advisory board


An all-star team of vintners, creative directors and wine trade executives has helped to create an outstanding lineup of topics and speakers for the Wines & Vines Packaging Conference.

Tony Auston | Auston Design Group

Tony Auston is the founder and creative director of Auston Design Group—a Bay Area design firm that specializes in branding and packaging for wine, beer and spirits. If there is a story to tell, Auston will find it and leverage it into an engaging package design. Over the past 20 years the studio has created effective packaging for top-selling grocery brands such as Bogle Vineyards, Mark West, Meiomi, Gnarly Head and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Auston is deeply ensconced in the wine industry and has a thorough knowledge of branding at all price points, with high-end success stories that include Kongsgaard, Caymus Vineyards, Ramey, Darioush and Joseph Phelps Vineyards.

  Lisa Ehrlich | Purple Wine Co.

Lisa Ehrlich’s wine industry experience spans many disciplines from harvest worker to wine brokerage owner to sales and marketing executive. Ehrlich’s wine career officially began while pursuing a Ph.D. in political science at Northwestern University. Chef Charlie Trotter drafted her to open his restaurant in Chicago, where Ehrlich oversaw the wine program and dining operations. Since then, Ehrlich has worked with wineries including Hambrecht Vineyards, E. & J. Gallo and Robert Mondavi Winery. Since 2005, she’s worked with Purple Wine Co. and its sister company Sonoma Wine Co. to create and launch 30-plus brands. In her current role as executive vice president-marketing, Ehrlich directs new brand development and marketing efforts for Avalon, Four Vines, Cryptic, Flint & Steel and Calista.

  Jane Firstenfeld | Wines & Vines

Wines & Vines contributing editor Jane Firstenfeld has concentrated on wine packaging features since 2010, researching and writing six major articles per year about the subject as well as weekly news stories published at She’s observed the development of the California wine industry since first joining the magazine in the 1970s. Firstenfeld honed her craft as an editor of the San Francisco Visitor News for the original owners of Pier 39, an equestrian magazine and a public relations consultant/producer for McCune Audio/Visual and its national clients. After a dozen years as an expatriate restaurant owner, translator and journalist in La Paz, Mexico, she returned to Wines & Vines and maintains a keen eye for industry trends.

  Thomas Houseman | Anne Amie Vineyards

Thomas Houseman first pursued a career in modern dance before teaching himself how to brew beer. With the creativity of a dancer, the eye of a scientist and the encouragement of friends, Houseman left the stage and returned to the classroom at California State University, Fresno’s enology program. There he fell in love with Pinot Noir. Eager to perfect his craft, he embarked first to California’s Anderson Valley, then to New Zealand and finally to Oregon. After four years at Ponzi Vineyards, Houseman saw the opportunity to express himself at Anne Amie Vineyards, where he is happy he can still use words like balance, grace, fluidity, elegance, power and style: Words that once described his dancing now describe his wines.

  Dixie Huey | Trellis Growth Partners, LLC

Dixie Huey has 16 years of wine industry marketing communications experience guiding domestic and international brands. Since 2008, she has owned and operated Trellis Growth Partners, a wine marketing communications firm in Washington state. Huey also worked as a buyer, wine marketing instructor and wine judge, and she has traveled extensively to various wine regions throughout the world. She holds degrees from Duke University and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs including a master of business administration in finance. Huey also earned an advanced certificate from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

  Hend Lataief | Enartis USA

Hend Letaief grew up in Tunisia, a country where wine culture has long been an integral part of society. Her fascination for wine chemistry started when she was studying food engineering and continued when she relocated to Europe. She earned a master’s degree in viticulture and enology from Montpellier SupAgro and a Ph.D. in food science and technology from the University of Turin. Dr. Letaief joined California State University, Fresno, in 2013 as an assistant professor of wine chemistry and worked on projects related to oxygen management, grape texture and phenolic extractability. She is the author of Winemaking Process in Valorization of Winemaking By-Products and Texture Analysis for the Definition of Wine Grape Quality.

  Curtis Mann | Raley's Family of Fine Stores

Curtis Mann is a 14-year veteran of the California wine industry, with experience in hospitality, direct-to-consumer sales and wine marketing. As the wine, beer and spirits buyer for Raley’s, he is responsible for alcohol sales across 118 stores in California and Nevada. Mann began his career at ZD Wines and later served as tasting room manager at Baldacci Family Vineyards. After earning his MBA from the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, he assumed a number of roles buying and selling wine in the retail and restaurant industries. Mann has completed the Wine and Spirits Education Trust diploma and is enrolled in the Masters of Wine program. He is also a judge at the California State and Calaveras County Fairs.


  David Pearson | Opus One Winery

Named CEO of Opus One in February 2004, David Pearson maintains and enhances the shared vision of the winery’s founders, Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Robert Mondavi. He is responsible for production, marketing, sales and administrative activities at the winery. Pearson worked in vineyard management, winemaking, marketing and management for companies including the Robert Mondavi Corp., Heublein, Rancho Arroyo Grande and San Pasqual Vineyards. He managed Byron Vineyard & Winery and Vichon SARl, leading the establishment of wine-growing operations in Languedoc, France, as well as the marketing strategy and launch of Vichon Mediterranean wines. Pearson holds an enology degree from the University of California, Davis, and an MBA in international business from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.


  Andrew Rice | Trinchero Family Estates

With more than 25 years of design experience, Andrew Rice is the creative director at Trinchero Family Estates, leading the in-house creative services team and working collaboratively with designers, writers, illustrators, photographers and packaging suppliers around the world. He is especially passionate about new product development. Rice studied design at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and eventually led creative teams at several prominent San Francisco advertising and promotional agencies, where he produced work for clients including Levi’s, Visa, Oral-B, Nintendo, Guinness, Robert Mondavi and the California Milk Advisory Board. His passion for wine eventually brought Rice to the Napa Valley—and to Trinchero Family Estates, the fourth-largest family-owned wine and spirits company in the United States.


  David Schuemann | CF Napa Brand Design

David Schuemann is owner and creative director of CF Napa Brand Design. Schuemann fell in love with wine while working as a wine trainer and server. He earned a degree in graphic design from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and started his career shortly after in Minneapolis, Minn. In 2000 he moved to San Francisco, Calif., and joined Addison Branding as its design director. A few years after becoming the creative director for CF Napa Brand Design, he purchased the firm, which specializes in wine, spirits and beer. CF Napa’s work has been showcased in the Museum of Modern Art, and Schuemann authored 99 Bottles of Wine, the Making of the Contemporary Wine Label.


  Joseph Wagner | Wagner Family of Wine

The youngest son of Caymus Vineyards co-founder Chuck Wagner, Joseph Wagner is a fifth-generation Napa Valley (Calif.) winemaker with a dedicated passion for the business. In 2001 at age 19, he rolled up his sleeves and has yet to look back. He started his award-winning, single-vineyard Pinot Noir label Belle Glos. Soon after followed Meiomi, a high-quality California Pinot Noir that is now the leading luxury Pinot Noir in the United States. He formed Copper Cane Wines & Provisions in January 2014 with the goal of bringing exciting new wine labels and other creative offerings to the market. Wagner also continues to work alongside his family at Wagner Family of Wine, which remains the home of Belle Glos Pinot Noir.