Brand Planning for 2021 Part 2—Beyond Traditional Wine & Spirits: Reimagining Products & Route to Market
No one has a crystal ball, but if we did, now is surely a time when it would be in constant use. How can new and emerging brand owners watch and learn from trends? Being nimble and ready to seize opportunity is more important now than it has ever been in the wine & spirits industry. Non-traditional offerings are competing with traditional products and forging new ground in wine products and cocktails.
This panel brings together a group of experts in wine and spirits whose job it is to spot and keep ahead of trends.
Jeff Ngo, Senior Vice President of Marketing, WX Brands
As Senior Vice President of Marketing, Jeff Ngo leads marketing and direct-to-consumer efforts for WX Brands portfolio of nationally distributed and exclusive wine brands.
Prior to joining the company’s executive team, Jeff held positions at leading multi-brand portfolio companies including Jackson Family Wines, Diamond Foods, and E. & J. Gallo Winery. Before Jeff’s career in brand management, he was a consultant with Price Waterhouse Coopers, leading change at Fortune 500 companies around the country.
He holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA with High Distinction from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Hailing from Cleveland, OH, Jeff is an often heartbroken, but nevertheless steadfast Cleveland sports fan. He resides in Santa Rosa, CA, with his wife and their three daughters.
Kurt Lorenzi, Vice President, Global Sourcing & Winemaking, WX Brands
Kurt oversees the WX global winemaking and sourcing team. No small task, but with 30-plus years in the industry, it is something he does with ease and grace.
Since 2000, Kurt has led the development of many of our successful products from around the world, racking up countless awards and accolades in the process.
Previous to WX, as Winemaker at Estrella River Winery, Kurt helped pioneer Paso Robles’ rise as a prominent wine region. From there, he joined the founding team at Jepson Winery & Distillery, where he spent 15 years as a winemaker and master distiller. Throughout his career he has developed strong sourcing relationships, consulted for wineries and négociants, and developed a wide range of award-winning wines and spirits.
Monique Huston, Vice President Spirits Portfolio, Winebow
Monique Huston began her spirits career over two decades ago at the Dundee Dell in Omaha, Nebraska. Here she helped build and educate across one of the largest whisky and spirits collections in the world. An avid spokesperson and educator, Huston has served as a spirits judge and panelist at events and competitions around the world, and been featured in the Whisky Advocate, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal.
In addition to membership in many industry groups, she has been inducted into the exclusive international society, the Keepers of the Quaich, focused on outstanding commitment to the Scotch Whisky industry. She has recently been to the advisory board of the Council of Whisky Masters and VinExpo. Passion for whisky has led to deep exploration of the incredible, terroir-driven spirits of Mexico – her second great love.
Adam Teeter, CEO and Co-founder, VinePair
Adam founded VinePair with Josh with one simple goal: create a publication he actually wanted to read in a space he was extremely passionate about. Since founding the publication Adam has become recognized as an authority on how to make the drinks world accessible to everyone as well as on the ever-evolving media landscape.
He is the winner of the Left Bank Bordeaux Cup American Wine-Tasting Championship and holds an MBA from NYU Stern.
Josh Malin, President & Co-founder, VinePair
Josh loves putting things together — websites, words, legos, and cases of wine. Prior to VinePair, Josh spent a few years helping to build Ez Texting, an NYC startup, into the leading provider of text messaging services to small businesses. Ez Texting was acquired in late 2012, by CallFire. Josh also co-founded MobileSmarts, one of the earliest (as in monophonic ringtones) and largest distributors of ringtones in North America.
Geralyn Brostrom, Wine Business Instructor – Wine Business Institute, Sonoma State University
A 30-year veteran of the wine industry, Geralyn has held positions in multiple channels: winery, import, distribution, retail, and the non-profit wine education sector. She currently lectures in the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University and has taught wine business at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. Her published books include Into Italian Wine and The Business of Wine, which was nominated for the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.
As co-founder of the Italian Wine Central (IWC) website, Geralyn is involved in developing a central network for wine professionals wanting to learn and teach about Italian wines, from all over the world. Prior to starting IWC, she was Vice President of education for Winebow where her passion for Italian wine was forged.
Geralyn holds a BS in Management and an MBA in Marketing. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in business administration at Bocconi University in Milan. A dual citizen of the United States and the Italian Republic, her professional wine credentials include the VIA Italian Wine Expert, the Italian Wine Professional (IWP), the Certified Wine Educator (CWE) from SWE and the Level III Award in Wines and Spirits, with distinction, from the WSET.
Ray Johnson, Executive Director, Wine Business Institute – Sonoma State University
Ray is executive director of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State, the first university in the United States to offer a BS in Wine Business in 1998, the first to offer a Wine MBA in 2008 and the first in the world to offer an Executive Wine MBA in 2012.
Johnson joined the wine business in 1986 at the Christian Brothers’ Greystone Cellars in Saint Helena, California. He went on to sell wine, first on the supplier side, and later in retail, working directly with consumers. He earned his Master’s in Wine Business from the University of Adelaide in South Australia and taught for fourteen years.
Johnson’s work has been published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing, the International Journal of Wine Business Research, Vineyard & Winery Management, and in reviews for consumers and the primer The Good Life Guide to Enjoying Wine.
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