has served as a technical editor on several textbooks published by the Brewers Association. Parkes also serves as a judge for the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup. 

Session Schedule:

  • Equipment Design for Brewing Quality Beers - Thursday, Feb. 11, 8-9:45am


Tom Payatte

Winemaking Consultant

Thomas Payatte Headshot

Tom Payette, a premier hands-on and analytical winemaking consultant, serves clients throughout the Eastern United States and internationally, notably Spain.  His extended expertise focuses on winery and vineyard start-ups and expansions, still and sparkling wine production and general winery issues. Payette has 27 well rounded years of experience in still and sparkling wine production in Virginia along with 7 years experience in ultra-premium Bordeaux varietal wine production in Napa, California. Payette studied under famed Bordeaux enologist, Jacques Boissenot, after receiving his Food Science Degree from Virginia Tech.

Payette received several awards in 2011 for his outstanding contributions to the wine industry and achievements: The Atlantic Seaboard Productivity Trophy; The Virginia Governors’ Cup for a 2008 Meritage Red Blend and a 2009 Reserve Chardonnay. 

Payette was awarded “Winemaker of the Year” in 1999 by Vineyard and Winery Management Magazine.

During the average year Payette assists clients in the harvesting, fermenting, blending, crafting and bottling of over 100,000 cases (roughly 237,000.00 gallons).

Session Schedule:

  • Creating a Brand: Packaging Panel - Thursday, Feb. 11, 9-10:30am
  • Designing a Winery Backwards - Friday, Feb. 12, 8-9:15am
  • Sparkling Wine in the Southeast: Discussion Panel - Friday, Feb. 12, 11-11:45am


Dr. Peter Salamone

Technical Manager, North America for Laffort USA

Peter Salamone

Dr. Salamone has broad experience in Industrial Biotechnology and the Wine Industry both in production settings with E&J Gallo Winery and Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines as well as wine industry service experience with enological product and enzyme vendors. Coupled with his diverse production winery exposure Peter’s depth of biotech experience in molecular biosciences including microbiology, enzymology and genetics provides Laffort USA clients with an outstanding technical resource.



Session Schedule:

  •  Extracting Quality with Enzymes - Thursday, Feb. 11, 9:30-10:30am


Thomas Salley

Tasting Room Manager & Media Relations, Raffaldini Vineyards, Ronda, North Carolina

Thomas SalleyThomas is a wine industry management professional who specializes in service, hospitality, tourism, marketing and communications. At Raffaldini Vineyards, he manages day-to-day operations of Tasting Room including Sales, Marketing, HR, CRM, IT, Maintenance, and the like.  He works to develop advertising strategies, effective and efficient public relations strategies, relationships with local customers, vineyard owners, and industry affiliates. Additionally, he coordinates events and logistics with clients.



Session Schedule:

  • Maintaining Your Brand: Discussion Panel - Friday, Feb. 12, 10:45-11:45am


Dr. Justine Vanden Heuvel

Associate Professor of Viticulture, Cornell University, Ithica, NY

Justine Vanden HeuvelJustine is an Associate Professor of Viticulture with a research and teaching appointment.  Her research program focuses on vineyard management practices and their impact on wine style and quality.  Justine is heavily involved in teaching and mentoring in the undergraduate Viticulture and Enology program at Cornell, and currently co-teaches two large courses (Wines & Vines, Grapes to Wines).




Session Schedule:

  • Crop Load Adjustment: Does It Really Pay? - Thursday, Feb. 11, 11-11:45am
  • Varietal Selection for the Southeast: Discussion Panel - Friday, Feb. 12, 9:30-10:45am
  • Vineyard Management Practices to Imporve Fruit Ripening - Friday, Feb. 12, 11am-12pm


Don Wright

Wright Label Expert, Wright Global Graphics

Don Wright

Don Wright is senior vice president of business development and chairman of the board at Wright Global Graphics, a leader in marketing services and support serving a variety of business segments, including the home furnishings, beverage, and action sports industries.  Founded in 1961 by his father and uncle, Bill and Tom Wright, today the company remains a family-owned business run by Don and his two brothers, Greg and Ron.

Frequently describing himself as having “ink in his veins,” Don has had a love affair with the printing business since high school.  He started his career running a die cut press during the school year and working various screen-printing jobs. Don opened his own screen-printing business, and went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in printing management and technology from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1986.

Don joined Wright Global Graphics immediately after graduating; jumping in to run the company’s new screen-printing operation as they went through a major expansion. Don moved into the sales department in 1988, became vice president of sales and marketing in 2000 and subsequently chief marketing officer in 2005. Don assumed the role as chairman of the board in 2010.

A frequent speaker on the subject of retail marketing, Don believes that good branding creates an engaging call to action, one that connects your brand to the consumer and helps transition them from casual shopper to interested buyer.  

A music enthusiast, Don is also the lead singer of the Insomniaczzz, the home furnishing industry’s popular rock band. Residing in Chattanooga, TN, Don enjoys travel, surfing, snow skiing, mountain biking and fly fishing. 


Session Schedule:

  • Creating a Brand: Packaging Panel - Thursday, Feb. 11, 9-10:30am
  • Rebranding, Time for a Change, Friday, Feb. 12, 9:30 - 10:30am


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Official Sponsors

Nomacorc Waterloo Container NDL Keg Label Gallery Arton Products Wright Global Graphics Niagara Label Co. Tri-State Distributors Enotools Winery Pak Brewery Pak Artisan Spirit


Kentucky Vineyard Society Kentucky Wine Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association Uncork New York Wine America American Wine Society Maryland Wine Craft Beer and Brewing Magazine American Distilling Institute Surry College Surry Community College Suison Valley Vintners & Growers Assn South Carolina Winery Association